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The Customer Reference Strategy Blueprint

Through our work with leading enterprise technology companies, The Phelon Group has developed a distinct approach to evolving reference activities for strategic business impact, tangible and measurable results, and mutually-beneficial relationships with reference customers. 

The Customer Reference Program Blueprint is a comprehensive blueprint for best-practice reference programs designed around four key areas that uniquely blend strategy, infrastructure and tactics.


The Foundation establishes the operational and moral framework of your customer reference program. The Foundation garners critical buy-in from key stakeholders and provides the basis for a long-term, scalable and actionable plan. Strategic planning is an ongoing process that links day-to-day management with program goals to ensure that the program stays on track and that success is measurable. Elements of the Foundation include:

  • Program charter
  • Strategic foundation


Infrastructure is critical to ensure program effectiveness and consistency, provide your reference team with the necessary capabilities and principles to align with the Program Foundation, and to closely orchestrate activities among previously disparate groups within your company. Elements of the Infrastructure include:

  • Business processes and procedures
  • Organizational design and alignment
  • Reference management system


Method ensures that reference programs are leveraging the right customers at the right time, and that the program, as well as the outcome of the reference relationships, is measurable and directly contributes to corporate objectives. The Method clearly outlines rules of engagement throughout the lifecycle of reference customers, segments your company’s high-value reference customers for focused interactions, and outlines metrics to ensure your program’s performance and success are constantly measured and adjusted. Elements of the Method include:

  • Stakeholder management
  • Reference lifecycle
  • Reference segmentation
  • Performance and management metrics


Extensibility enables reference teams to maximize efforts by developing a compelling value proposition that goes beyond incentives, by integrating a communication plan for internal stakeholders and customers, and by approaching the development of internal tools and customer-related content so that single activities can be extended for maximum value. Elements of Extensibility include:

  • Value proposition development
  • Communication
  • Tools and content creation and management



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