Every business needs a great team

Any business needs a great team to be successful.  Employees are central to that and we’ve been so pleased with our growth and ability to hire quickly.  We’ve also assembled a small team with specialized expertise.  For example, we use a payroll company rather than figure out payroll intricacies and the necessary reporting on our own. We have decided to change one key member of the team, our accountant.  While we manage our finances and track everything through QuickBooks, we don’t have tax expertise in house.  We never quite got comfortable with the approach of the tax professional we’ve used since incorporation and decided it was time to investigate a change.

Since we specialize in customer reference programs no one will be surprised to know we started by asking other small business owners for referrals.  We did additional research to narrow a long list down to a couple of firms and have met with each. While we can’t make a wrong decision, there are big differences in their personal style, firm size, approach to ‘on-boarding’ new clients, and fees.  Whichever we choose, we’re confident we’re about to begin a long term relationship with this new team member.

A problem solved is a reference created

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?