A few posts ago I wrote about user group meetings being a great source of new customer references. Another great source – your company's support organization. You might think they mainly work with customers having problems, an unlikely reference source, but when a tough situation is handled well you have a new potential reference. Learn about your support team’s success stories and follow up with those customers. Sign up for the support newsletters and if possible attend their group meetings. Scan your support forums for customer advocates, they’re already speaking on your behalf and likely to happily join your formal reference program. Look at not only company hosted forums but public ones as well, they’re a good source for references that can speak to the details of your offerings.
Many companies build a reference discussion into their maintenance agreement renewal processes. Does yours?
Reward support reps as they give you reference leads or hold a contest for leads. Your support team is a great ally as you increase your reference pool. We tend to talk with sales, but think about pulling support into your recruitment processes too.
Any other thoughts on how to best work with the support team?