Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sales Executives indicate Sales Enablement Tools Vital to 2010 Success

A recent IDC Executive Tele Briefing on Sales & Marketing Strategies for 2010, results of a survey of 40+ worldwide technology sales executives, indicates that sales enablement is one of the top priorities, and the highest expected investment growth area over next 12 months.

Over the past six months, with frugalnomics reigning large with spend-thrift customers, it should not be a surprise that that it takes more leads and a longer sales cycle to acheive sales goals. The survey indicates that:
> 62% of respondents indicate that they need more leads in order to generate the same amount of sales
> 72% of respondents indicate an increase in sales cycle time over the past 6 months

To help address the close effectiveness and sales cycle issues, sales executives indicated that they are very focused on sales productivity and preparedness.

When frugal customers were asked how prepared sales reps are for meetings with them?

> 24% indicate that they are not prepared at all
> 30% indicate that they are somewhat prepared
> Only 29% indicate that they are well prepared

IDC indicates that the recommended best practice for this is to "Better Enable Sales Reps to Engage with Customers", getting sales reps the right information and intelligence at the right time and in the right format, so they are prepared for customer meetings, and productive in meeting this need. This investment includes better Customer Intelligence and Sales Enablement tools such as interactive assessments, ROI business case and TCO comparison tools.

Sales executives are indeed aligned with this best practice advice from IDC, with 65%of sales executives indicating that sales enablement investments will be increased or significantly increased over the next 12 months. This is the largest increase compared to all other investments such as partners / channels, automation, training, and inside sales.

The IDC presentation from this executive briefing can be found at:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Marketing Leaders indicate Sales Enablement Tools as key for 2010 Success

IDC's Essential Guidance for Marketing Executives for 2010 outlines survey results of almost 50 technology marketers, and found these executives expect to grow marketing budgets into 2010. In the IDC survey, respondents indicated that they plan to spend 3.5% more on marketing in 2010 when compared to last year. This reverses the downward trend, where in 2009 spending dropped 8.3% on average.

Although advertising still commands the largest share of the budget at 21%,

> Marketing support and sales tools consumes 18% of overall spending, and is expected to gain substantially in spending, with over 40% indicating a significant rise in sales tool investments in 2010

> Digital marketing investments, including corporate web sites, are only 13% of total spending today, but are expected to gain substantially with over 85% expecting significant investment increases in on-line interactive marketing.

The go forward advice from IDC?
> “Bundle” your new budget requests with budget savings to show frugal focus and fiscal responsibility
> Do not lose control over the “Three Pillars” of Marketing
> Create new Sales Enablement Tools
> “Go Digital” with strong corporate-led digital marketing operations.

The full report can be found at:

A synposis PPT can be found at:

Saturday, March 13, 2010

HP's Cutting-edge 'IT Operational Advantage Boardroom' Microsite features Alinean-powered ROI and Assessment Tools

This innovative microsite from HP really impressed me, not just because of its attractive interactive presentation, but because it contains science to backup the art - including a wealth of white papers and assessment tools for IT decision makers and frugal buyers.

HP knows how important it is for CIOs to get control of costs while assuring that service levels and business drivers don't suffer in the process. Strategies on how to most effectively achieve this are featured in a multimedia-rich HP / TechWeb demand-gen campaign.

For value-added connection with frugal IT executives, HP features Alinean-powered operational assessments and ROI tools.

Visit the HP IT Operational Advantage Boardroom Microsite»

Microsoft launches the Alinean Windows 7 ROI Tool on the Microsoft Partner Network

A featured resource for Microsoft channel partners, the Alinean-developed Windows 7 Return on Investment (ROI) Tool, helps partners evaluate their customers' current PC total cost of ownership (TCO) and identify the potential benefits of deploying the Windows 7 operating system to help lower costs, improve service levels, and increase productivity.

This new tool can quantify the tangible value of Windows 7, estimate migration costs, and calculate the financial metrics necessary for project review and approval.

Partners can choose from two versions of the tool. The Basic version takes 10 minutes or less, and asks about their current environment and plans for migration, and automatically analyzes opportunities, ROI and payback on Windows 7, producing a comprehensive Word or PPT report. The Advanced version of the Windows 7 ROI Tool is a presales resource that helps partners prepare for a more in-depth engagement with their customer.

Visit the Microsoft Partner website and launch the Windows ROI Tool »

Monday, March 08, 2010

B2B spending on interactive marketing will double by 2014

According to a report released Thursday by Forrester Research, B2B interactive spending is expected to double by 2014, reaching an anticipated $4.8B,from 2009's
$2.3B total.

According to Forrester’s Michael Greene in the report, B-to-b marketers “have begun to clamp down on expensive offline tactics and are instead turning to measurable, ROI-driven online channels.”


Time to Result: What Value-Based Sales Tools are all About

Research content is any content that is valuable to a business person because it helps them shorten the “time to result.” states Rex Hammock's blog post about the two most important content elements in B2B marketing campaigns. According to Mr. Hammock, "In business and online content, the concept of time to result typically refers to the time necessary for a busy business person to get to the information he or she needs to answer a question, or make a decision."

This got me to thinking about our own interactive sales and marketing tools and how they meet this criteria of B2B content marketing importance.

Collecting a few data points, the Alinean Assessment, ROI analysis, and TCO Comparison tools use industry research and analytics to help frugal decision makers determine which strategy / projects can deliver the best returns, quantify the savings and return on investment, and compare total costs to know that the selected solution represents the best choice / value. Without these tools, it could take months to build your own assessment, business case or cost comparison.

How important are these "time to result" tools? According to Mr. Hammock, "This content is some of the most valuable content your company can provide. It’s the kind of content that is mission critical and worth paying for because it shortens a person’s time to success."

The original blog post by Rex Hammond can be found at: