Thursday, November 19, 2009

B-to-B Marketing in a Buyer-Driven World

Alinean and sales and marketing consultancy Sirius Decisions just wrapped up an important new webinar for marketers - B-to-B Marketing in a Buyer-Driven World. The webinar introduces new and important research on buying cycles and how changing requirements require new marketing models and tools to effectively reach frugal and empowered buyers.

View the recorded webinar at:
https://alinean.webex.com/alinean/lsr.php?AT=pb&SP=MC&rID=36102367&rKey=d3ff9731a0eaff48

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Nearly 40% of Marketers Plan on Budget Increase in 2010

According to BtoB's "2010 Outlook: Marketing Priorities and Plans" survey of 376 b-to-b marketers, almost 40% say they plan to boost their marketing budgets in 2010 , and only 13% plan on cuts. This, compared to 57% who said they were cutting their budgets in 2009.


Of most importance ito marketers is generating revenue, and participants see lead capture as thier number one initiative according to the survey, particularly increases in on-line spending.


BtoB's survey found that within online marketing, the top areas that will see spending increases include Web site development (70.7% plan increases), e-mail marketing (68.6%), search marketing (62.3%), social media (60.3%), video (50.7%) and webcasts (46.0%).

http://www.btobonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20091116/FREE/311169986

Thursday, November 12, 2009

IT Services require ROI Justification More Than Ever

According to the latest Enterprise IT Services Survey by Forrester Research, buyers of IT services are taking a variety of measures to get more value for the money spent on IT services. The survey of more than 900 IT executives and technology decision makers in North America and Europe reveals that unlike the last recession where most IT services irms experienced growth, most respondents indicated that they will be spending less with consultants and managed service providers, and that pressure to reduce IT spending is going to continue well into 2010.

According to John McCarthy, VP and principal analyst at Forrester, "The data shows no quick turnaround - it's going to be a tough year for services firms as clients increasingly ask them to justify the ROI for IT projects and provide more value for a lower price."

Most services organizations however are not prepared for these new challenges. Services organizations have traditionally underinvested in the research and tools to make it easy to include an ROI analysis as part of the services proposal.

For service organizations seeking renewal or expansion on existing contracts, it is essential to provide an annual report card of savings to the organization. How can you expect a customer to spend more / renew unless they are convinced you've saved them money or delivered some other tangible value. One services organization we worked with was able to reduce churn by 60% and increase renewal deal size by 10%, even in these tough times, by implementing a Realized Value Report Card program for existing accounts. The tool collected basic information about the organization's costs and issues over time, and used research to determine how the services helped to avoid labor costs, reduce overspending, reduce issues, reduce risks, improve service levels, and do more with spending less.

New services customers are more frugal than ever, and services organizations have to tie the new services proposals to tangible savings / value, or risk not getting the priority the project deserves, or worse yet, lose the deal. Typical ROI proposals can include hard cost avoidance, but should also include a quantification of the value derived via the services service level improvemetns, scalability, time to market and risk avoidance.

Forrester research clearly indicates that frugal buyers demand ROI justification, and as a result, IT services organizations need to invest now in research and tools to change the way their sales consultants engage with customers. Quantification of tangible value and return on investment are required. The IT services organization that understands this and invests in a selling with value program will have a better connection with today's frugal buyer, and a clear competitive advantage.

More information about the IT Services research report can be found at: http://www.forrester.com/Research/Document/Excerpt/0,7211,55203,00.html

Making it rain with Cloud Computing from Microsoft

To coincide with the launch of Windows Azure Platform at Microsoft's PDC conference in Los Angeles, Alinean has been researching weather this new Cloud Computing platform from Microsoft can deliver tangible benefits and a solid return on investment (ROI).

Interviewing several early adoptors of Windows Azure worldwide revealed not surprisingly that the Windows Azure Platform can help organizations reduce capital investment requirements, and drive operational cost savings in managing and supporting servers, power and cooling and datacenter space costs. As less resources are available in many of the organizations, the ability to leverage these resources for the most important tasks, while relying on the cloud for day to day operations was important.

Even though cost savings and resource focus were important, most early adoptors cited the less tangible aspects of the Windows Azure Platform as primary drivers, for example:

  1. agility to react faster to growth demands than they could with a Physsical vs. Cloud infrastructure
  2. scalability to grow without boundaries of resources / space
  3. capability to launch applications faster
  4. reachability to have datacenters in key locations without having to build-out or colocate assets in these regions

In our tangible value assessment of Windows Azure Platform, we found that it can deliver:
  • 40-70% savings over non-virtualized on-premises server farms
  • 10-15% savings over virtualized on-premises servers
  • 75% or more savings for burstable computing environments, where compute power is needed for short periods of time during each day, week, month, quarter or seasonal.
As every environment is unique, we embodied this research into an on-line tool so that organizations can:
  1. Answer a few questions about their application and needs
  2. Be provided with guidance as to the size of the Windows Azure environment
  3. Receive a pricing estimate as to the cost of Windows Azure Platform services
  4. Obtain a total cost of ownership (TCO) comparison of on-premises vs. Windows Azure Platform
  5. Review all assumptions to fine tune the analysis for unique opportunities and expectations (no black boxes here).
The result of using the tool is a Word / PPT report about your unique opportunities and potential return on investment.

The tool and casde studies can be found at: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/tco