Once you've got you criteria to judge the value of your customer reference nominations, you need to pull together the possible stories for judging; enter the account experience profile.
What is an account experience profile?
In short, an account experience profile details all of the necessary information needed to assess whether you pursue the story or not.
A typical one details vital facts about the:
- Client relationship
- Work delivered
- Potential for developing case studies
- Extent to which the story is referenceable
- Rules of use
So what information should an account experience profile include?
- Who are the key players and what’s the relevant organisational structure? What is the customer's policy on providing references?
- What is the scale and nature of the business? What benefits or results has the customer achieved or is expecting to see?
- Who are your advocates? What is the scope of their advocacy?
- What level of commitment might we expect? If they’ll contribute beyond the most basic level, is this for a general relationship overview or a project-specific story?
- What is the value of the story in support of your communications? To what extent can you bring out key aspects of your value proposition?
- To what extent have you used this customer as a reference in the past? What materials or assets already exist? Are you sure there is something new to say?
Of course, if your criteria for judging customer reference nominations requires additional information not covered here, you can always add extra categories.
Also, it'll often be the case that your knowledge of the client relationship and story is limited in a few areas. It can therefore make sense to make your sales and account colleagues the first point of contact; they know your customers—so capitalise on that knowledge before diving in.
Once you've completed a profile for a nomination, assess it against your criteria. If it makes the grade, it joins your other customer reference leads in stage 2 of the process: targeting.