Meet Referential's Barbara Leavy

BarbMeet Referential's Barbara Leavy.  Here she is with family celebrating mom's 95th birthday.  Happy birthday to mom!   Barbara has a wide variety of skills and talents that she’s amassed throughout her career and determined that her strengths are best utilized as a Senior Advocacy Consultant at Referential. Her experience in a range of business functions, as well as collaborating across various departments, makes her a valuable advisor; offering unique perspectives to aid others.  

She enjoys being a matchmaker for her clients: Connecting their customers with each other and ensuring they receive invitations to the activities they’ve flagged as of interest. Her ability to multitask enables her to juggle all her responsibilities, which particularly comes in handy since no two days at Referential are ever alike!

Working at Referential is one of her favorite professional highlights: She loves the teamwork and comradery, being able to share knowledge and getting to know and help each other grow. Barbara commented on how the group’s dynamic really shines during team activities such as scavenger hunts in San Jose, escape rooms, and casual nights out. Being in such a supportive setting, she feels she continues to grow as a consultant and as a person.

Golfing, cooking, and puzzles are some of her many hobbies. She hopes she can add traveling to that list soon as she looks forward to seeing more of the world. Barbara wants her current job to be her last career; she’s extremely passionate about her role at Referential and doesn’t imagine doing anything else in the future. 

Productivity tips from Referential's Barbara Leavy

I know we are all guilty of wishing there were more hours in the day.  Unfortunately, we need to face the reality, there is… and always will be… 24 hours in a day.  The one exception is that one day of the year when the clocks turn back, but hopefully we are getting an extra hour to sleep and not an extra hour to work! In this fast paced world we live in, the ability to multi-task and prioritize is essential to our success, our productivity and especially our sanity.  If we all keep a few tips in mind it can help to effectively juggle what is on our plates.

Make a plan:

  • The first step to effective multitasking is having a plan or setting goals. You can’t “just wing it” and hope that your projects will be completed to the best of your abilities.
  • By thinking ahead, it will help ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.

Make sure to set reminders: 

  • If you have a data base where you can create tasks to manage your work, make sure to do so. Check your to- do list early in the day and prioritize, keeping in mind there will more than likely be a fire drill that comes up during the day.  Tackle what is most important first.
  • Use your outlook calendar to your advantage, it can be an easy way to track deadlines.
  • Flag emails that you need to address but cannot respond to immediately or you need to investigate prior to responding. Take some time at the end of your day to review your flagged emails and respond or create a task or reminder where appropriate.

Break down and combine tasks when possible:

  • We often look at our workload like an insurmountable mountain which can be intimidating. Break down those tasks into smaller manageable chunks.  This will enable you to work on multiple tasks at once, and if they are smaller they will feel more manageable.
  • If possible, try to concentrate on similar tasks at the same time. In order to effectively multitask, it helps if the projects you are working on are somewhat similar. This way your mind is not jumping from one thing to another, allowing you to “get in the zone”.

Step Away:

  • You may find that by stepping away for a brief time will give you a chance to clear your head and may also give you some inspiration.
  • With so much on our plates it is easy to feel guilty if we take some down time. So, take a short walk, grab a cup of coffee (away from your computer) or get some fresh air. I am pretty sure your brain will thank you!

Remember, not all tasks are equal.  It is up to you to evaluate your tasks prior to beginning to determine true priorities.  Keep in mind that some tasks may require your full attention, at that point you need to put your multitasking hat on the shelf for a while!

Meet the Referential Team: Andreas Silva

AndreasAndreas Silva takes a lot of pride in what he and the rest of the Referential team do. As an employee of three years, he’s extremely dedicated to his work. Andreas insists no other company can do what Referential does. He explained the level of detail that goes into each task, and how the team goes through a lot to provide powerful content and input for each client.   As an individual he offers a wide range of skills; he’s fluent in Spanish, possesses a strategic mindset, is highly efficient, and delivers incredible work stamina. As cliché as it sounds, Andreas describes himself as being the kind of person that doesn’t shy away from challenges and it’s been proven to be true on many occasions. He’s known to be one of the first to step up and help with any given task. He has an incredibly active mind that’s constantly looking for where both he and the company can grow and expand in any way.

Despite his strong focus on work, he doesn’t neglect to recognize the family-oriented culture that he shares with his co-workers. Andreas recalled a number of amusing memories such as room escapes, happy hours, and other various out-of-office moments. He especially treasures the time last year spent traveling to Belgium and Singapore for video shoots. He loves getting to work with people from different countries and cultures.

There’s a certain relaxed and laid-back culture unique to Referential, which Andreas loves, that serves as the foundation for the office’s overall atmosphere, even with the tremendous amounts of work that’s being accomplished. The environment makes for an enjoyable and easy place to work.  

Andreas makes sure that clients’ needs are met and does everything that’s needed of him. In return, he’s exposed to a wide variety of companies and industries that give him a better understanding of the business world. He made a point that the constant learning is one of his favorite things about working at Referential – other than the breakfast burritos from the restaurant next door! He always tries to give as much, if not more, as he receives.

He wants future and current clients to know that he may come off as quiet and laid back but when it comes to work he’s passionate, persistent and takes it very seriously.

When he’s not in the office, Andreas can be found coaching soccer, at the beach, hiking, wine tasting, or just simply relaxing. Alongside his hard work, the Referential team appreciates his good sense of humor and stellar poker face!

Meet the Referential team: Jennifer Doyon

JenDLiving in Maine along with her husband, two sons, and dog – Jennifer Doyon manages to be an active Advocacy Consultant for Referential. She enjoys being able to work with multiple clients, and she especially appreciates that in her role as a consultant she can focus on her work without the distraction of corporate politics. Jennifer mentioned how people love being able to talk about what they do, and that Referential helps find them the platforms to do so: She facilitates customer interaction to help them promote the products they use. She loves meeting customer advocates at events and interviews: Being able to hear about their experiences and to learn about their industry keeps her job interesting and informative.

Jennifer’s experience of working for a large technology vendor and understanding how a big enterprise company is structured – as well as the challenges employees face – enables her to connect with her clients on a different level. She also has experience working in a corporate communications team, which gave her extensive experience with analyst and press relations, customer interviews, and event planning and execution. 

Aside from work, Jennifer enjoys walks with her dog, yoga, and spending time with friends. She has two boys that have always played numerous sports, so she considers watching them compete as one of her hobbies! During football season, she is especially busy, as her sons both play, one in high school and the other in college. In the summers, Jennifer's family spends time fishing and boating along the coast of Maine and New Hampshire. . She tries to travel whenever she can: She backpacked all over Europe after college and would like to revisit some of her favorite countries; Germany, Ireland, and Greece.

She loves that her co-workers are team-oriented, positive, and focused on learning and improving, which creates a very positive work experience. She enjoys traveling to San Jose at least twice a year for the all-hands-in-person weeks where everyone at Referential experiences working side-by-side and the team bonding is significant. She’s excited to be part of Referential’s positive trajectory!

Meet the Referential Team - Lynn Watts

Lynn&BertieWorking from the UK, Lynn Watts has been an Advocate Consultant with Referential for 20-years! She also assists Referential’s creative team when needed, as she has a background as a graphic designer.  One of Lynn’s strongest suits is being able to talk to anyone, whether it be an executive or a sales rep or a technician. She thinks of herself as a matchmaker of the business world; working hard to find the best fitting advocates to speak to each prospect. One of her favorite aspects about work is it’s always interesting; every day is different.

Being a team player enables Lynn to help both her clients and coworkers. She adores her Referential family and is grateful for the supportive and close dynamic they all share. In fact, what she finds so extraordinary about the team is the broad range of experience between them. They can leverage each of their skills and expertise, making for an extraordinarily strong group of consultants.

She recalled a favorite memory – which coincidentally occurred during one of her California visits – one of the team was sitting on a yoga ball and it happened to burst right underneath them! Thankfully, the colleague wasn’t hurt and the whole moment was captured on the cameras in the office, immortalizing the scene forever.

Aside from her job, Lynn loves to play tennis – at club-level impressively enough – walk her dog (that's Bertie in the photo), garden, spend time with her family, and just be outdoors. 

She appreciates the gratitude and recognition she gets from clients, especially kudos those from contacts outside of the advocacy programs that suddenly realize what the program can do for them. And she’s thankful for her team at Referential for constantly expanding her horizons.

See us at the 2018 Elevate Customer Summit

ElevateDo you use the RO Innovation platform for your customer advocacy data? If so you should consider attending the 2018 Elevate Customer Summit being held November 14-15 in San Jose, CA. All the details are here.   The summit is a great chance for networking, learning best practices, product training, and insight into advocacy trends. There are some great speakers on the agenda including our very own Helen Feber.

Helen is doing a joint session with Richard Clooke of Symantec at 1:30 the first day. Their topic is "Mastering Internal Engagement for Greater Buy-In". They will talk about a key to advocacy program success, which is ensuring it is embedded throughout your organization.  You want to see customer evidence as part of processes throughout Marketing, Product, and Sales organizations. In the session you will get tips on working with various groups to embed customer evidence in their processes, campaigns, product launches, and all aspects of go to market and sales plans.

Join Helen and Richard at Elevate 2018!

Decisions, Decisions - So Many Each Day!

You may have heard that the average adult makes about 35,000 decisions a day!  Of course tracking that to a credible source is difficult, if not impossible, but I think we can all agree we make many, many decisions on a daily basis. Each one is an opportunity for distraction and can impact your productivity. Benjamin Hardy, author of Willpower Doesn’t Work: Discover the Hidden Keys to Success, says you need more than willpower to stay on track. His suggestions are summarized in   this post  by Trello.

  • Commit and then work your environment to facilitate that commitment
  • Minimize the number of decisions you need to make each day
  • Know your distractions and plan for them
  • Enlist support.

The article is a quick read and has valuable examples and suggestions. If you’re prone to distractions take the time to read it and see what steps you can take today to improve your productivity.

Meet the Referential Team: Regina Dawkins

Regina2  

Over the years working in corporate America, Regina Dawkins, pictured in Venice, from her recent trip,  has gained a strong work ethic of professionalism, energy and excitement, and she has accrued very valuable knowledge having worked in multiple business functions ranging from marketing, to HR, to finance. Almost six years ago, she came to Referential because it serves as the advocacy marketing extension she was looking for.

Regina finds the Advocacy Consultant role incredibly fulfilling because of the way it plays a strategic part in sale cycles. She finds satisfaction in running advocacy programs, and particularly enjoys request fulfillment: Matching prospects with experienced buyers, having them connect, and assisting account owners to win deals. She feels she’s constantly learning and the job delivers plenty of variety.

One of her favorite aspects of Referential is the culture: She loves how the atmosphere is always open and collaborative; promoting teamwork and communication. Everyone can truly work together, she describes it as very synergistic.

One of Regina’s philosophies – for both life and work – is that there’s always something to learn, there’s never an endpoint, and Referential delivers the educational environment that she enjoys. Regina is always looking to see what she can contribute by creating new ideas, new approaches, and different perspectives.

It’s not all work though – which is significant to a healthy group dynamic – she treasures having fun moments with the team, and the care that they’ve developed for each other. Celebrating and sharing success, enjoying birthday parties and welcoming new team members, are among her highlights.

Regina is very interested in exercise and nutrition, and is the Health and Wellness Officer for Referential. She particularly focuses on activities such as walking, running, rowing, and weight-lifting, and sets competitions for her co-workers to encourage them to keep moving and stay healthy. She leverages the treadmill desks in the office every afternoon to help her hit her goal of 20,000 steps a day!

Regina’s mantra is to be the best she can be and give 100% in everything she does. She’s always excited to build relationships and connect with people to help them meet their goals. Her favorite times often involve meeting clients face-to-face; she feels the real-life collaboration is a very powerful thing. She’s a beloved member of Referential and her clients adore her too.

Treat Advocates Like VIPs At Your Next Event

Several of our clients have their major customer meetings in the next three weeks.  We are helping with planning and will be staffing the events themselves. We also have three team members in Dubai for a week filming customer testimonials. So, as you can imagine, it’s a bit busy here! We have spent a lot of time with our clients helping them make their events very special for their advocates.  Everything from assuring pre-registration and bag drops at hotels to front row seats for the entertainment at the closing party. We’ve helped choose swag, arranged contests to recruit more advocates, created pull up banners with advocate quotes which will be autographed at the event, scheduled Customer Advisory Boards, designed customer award programs, arranged to film interviews for videos and case studies and much more. 

This blog post from Influitive is focused on ideas to make events special for advocates and begins with a very important idea, don’t just wait for your big event. Make your advocates feel special throughout the year. The post was written by Jeff Gabel of Quick Base and gives insight into how they made EMPOWER18, their annual user conference, memorable for their customers.

What has made your advocates feel special at your events?  Share your ideas below.

Grand Opening of Our New Meeting and Video Space!

Our new training, video, and meeting space had its grand opening September 14.  We hosted a meeting of a Bay Area advocacy group in the morning and a team meeting in the afternoon. We have a video corner, large conference table, smaller table for break outs, projector, TV, white boards, conference phone....  We will host group and client meetings and have plans for many other events in the near future. Below see the view from the front entrance. Cozy chairs provide a second break out area and a great spot for anyone who arrives early. The second photo is from the far wall and shows our video nook. Much of our video work has been at client and customer sites, in fact the team heads to Dubai later this week!  The sound proofing we did makes filming in this space a great option. Finally, you can see Alex and Dave were first to arrive for a later meeting, at our larger table which easily accommodates 12.  Stop by and visit or inquire about hosting your meeting here!

entrance 3

 

Meet the Referential Team: Alex Feber

FB_IMG_1518427106088 Alex Feber is truly a one-of-a-kind employee at Referential. He is the Communications Manager that encompasses both the video production and graphics design functions.. Somehow, he manages these two jobs and is exceptionally successful in them, regularly receiving kudos for the pieces he produces.

Alex says his favorite things about work are the environment and the possibilities. Ironically, he creates both of those for himself! Throughout the day, many of his witty remarks can be heard throughout the office creating a light, amiable and welcoming environment, and perhaps the tightknit team is partially a result of that. As for the possibilities, Alex makes sure to take advantage of every single one he gets. He leads every video production that leaves Referential, and has turned what started as a hobby into a highly-valued and needed asset for the company.

He describes himself as friendly and humorous but hardworking – which most find difficult to juggle at the same time. I’m sure his co-workers can agree, and are thankful for the skills and comedy he offers. Alex didn’t forget to express his gratitude to the team and for his job. He appreciates his peers who can tag along with his sense of humor and to his job that provides a creative outlet for him.

A favorite memory of his was moving into the new Referential building, knowing that they owned it, it was a big step forward in the right direction for the future of the company. He enjoyed seeing their hard work coming together and was excited to see how Referential will evolve in the future. Alex hopes he can grow along with the company, and continue to hone his video producing skills. He’d like the chance to film some friends’ cars and motorcycles seeing as those are some of his other interests. Most notably, he hopes to see the Video Creation Team grow.

He recalled an embarrassing moment in which he had started filming only to realize a while later that he hadn’t inserted a memory card into one of the two cameras! This essentially meant there was no footage from the side camera but thankfully the shots from the front-facing one were fine. It made for a memory that everyone had a good laugh at.

Alex said working at Referential has shaped him into the person he is today and has helped him appreciate the value of hard work, and we surely appreciate him right back for that! 

Customer Expectations - Research from Salesforce

Salesforce recently surveyed nearly 7000 consumers and business buyers to understand how customer expectations are changing, which technologies are impacting the consumer experience, and why trust is increasingly important.  The full report can be downloaded here. There is a summary blog post here. The blog post has much more detail, but here are the highlights of 5 of the report’s key findings:

· Eighty percent of customers say that the experience a company provides is as important as its products or services · Eighty-two percent of business buyers want the same experience as when they’re buying for themselves · Seventy percent say connected processes are very important to win their business · Fifty-nine percent say they’re open to companies using artificial intelligence (AI) to improve their experiences · Sixty-two percent of customers say they’re more afraid of their data being compromised now than they were two years ago

Consumers want personalized experiences and connections with the companies they frequent. At the same time, they don’t fully trust companies to adequately protect personal information. This is an issue gaining in importance daily. How does your company build trust with your customers? What trends do you see in customer expectations and do they align with the Salesforce research? This is an important area, the report is worth reading.

Target Advocate Program Increases with Gap Analysis - Tips From Referential's Lillian Kann

It’s the end of August, vacations are winding down and the kids are prepping for back to school. The calendar says it’s time to focus on the rest of the year! With the craziness of planning meals around sports and sizing up kids’ clothes and everything else they need, comes the opportunity to also review advocacy requirements and plan for success. Advocate recruitment tends to be a delicate synergy between identifying strategic customers for validation and predicting the references sales and marketing will be looking for to support sales opportunities and upcoming marketing requests. What can advocacy managers do to find the right balance?

Gap analysis of your reference database can be a key step in understanding reference coverage across your products, industries and geographic sectors.  It is also a helpful way to proactively plan for future request fulfillment. With an understanding of approved references and how this information compares to both your customer universe and request activity, you can proactively plan for recruitment and avoid the reactive chaos of high demand periods. A first step is  to create a snapshot of advocates:

  1. What references do you have today: Look at your universe of customers by product and compare this to customers successfully recruited for advocacy within that product area. This can offer visibility to necessary recruitment.
  2. How many requests do you expect: Using sales revenue goals by product and projected average deal size, calculate the number of deals required to meet goal. Adjust this number by the average number of references requested by each opportunity to better understand how many references you will need during the given period.
  3. Marketing requests: Check marketing calendars for visibility to upcoming events, speaker requests, analyst research needs and more.
  4. Where there are gaps: Comparing your anticipated deal numbers, the required references volume and your current approved references, you can identify gaps and proactively solicit customer nominations throughout your company to fill these gaps.

Once you understand the gap areas and request forecast, Sales and Customer Success may be your go-to teams for nominations and recruitment. Don’t forget about product management and product marketing teams. They can offer insight to customer lists and new product releases as well as early adopter customer lists Implementation and service delivery teams can help provide latest status on customer deployments. Sales leaders can offer insight to recent strategic wins All of these sources will help create a healthy pipeline of potential new customer advocates.

Gap analysis can offer an interesting view into overall advocacy success. If gap analysis is done effectively, this information can also offer critical insight, with metrics, into overall product success while offering insight to potential areas of concern.

Meet the Referential Team: Kristy Ward

Another in our series of blog posts about the Referential Team Kristy glass blowing

Kristy Ward, one of Referential’s earliest employees, holds the responsibility of playing several crucial roles within the organization. As a COO, she carries out many duties ranging from handling the payroll, to analyzing legal documents, to writing checks for the garbage service! She is essentially the backbone of Referential, and although the COO position is only one of the many roles she undertakes in her daily life – others being a mother of three, delivering consulting to Referential clients, and a dedicated film and novel enthusiast – Kristy manages to execute each task presented to her with utmost precision.

Kristy possesses a wide range of skills and recognizes her past experiences as being one of the primary factors in her success. She’s spent a number of years working in the high-tech industry and is very familiar with many of Referential’s clients. She’s grateful that she has a better understanding of them, and how to be more innovative with them, due to her extensive knowledge. Kristy’s favorite aspect of working with customers is receiving their approval and appreciation – knowing that she’s made them feel good – for representing their brand well.

As a matter of fact, her former work has enabled her to introduce a couple of her current co-workers to Referential. This ties into the reason of why Kristy has such a strong perspective of the company being truly family-oriented in both a literal and figurative sense.

Some of her favorite memories as a member of the team are shared with her peers. She recalled stories of video ‘bloopers’ -- the time a colleague walked straight into a closed door, and when a yoga ball (some employees opt to use as an office chair) broke with its passenger making an elegant fall! That’s not to mention the birthday parties complete with cakes, the annual holiday volunteer work, and the success celebrations the entire group takes part in. It’s the little things like these that add to an environment unique to Referential’s culture.

Kristy noted the great emphasis on community and helping one another at Referential. She explained that if there’s a particular aspect a member is interested in, the business dynamic enables the flexibility to explore it. Employees are given opportunities to try different things and to customize a role that brings out their strengths with elements to match their interests.

Despite already having a strong career with many accomplishments, Kristy is always eager to learn more about new clients and their industry and solutions, and to help Referential grow. Outside of work, she plans on finishing renovating her house soon, and  traveling to see more of the world.

Kristy wants both potential and current clients to know that she has an extensive background in many areas and is always excited to help them. We hope this gives you a good idea of who she is and the important work she does here at Referential!

See you at Advocamp Field Day!

Advocamp-2018Influitive’s Advocamp Field Day is October 3. We’ve sponsored past events and are excited to participate at this new venue. Referential's Jennifer Doyon will be at the event.  If you are attending in person take a minute to stop by our space and speak with her. It’s always nice to make face to face connections!  Online or onsite you will find it a valuable experience and well worth you time.  Even a better value if you register by August 15 and receive a 20% discount! All the details are here. Spending time with others focused on customer advocacy is sure to give you many ideas for your program. Enjoy the camp theme, network with attendees, learn from Influitive - you'll enjoy it and come away with many new ideas to apply right away.

See you at the field day!

 

Meet the Referential Team: Ryan Barron

RyanIntern-turned-employee Ryan Barron has worked with Referential for 18-months and currently serves as an Advocacy Consultant. Although he recently graduated from college, Ryan has plenty of experience gained from both working at Referential full-time during the summer of 2017, and delivering half-time throughout the school year. Originally, Ryan was unaware of the world of advocacy. However, today he loves that it’s much bigger than he anticipated and is a nice change of pace. He enjoys helping to expand customers’ product markets and grow profit margins by enabling their best customers to share their positive experiences.

Ryan credits his impressive success to being a people-person and having the ability to talk to almost anybody. That, in addition to his dedication, skill with Microsoft office tools, and multi-tasking abilities makes for a bright future.

He’s thankful to Referential’s intimate setting with bonds that are closer than those of an average workplace. Ryan finds comfort in everyone knowing each other well and says it helps the group to communicate with ease. He appreciates coming in to work, seeing familiar faces and having a good laugh. He says he hasn’t had a bad day yet – which means a lot because the work can be quite stressful – and he appreciates having some light moments that reduce the tension.

One of his favorite things about working with multiple clients is the exposure he receives to how different corporations go about business: Understanding how a company is run, how offices function and interact, and learning from co-workers. His day-to-day routine is to soak up everything like a sponge!

In his free time, Ryan plays basketball and takes part in the occasional video gaming session. He also watches a lot of Netflix, which he says should be a hobby! He looks forward to having a sustainable lifestyle.

Ryan works well with people and believes understanding where a client is coming from, and adapting to their style, is vital for success in a relationship. He aims to grow alongside his clients and looks forward to a bright future ahead.

The 3Rs of Supplying References to Analysts: From Referential’s Jennifer Doyon

Why does it seem that analyst requests are getting more and more demanding?  It used to be that they would ask for five references with a name/email address/phone number for a report not coming out until early next year.  Lately, we have seen the requirement for references has increased significantly; not only do the analysts now want a phone interview, but they’re asking each customer to also complete an extensive survey.  Your customers are busy and so are you, right? Let’s think about these three Rs to help you determine your response:  What is Realistic?  What is Reasonable?  What is the Return?

What is realistic?

Is your product really ready to be included in this report?  Can your company compete with the major players?  Are you asking customers to comment on products they haven’t truly tested?  If it’s a stretch, perhaps you can opt out and revisit the option next year.

What is reasonable?

Have they asked for 20 references and they need them by Friday?  Don’t hesitate to ask for an extended deadline if the ask is going to cause major disruption to your team.  More importantly, don’t ever jeopardize your relationship with a customer because of some external pressure.  Hopefully, you already know which customers are willing and able to connect with analysts.  If not, ensure you have the time needed to identify and properly vet your references.

What is the return?

What percentage of your audience is going to make their buying decision based on this report?  Will it affect the company’s bottom line?  Identify the most influential analyst evaluations where you expect a solid return, and focus your attention on those.  If it is a lesser known analyst report among your prospective buyers, determine if it is truly worth the time and effort of your customer advocates.

In the end, remember that analysts are people too, and they have many priorities, just like you.  They are helping our prospective clients make informed buying decisions.  Analysts have a responsibility to dig in to find the real story and connect with real users.  Sure, their demands seem a bit unrealistic at times, but if you’re prepared and selective, you’ll make the analyst “work” for you.

Podcast Fan? 15 Business Podcasts to Explore

Like podcasts?  Here's a list of 15 top business podcasts from Lean Labs. Listen while you run, while you drive, while at the grocery store, or even on your commute.  The audio format gives tremendous flexibility. If you listen to podcasts today, these 15 probably include old favorites and no doubt new ones to add to your list. If you aren’t part of the 40 million that listen to podcasts weekly maybe it’s time to give it a try! 

This isn’t the only list of great business podcasts. A quick google search will show you lists from other organizations or more focused sets of choices. Interested in product marketing or business development or entrepreneurship?  There are podcasts for just about any other topic you can think of. If you aren’t already a fan try this easy way to fit learning, and even entertainment, into your day.

The Referential Team: Meet Ankit Singh

We will be posting profiles of the team over the next several months and are pleased to start with introducing you to Ankit Singh.  You may have seen Ankit's blog post, here, full of tips for Salesforce reporting.  Here's Ankit, with his absolutely darling niece.Ankit Ankit has worked in the advocacy world at Referential for some while now. During this time, he credits three key practices with enabling his success: He’s had the opportunity to work closely alongside very seasoned experts, take on multiple roles as an Advocacy Consultant, and gain an abundance of experience with a variety of clients.

Being a highly-focused consultancy, Referential has a tightknit team that knows each other very well in a both professional and personal aspect. His peers and his position at Referential have taught him how to interact with others within marketing, advocacy programs, and C-Suite – which is crucial for success in business. Ankit appreciates his job for exposing him to the behind-the-scenes operations of business.

When asked what he brings to Referential as an individual, Ankit explained his ability to speak well and keep a conversation flowing whether it be face-to-face with clients or during customer calls. He can be exceptionally engaging, convincing, well-spoken, and very patient when training people. It’s a valuable skill to have, especially when a large part of the advocacy job entails communicating with others. He emphasized how he loves to meet and get to know clients, which he said allows him to connect with them better over the lifespan of the consulting engagement.

With a passion for cars and motorcycles, Ankit is considering buying a bike of his own eventually. He also enjoys cooking, eating, and trying new restaurants. In his free time, he likes to play video games, listen to music, and watch films. He plans to travel more when time and money allow it.

Ankit shared that he’s still learning new things with every passing day, and appreciates that advocacy is a space that’s constantly evolving. He has many goals: He joked that his first and foremost goal is to make ridiculous sums of money but on a more serious note he simply wants to be happy and healthy in the future. Referential is thankful to have him, we hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into the person that Ankit is inside and outside of work.

Ensure the voice of your customer is strong throughout the buying cycle

With buyers looking for input from their peers more and more often, be it in consumer or B2B situations, it’s increasingly important to ensure that you have the voice of your customers prominent in all stages of the buying cycle. Hubspot research shows that sales and marketing people are not viewed as particularly trustworthy.  In fact only 3% of survey respondents trust salespeople. To put that in context politicians are at 1% and lawyers at 12%. Though 49% of us trust doctors.

With low trust for sales and marketing, buyers are turning to people they know and trust, their peers and your customers. It’s increasingly important to have the voice of your customer prominent at each stage of the buying cycle. Where to start?  This infographic  from ROInnovation is one example of how you can map customer content to the stages of the buying cycle. While it may not be the perfect fit for your company it’s a good place to start.  What customer content do you have?  Is it easy to find and being used appropriately? What are you missing? Anything you would add to the infographic? Give us your thoughts below.