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Customer referral program launch for PE owned technology & managed IT services company

Client Situation

A market leader in the hardware and software solutions targeting the education sector was suffering from stagnant growth. In-depth customer research completed as part of an earlier engagement confirmed high NPS scores – 50+ across many products and services and word-of-mouth being responsible for 40%+ of purchase decisions. While the company had in place a customer referral program for employees, none was in place for customers.

3HA Approach

We leveraged a proprietary 7-step approach to identify the products to anchor the referral program, identify customers to enroll in the referral program, determine appropriate incentives, and define the sales engagement plan. Additionally, we benchmarked referral programs and referral methods that yielded the greatest return and leveraged this benchmarking to size the opportunity.

Customer referral program

Figure 1: Customer referral program considerations

To ensure success of the program, we created a detailed program rollout and sales engagement plan. In a nutshell, it incorporated the following 8 elements:

  • Activity goals by salesperson (customer enrollments & number of referrals /mo/qtr/year)
  • Make required changes to compensation plan to drive recruitment and referrals
  • Enable invitation to CRM contacts with pre-filled registration info
  • Ability to input verbal referrals in CRM system (and own referral sources)
  • Define and address potential lead routing issues
  • Create dashboards in CRM system to track recruitment, referral leads, referral opportunities and successful referrals at granular level
  • Run pilot with one sales group
  • Rollout to entire sales team with training

Findings And Recommendations

Based on detailed benchmarking, we helped the organization set targets for the number of customers to enroll in the referral program, number of qualified leads, referrals and new customers. We also identified and recommended CRM add-on tools to automate the program once it was in steady state.

Quantifying the full potential of customer referral opportunity

Figure 2: Quantifying the full potential of customer referral opportunity


The client used the outputs of this engagement to design and roll out a customer referral program with a goal to achieve $2M+ in annualized contract value in year 1 of the program.

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