Peer references remain the single most powerful driver behind many B2B buying decisions. In fact, SiriusDecisions surveyed over 600 B-to-B marketers in a B-to-B Buyerâs Survey and found the following:
- In the early buying stages, peers are second only to analysts as the most influential information source, and 51% say peer referrals are their MOST FAVORED content
- In the mid-buying stage, peers are ranked as the MOST INFLUENTIAL information source (23%)
- In the late buying stage, peers are the MOST TRUSTED information source (29%)
Clearly, peer references hold a lot of weight in B2B purchase decisions, and need to be used in all stages of the buying process. Yet a recent Corporate Ink survey of an elite group of B2B marketing and sales execs found that few companies have what it takes to effectively leverage customer references for a competitive advantage:
- 75% are concerned about the overuse of a small group of customer references
- 75% have no designated resources for managing a customer reference program
- 60% could do a better job of tying incentives to the value a customer brings to the organisation
Furthermore, these statistics from members of the Worldwide Customer Reference Networking User Group reveal:
- 60% of sales prospects will ask to speak to a customer reference.
- 70% of those will ask to speak to more than one customer reference.
- Yet over 30% are provided with references that DO NOT MATCH their request.
- 1 in 3 sales reps say customer reference requests are not fulfilled quickly enough.
- On average, reference managers claim that over 80% of references in their database are highly positive on an overall basis, yet over 50% of sales are lost because the customer reference was not positive enough with the prospect.
- Over 50% of the time the perfect reference cannot be used, due to overuse, burnout or other reasons.
- On average, sales reps say it takes them 5 hours or longer to find their own reference without help from the customer reference manager.