Commercial customers give some of the best pull requests, they use the product and want to see it improved the most
Having a good relationship with the sales team gies the opportunity to help them and a community customer, rather than just handing the community contact off to the sales team. Lets you influence how the sales team handles them.
Calculate the employee-equivalent of the volume of work done by community contributors. Measure their value to the company by the number of new-hires it would take to replace them.
Community (especially students) using your product gives you a mind-share that will make you the choice for future purchasing decisions at the companies they work at. Having a company’s employee as a community contribute shows that they are already invested in your product.
Train community speakers to attend events and groups, give them some kind of “official” status that puts them on the level of employees.