How To Get a Better Customer Quote

You’ve got happy customers and you want to show off what they’ve accomplished with your product in you marketing materials, online content and press releases.  Here’s how to create a better customer quotes (and scroll down for some examples): Start with your Value Proposition – A quote from a customer is one way to bring your key points of value to life.  If your key value is that you save people time, it makes sense to have a customer explain how much time or how it saved them time. You are probably laughing at how obvious that is but I’ve seen loads of companies that have a million quotes that don’t back up any of their key points of value. Write it yourself – your customers don’t spend their day dreaming up succinct, smart things to say about your product.  Nope, that’s your job.  Interview the customer first obviously but then write the quote the way you know they would say it if they understood your positioning as well as you do. Send it to them for approval and then work from there.  If you listened to what they had to say, your quote will stand as is. Keep it as short as possible – Quotes can be used in a wide range of content and sometimes you don’t have much space.  Keep the quote short and to the point and you’ll be able maximize the number of places you can use it. Clearly state the benefits and be specific – “We like the Foobar 2000 a lot.” is nice but “We tripled our close rates using the Foobar...

The Art of the Customer Quote

I spent some time recently working on an announcement so I guess I have press releases on the brain.  I love the process of creating press releases.  Good ones end up a bit like minimalist poetry, where every word is chosen deliberately and any extraneous information has been thoroughly expunged until you are left with nothing but the pure essence of the announcement.  Yeah, OK, that hardly ever happens but we can dream, can’t we? Customer quotes in particular are a piece of the press release that are sometimes used very well and sometimes overlooked.  Quotes are important because they are often the only part of the release that is used verbatem in the media and you can use them again in other maketing pieces.  Here are a few things to think about when you are crafting customer quotes: Make it something you’ll want to use again – Getting approvals for customer quotes (especially ones from larger companies) takes time and effort and often a long wait while it goes through legal.  Don’t waste the effort on a quote that only makes sense in the context of your press release. You’ll want to use it on your web site, in your collateral, in your presentations and other sales materials.  Make sure it works for other things. Write something that at least has a hope of being approved – Larger companies will want the quote to go through their legal department for approval and that process could take days.  If you start with a quote that they really hate, they will write you a new one that is so clean...

Customer References 101

We all know references are critical to closing deals but most companies don’t get around to actively managing them until the 2 referenceable customers they do have are all yelling “Am I your only crummy reference?!  Pick on someone else!!”  I launched a customer reference program from the ground up once and it was PAINFUL!  I’ve now seen it all from big companies and small ones and here’s what I’ve learned. Starting a Customer Reference Program – A Few Things to Think About Partner with Your Sales and Professional Services Teams – The key function of this program is to increase revenue.  Never forget that.  You need to understand how to build something that the sales team will find valuable.  Decide up front who does what.  Professional Services needs to be involved because they are going to help you qualify the reference, figure out who the spokespeople should be and how to articulate the value of the solution. Set Goals and Success Metrics and Revisit them Often – Here is how a customer reference program gets started and killed.  Marketing spends all their time writing success stories that sales never uses. Sales continues to use their own set of references because “the marketing references are crap.”  One day the execs get in a room and the CEO says, “What about this reference thing?”  Everyone looks at each other and says “I have no idea what they do.”  Snip, snip and the program is history.  Figure out how you are going to measure the success of the program and make sure Sales, Marketing and anyone else involved agrees.  These cannot...