Tuesday Oct 20, 2015

Attracting and Retaining Referenceable Customers is a Team Sport

In the cloud era, nearly all cycles spin faster. For example, the sales cycle for purchasing cloud-based solutions can be weeks instead of months or years. In turn, go-lives are faster and product updates more frequent. Cloud enterprises also have a heightened stake in their customers' business continuity. For example, at Oracle, we not only develop IT solutions for enterprises, we deliver them via the cloud -- where we're in charge of performance and security 24/7.

This increased velocity and stake in the customer's business continuity also has a profound impact on customer reference programs. Issues can emerge faster and related news can spread more rapidly. As the pace of solution releases grows, so must the frequency and speed at which we identify and attract customers willing to share their journeys and successes.

In this environment, teamwork is more important than ever -- when it comes to both offense and defense strategies. 

Delighted customers who are willing to share their experiences are among the most precious assets of any company. This is especially true for an enterprise technology company, where customers literally trust their business to their vendors' IT solutions. Research consistently affirms that customer endorsements are among the strongest influences on purchasing decisions. As such, Oracle and many other technology companies are focused on cultivating customers who are willing to share their success stories and best practices. This process also provides reference program customers with a highly visible forum and platform for promoting their successes to their management as well as expanding their professional network.

Today's enterprise cloud solution providers require real-time visibility into the "health" of every current reference. They also need similar dynamic insight into emerging potential reference customers. No single entity within an organization can deliver this visibility. Instead, many groups must collaborate and communicate in real time to make this a reality. This is easier said than done, especially in a large enterprise.

On any championship sports team, each player has a critical role to play and depends on full support and 100 percent commitment from the rest of the team. Meanwhile, the coach at the center of it all needs an unobstructed and immediate view of the field of play. At Oracle, our cloud solutions customer references initiative represents just such a team -- and it is helping us to make our customer references program a competitive differentiator. 

We integrate and align activities, and more importantly, knowledge from across sales, marketing, research and development, engineering, support and cloud operations to gain the accurate, complete, real-time visibility needed to keep customers happy and our program growing.

Reaction to the integrated approach from customers and our internal teams has been very positive. In particular, audiences appreciate hearing directly from these customers at events such as HCM World 2015 where more than 25 customers -- including Colorado Permanente Medical Group (Kaiser), and Lyft -- presented their experiences.

We rely on Oracle tools as the hub that provides the real-time, unobstructed view of the customer reference landscape. It enables global customer program managers, sales team members, customer success team members and others to gain role-based visibility into the complete experience of any reference customer, including support and issue reports and resolution, program engagement, survey information, purchasing history and more. As such, we know the minute that a customer reference moves from green to yellow on our dashboard, and can take immediate action to resolve any potential or emerging issue -- to the benefit of the customer and our company.

For more information on our cloud service customer references, please visit us here.


Welcome to the Customers in the Know Blog. My name is Jeb Dasteel, I am Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer at Oracle. I am responsible for driving customer-focus into all aspects of the Oracle business. I advocate and work within Oracle to develop and deliver customer programs that increase customer retention, value delivered, satisfaction, and loyalty. This blog was designed to enhance our engagement and interaction with our customers, by providing them exclusive Oracle executive insights, ensuring they have the most up-to-date trends and news directly from Oracle, as well as guest blog submissions by some of our customers.



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