Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Webinar: The Value of “Move the Needle”

  • Thomas Pisello, Alinean CEO / The ROI Guy
  • Thursday,  January 19, 2017 11:00 am, EST
Today’s buyer doesn’t want a sales pitch. They want to know how your insights and experience can help them beat the competition.

But this is easier said than done:
  • Are your sales reps empowered to engage earlier and have poignant financial discussions you’re your prospects?
  • Can they compare the prospect to the competition to help them uncover issues and drive improvements?
  • Can you prove how a small improvement using your solutions could directly impact their competitive position and drive significant business value improvements? 
In this session, Tom Pisello, the ROI Guy, will introduce you to the new Alinean Peer Comparison application, your ticket to sales rep financial acumen and early business value engagement.

Developed in conjunction with SandP Compustat, you’ll see how this elegantly simple, yet powerful benchmarking application empowers your sales reps, pre-sales support and value engineers to quickly and easily:
  • Compare your prospects to named competitors, from a database of 60,000+ worldwide companies,
  • Examine the leaders, laggards and peer averages across over 30 dimensions of financial performance.
  •   See how small “move the needle” improvements from your proposed solutions can drive big improvements. 
Sign-up now:

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A Failure to Close

If you ask the average sales rep why the deal didn’t close, they’ll likely tell you “Price”. 

In fact, an Aberdeen survey of sales leaders indicated that “Price” was cited as the main reason 73% of the time, far beyond any other supposed cause.

Sales reps are clear, in the majority of stalled / lost deals, it’s “all about the Benjamins”.

However, when buyers were surveyed, they provide completely different reasons as to why they decided to not move forward with your proposal.

According to research firm SiriusDecisions, only 9% of buyers rated price as the key-deciding factor.  Clearly, from a buyers’ perspective, it’s not about price at all.

For pipeline deals that stalled (some 61% of a typical pipeline), it wasn’t that the price was too high, but that the buyer wasn’t convinced as to the “priority of change”. Likely, the sales rep didn’t convince the buyer that the “do nothing” costs were worth addressing now, and the benefits worthy of investment.

For the deals where the buyer did make a “go forward” decision, the spoils go to the solution provider, not based on price, but to those best at:
  • Identifying and aligning with needs
  •  Responding to requests for content / information and the overall quality of the buying experience
  • Proving unique and superior business value.

The Bottom Line

If your sales reps immediately jump to features and price you are not alone, but the research proves you will be less than effective, losing more deals than ever to “do nothing” and the competition.

The key, providing the content, tools and training to help your sales reps and channel partners better assess and align with needs, prove the high cost of “do nothing”, and communicate and quantify your unique and superior business value.

From CSO Insights, we learn that taking your ROI selling skills from “good” to “great” can improve win rates from 37% to 51%.  And, according to IDC, those who apply business value / ROI to deals discount much less, elevating deal sizes by 20% compared to deals where business value / ROI was not used.

This proves that if “Price” is the main reason for your “Failure to Close”, evolving from features / price to business value could be your ticket to sales success.

Aberdeen - http://www.aberdeenessentials.com/cmo-essentials/is-price-the-real-reason-that-deals-dont-close/
SiriusDecisions Interview: The Value of Value Marketing and Selling - http://alinean.com/the-value-of-value-selling-marketing-november-10-2016/
CSO Insights - Decoding the Decision Dynamic - Sales Enablement Optimization Study 2015 Key Trends Analysis

Friday, November 11, 2016

2017. The Year B2B Reps Can Finally Sell Value?

Value is a vital element to sales success for 2017, according to insights from Peter Ostrow, Research
Director of Sales Enablement Strategies for research firm SiriusDecisions.

In an exclusive interview, the Value of Value Selling & Marketing, Mr. Ostrow revealed new research and discussed the critical role “value” can play in meeting new buyer demands, driving higher win rates and getting more sales reps to meet or beat quota goals.

Peter was quick to reveal research that shows just how hard it can be to achieve these goals in 2017, as the buyer’s decision-making journey has become more complex.

He offered three tips to excel in 2017. Click here to learn more in our article on Smart Selling Tools -

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

IDC Interview: Financial Justification a Requirement for Technology Buyers

If you’re marketing and selling technology solutions, being able to communicate and quantify your unique value to prospects is more important than ever, this according to leading IT analyst firm IDC.

In an interview with Randy Perry, VP of Business Value Consulting for IDC, we discussed several key changes in purchase decisions for hardware, software, Cloud and services, leveraging IDC’s research from over 400 enterprise buyers over the past two years.

Those in charge of technology decision making have changed, with business groups in charge of most technology purchase decisions, now driving 58% of demand, criteria, budgets and approvals, and the number of purchase decision makers increasing by 43% over the past two years, now involving 8 to 10 decision makers.

With these changing roles, tech buyers care most about driving business growth (35%) and reducing risks (28%), versus what used to matter much more in the past: how the technology investment would reduce total cost of ownership (13%) or drive productivity / process improvements (24%).

One thing that hasn’t changed is the need for understanding and quantifying the business value outcomes of proposed solutions is a requirement for a whopping 95% of decisions. Buyers are putting less emphasis on features and price, and more on business value outcomes, both on the initial purchase and on renewals as well.

Although business value analysis is required, most buyers struggle with the numbers. According to IDC, 2/3rds of buyers indicate they don’t have the knowledge, research metrics or tools needed to do ROI / business value calculations. Mr. Perry indicated that relying on the prospect to on their own develop the business case can lead to significant delays in the decision cycle, and results in more deals ending in “no decision”.

Without the knowledge and metrics on their own, the task of articulating value and providing financial justification falls to the solution provider. IDC indicates that 81% of buyers expect vendors to quantify business value of proposed solutions.

The conundrum? Although buyers require vendors to deliver business value assessments, they often don’t trust the results, knowing at the end of the day that the solution provider is out to sell something. Unless 3rd party validation is provide, less than 15% of buyers trust the results. Independent research, financial models and analysis tools and success stories cab significantly boost credibility and trust.

So how do you best address the requirement for business value?

Checkout the roadmap to value success and some great examples on how to overcome these
challenges here:

On-demand webcast -

Slides here -

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Accelerating the Buyers Journey: Less Features and More Value

You are putting together your content marketing roadmap, figuring out what content you need to best engage and motivate prospect’s through the buyer’s journey. As you do so, you may want to consider some important research to guide your planning efforts.

Did you know …
  • 67% of the buyer’s journey is done digitally, making your content more important than ever in facilitating buyer decision making (Gartner)
  • 83% of buyers remain overwhelmed by the amount of content available, wanting quality personalized content over quantity. (CMI)
  • 74% of buyers indicate solution provider content is still too focused on features vs. value, so you have to shift your content to better communicate and quantify your unique value if you want to stand out and engage (Gartner).

It’s clear. Across the buyer’s journey you need less of the right personalized value-focused content, to motivate buyers from “do nothing” to “yes”.

Here’s what we recommend for each phase:
  1. Ideas - During the initial phase of the buyers journey, buyers are looking for Ideas for improvement. Your prospect might be concerned about growth and efficiency, that they are being surpassed by the competition, or worried about disruption.  In this phase, it is important to help buyers uncover and illuminate issues they should be paying attention to, educating them on the cost of these challenges and painting a vision of how these issues might be solved. The major buyer question: Why Change?
  2. From Exploring to Evaluating – When exploring solutions, buyers need advice on which solution is best, and need to understand the unique value of your solutions. At this stage, the prospect, usually begins socializing the challenges and potential solutions internally, your champion / mobilizer needs help prioritizing the challenge and articulating your unique value story to other stakeholders.  The key question at this stage for the buying committee – Why Now?
  3. Selection – Buyers know they need a solution and have a short list of providers, and now need to know how you are different / superior to other competitive options. It is important to prove that you are lower cost, lower risk and provide superior business value. At this point in the decision cycle, your mobilizer / champion has to prove to others they have done financial and competitive due diligence. At this phase, you can provide.
  4. Renewal – You can’t forget about this important phase in the overall buying process, especially if you sell renewable contracts and services. Your customers are focused more than ever on metrics and measurement, and as a result, your renewal is likely not automatic. Post sale, you can’t leave it up to the buyer to understand the delivered value. You have to be proactive in quantifying and proving your realized value, preparing clear analysis that your champion / mobilizer can use to socialize just how much your solution is delivering to the bottom-line.

As you provide content to fuel the buyers journey, some interactive value marketing content and sales tools that can help better attract, engage and accelerate include:
  • Survey & Assessment Tools - from your website, empower prospects to self-assess their current capability / maturity, benchmark against peers and recommend potential solutions.
  • Assessment & Benchmarking Tools - interactively guide sales reps and channel partners to better discover buyer challenges, benchmark  key performance indicators versus peers, and guide solution recommendations based on uncovered needs.
  • Interactive Value Storytelling - providing interactive self-service content to help a prospect explore challenges, and understand / quantify the unique value of potential solutions.
  • Value Selling Tools - guiding sales reps and channel partners to interactively assess buyer challenges and communicate / quantify the unique value of recommended solutions.
  • ROI / TCO Calculators – self service tools, available directly to prospects from your website, to empower buyers quickly calculate the unique business value you provide, return on investment (ROI) you deliver and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) advantages you have compared to competitive offerings.
  • Business Case and Realized Value Tools – leveraged by sales reps, pre-sales specialists and partners to consultatively build a CFO ready business case to prove your unique and superior Return on investment (ROI) and quick payback of proposed solutions, and validate realized ROI post deployment.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Your Next Practice: Interactive Value-focused Content

As B2B buyers leverage more content to help make better purchase decisions, buyer sentiment is clear: All content is not created equal.

According to a recent survey by the Demand Gen Report , 51% of buyers are relying more on solution provider’ content to make better buying decisions, however, 83% of these buyers are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of content available, this according to a recent survey from Demand Gen Report.

For your buyer it’s about quality over quantity.  They don’t need more content. Instead, your prospects want personalized research and analysis, benchmarks, advice, and guidance.

From the research, 84% of buyers now prefer more interactive and visual content, providing users with the ability to dynamically self-explore areas of interest, analyze opportunities, and obtain customized consultative advice. 

The closer the content replicates personalized expert advice and focuses not on a product-pitch, but on the value of potential solutions, the better. As a result, the Demand Gen Report research revealed that:
  • Interactive value storytelling, diagnostic assessments and ROI / TCO calculators all saw steady and significant growth in buyer value from a year ago
  • 95% of buyers want more benchmarking insights to help measure effectiveness against industry standards
  • 81% of buyers want benchmarking tools to guide future investments. 

The ROI of Interactive Value-Focused Content?

So what’s in it for you? Solution providers taking advantage of interactive value-focused content garner a significant competitive advantage over those relying on static content like white papers (the crack cocaine of content marketing).

Interactive value-focused content delivers a marked improvement in content marketing effectiveness, with IDC reporting that interactive value-focused content:
  • Garnered more attention, generating 50% more leads when compared to static content fueled campaigns
  • Improved buyer audience engagement and education, generating a 30% improvement in motivated buyers and qualified sales opportunities
  • Generated a significant 20% improvement in conversion rates.

What could this mean for your efforts? For every 100 leads currently generated by static content, you could capture an additional 50 leads, improve conversions to generate 2 more deals, and drive an incremental $1M in revenue.

The Evidence?

ADP, the well-known payroll and HR services firm, knows the value of interactive content well.  Alinean worked with the ADP content marketing team to produce the HCM Challenge, an on-line interactive assessment / benchmarking tool prospects could use to analyze their current HR capability / maturity, and obtain advice as to which areas should be addressed, which ADP solutions could help, and potential business value impact of these proposed solutions. Using the tool, buyers received the results on-line, and then could download a completely personalized assessment white paper.

HCM Challenge fueled marketing campaigns immediately had a significant impact, generating over $1M in pipeline and $250k in incremental deals in just the first 3 months after launch.

Over 150 more leads, a 50% decrease in stalled deals and $1.4M in annual revenue are tied to the ADP HCM challenge program each year, making it one of the top 3 campaigns ADP has ever launched.

And they aren’t the only ones generating significant sales and marketing improvements with interactive value-focused content.  For some ideas, checkout these interactive value-focused content examples:

FIS Fintech 2020 Survey - https://fis.valuestoryapp.com/fintech

Kronos Value Assessment Tool (VAT) (UK version)- https://kronos.valuestoryapp.com/vat

Dell Storage TCO Calculator - https://dell.valuestoryapp.com/storage

The Bottom-Line

Your prospects rely on solution provider content to help them make purchase decisions, but are overwhelmed with the sheer volume available. 

In order to better differentiate, engage and motivate, you need to evolve from producing more of the same old static content, to innovative interactive value-focused content instead. 

This should include developing and delivering interactive value storytelling, assessments and ROI / TCO calculators.

Are you ready for more qualified leads, increased conversions and improved win rates?


DemandGen Report - 2016 Content Preferences Survey: B2B Buyers Value Content That Offers Data And Analysis - http://www.demandgenreport.com/resources/research/2016-content-preferences-survey-b2b-buyers-value-content-that-offers-data-and-analysis