Friday, February 19, 2010

Sell to C-suite with early engagement and added value

A research project by SellXL involving the alignment between sellers and CXO-level executives indicates that those sales professionals who engage early in the strategic decision making phase of the buying process, and connect as a trusted advisor, are the most successful.

According to Stephen J. Bistritz, founder of SellXL, the independent worldwide survey of 500 CXO-level executives reveals that:

> 80% of executives get involved and make important decisions very early in the buying cycle, therefore salespeople must engage early with executives to set the stage for a solution, versus waiting to address an identified need / respond to an RFP. Engaging early means helping the executive understand current business issues, establish project objectives and set overall project strategy.

> Majority of executives want salespeople who are willing to be held accountable, provide value and deliver results. The more quantified these results can be at driving savings or revenue performance, the better.


The bottom-line: Those sales professionals perceived as trusted advisers are the ones that will have the best Cx-level relationships. According to our studies, sales professionals that connect best with executives have acheived:
> 60% higher competitive win rates - engaging when baseline decisions are made vs. responding to RFPs after the competition has set the stage
> 20% higher deal sizes - selling on strategic problem solving and quantified business value vs. feature / function / price.

This makes the focus on Cx-level engagements, and investment in assessment / benchmarking consultative selling tools one of the highest ROI investments sales enablement can make.

However, consultative selling to executives is easier said than done for even the best sales professionals. One way to make connecting easier is with the use of benchmarking and assessment tools. Assessment tools help sales query the executive prospect on issues, capabilities and maturity, helping the executive understand specific issues, and what these issues mean if not addressed / improved. Benchmarking compares the organization with industry peers and leaders to give the executive a feel for how ahead or behind they are in particular areas. Automating these assessments / benchmarks in tools can help the salesperson proactively present this discovery information, and automatically build a roadmap of practice improvements and solutions to help address the largest deficiencies with the highest priority.

The full article on the Cx-level research can be found at: http://www.btobonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100208/FREE/302029998/1446/FREE

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Goldman Sachs reports SaaS first choice for Software

News.com blogger Dave Rosenberg reports “A "SaaS first" policy is being enacted in the majority of small and midsize businesses." according to Goldman's survey "Techtonics: Unstoppable shift to SaaS continues."

The analysis highlights that 58 percent of respondents consider a SaaS option when making an application purchase decision, and that currently 39% prefer SaaS to traditional on-premise solutions.

Why the move to SaaS? Forty percent of respondents indicated to Goldman that they would be more likely to use SaaS solutions in a weaker economy, due to perceived total cost of ownership (TCO) benefits.

In Alinean TCO analysis studies (such as http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/tco/), at least 40% can be saved in most situations with SaaS, along with service level, performance and scalability improvements, making it a perfect choice in frugal times. The move to SaaS also improved leverage, freeing limited IT resources and budgets for innovation vs. day to day management.

The full article can be found at: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13846_3-10453066-62.html?tag=mncol;title

Alinean's record 2009 Performance and 2010 Hiring Plans

I am very pleased to announce our record 2009 performance at Alinean, and a big thanks to all of our customers, partners and team!

Some of the highlights:

> Added 20 new customers to marquee list of leading B2B solution providers. 2009 additions include Thomson Reuters, Juniper Networks, NetApp, OpenText, SonicWall, Western Blue, ProActive Services, Verdiem, NetScout Systems, BlueArc, Telus Communications, Infor Corporation, SolidWorks, and InMage.

> Announced as value-based sales & marketing tool vendor of record at EMC, Juniper Networks and NetApp, with continued standardizations at valued, long-time customers Microsoft, HP and IBM.

> Gained additional customers via partnership with IDC (http://www.idc.com) - including Aspect, Netcordia, Sterling Commerce, Nuance and Van Guard. IDC markets, sells and authors their tools with the Alinean EnterpriseROI™ platform.

> Launched several ROI/TCO demand-gen campaigns with partner Ziff-Davis Enterprise (http://www.ziffdavisenterprise.com), establishing these tools on micro-sites for Dell and several others.

> Generated 50,000 visitors per month, along with 10,000 assessments and business case reports across all campaigns.

> Grew revenue by 26% and continued profitable growth for third straight year.

Full story - http://orlando.bizjournals.com/orlando/prnewswire/press_releases/national/Florida/2010/02/17/FL56338

For 2010, we plan on adding over 10 to our staff, and are actively seeking a new headquarters location. Opportunities are currently available for Business Analysts (strong ROI modeling / Excel skills), Business Development Managers, Product Line Manager, and Customer Experience Manager.

http://www.alinean.com/jobs.asp

Friday, February 12, 2010

Connecting with Skeptical / Frugal Buyers drives Content Marketing Spending up Significantly in 2010

A recent research report on content marketing highlighted why marketing via feature / function / price is extinct, and why connecting personally with skeptical and frugal buyers is more important than ever.

With less money to spend on proposed projects, spendthrift executives have grown skeptical of B2B solution provider pitches and claims. These executives want help in identifying ways to save, and quantifiable proof that quick payback and return on investment are real.

As a result, significant demand exists for content oriented marketing campaigns, those that deliver education and personalized advice to customers. Rich internet applications (RIAs) such as on-line interactive assessment tools, ROI calculators, and TCO comparisons are important elements of such campaigns. These applications help buyers understand potential opportunities, and quantify the value that could be derived - in very educational and personal terms.

Over 250 marketing professionals, representing both small and large brands participated in survey conducted by Junta42, a content marketing research firm, on the demand and spending for content marketing programs.

The results indicate that content marketing is being used to establish new connections with buyers:

• Content marketing now comprises 33% of the total marketing budget (29% in 2008).

o Smaller companies are spending more on their content marketing as a percentage of budget than larger companies. Small companies (less than 99 employees) spend approximately 40% of their total budget on content initiatives. Our takes is that these smaller firms have learned that connecting personally with customers can lead to more business, and better sales and marketing effectiveness.

o Larger companies (100 employees or more) spend an average of 18% of their budget for content marketing. Our take is that large companies are spending more than small companies on general advertising and other generic initiatives which may have less impact than content rich and personalized campaigns, giving the advantage to smaller firms.

• For the third straight year, marketers are planning to spend significantly more on their content marketing efforts in 2010.

o For 2010, 59% of marketing professionals surveyed plan to increase their spending on content initiatives (as compared to 56% in 2009 and 42% in 2008).

o As a percentage of budget, marketers are increasing their content marketing spending 11% from the 2008 study.

The survey results can be found at:
http://www.junta42.com/media/38066/content-marketing-spending-2010-results-junta42.pdf