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Showing posts from April, 2010

Today's Most Significant Challenges for B2B Marketers to Overcome

MarketingSherpa, indicates from their latest research, “The call from the sales force is not Give us more leads -- it’s Give us better leads.”

In their annual B2B Marketing Benchmark Survey of 147 Marketing Executives, MarketingSherpa indicates the top challenges for marketing, all of which point to Value Marketing Tools as a potential solution.Based on percentage of respondents challenged, the top issues include:Generating more high quality leads (69%) and higher lead volumes (35%)Helping sales reduce lengthening sales cycles (39%)Educating buyers on the value of product features and benefits (37%)Marketing to a growing number of people in buying process, especially more stakeholders with different value propositions, and more scrutiny from economic buyers (33%)Our advice: Interactive Demand-Gen White Paper Personalization, Assessments, ROI and TCO tools can help solve some of these issues by:
Providing the compelling, personalized and credible content to cut through the noise and con…

Selling in the Age of Austerity

In 5 years IT will dramatically change, leaving many IT solution providers at a loss for how to connect and sell to a dramatically changed landscape.

According to a Corporate Executive Board research report: "The IT function of 2015 will bear little resemblance to its current state," with "fundamental changes in how the function is organized and managed."

The report is summarized in this CIO Insight article:
http://www.cioinsight.com/c/a/Trends/Big-Changes-Ahead-for-IT-457574/?kc=CIOQUICKNL04272010FEA1

Some of the most significant changes reported by CEB include:
> Fewer than 25% of current IT employees will remain;
> Many activities will devolve to business units, be consolidated within other central functions such as HR and finance, or be externally sourced;
> The role of the CIO will change - expanding to lead a shared service group, or shrink to manage technology delivery.W

How the solution provider markets and sells to, and what the customer needs to know to …

Windows 7 ROI Calculator Updated

The Windows 7 ROI Calculator is a tool that lets users enter in their current PC configurations – such as how many computers and what operating systems they run – and selecting a Windows 7 version, tally the current total cost of PC ownership and compare it to improvements with Windows 7

The Windows 7 ROI Calculator, using case study research from Microsoft deployments, quantifies how much money IT and the business would save or lose by switching to Windows 7, including a calculation of key financial metrics such as ROI, and time to breakeven on the Windows 7 Investment (payback period).

The calculator was developed and launched by Alinean about 6 months ago and initially contained research from early case studies of Windows 7 pre-release deployments.

With Windows 7 released for some time, it was appropo to do a refresh and put in results of even more real world findings, as well as incorporate valuable field feedback from users.

In this latest round, we updated the Windows 7 ROI Calcul…

Gartner: Nearly half of IT, telecom companies plan to boost marketing spending

A survey by Gartner found that 44% of high-tech and telecommunications companies plan to increase their marketing budgets this year.

The report was based on an online survey of 206 global high-tech and telecommunications providers conducted in December.

Forty-one percent of executives surveyed said they would keep marketing budgets flat this year, while only 15% said they plan to decrease them.
Among those companies planning marketing budget increases this year, 30% expect to boost budgets between 1% and 15%, and 13% of respondents plan budget increases of between 16% and 30%.

See the B2B Magazine summary here:http://www.btobonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100422/FREE/100429965/1001

SMB IT Spending Recovers: Looking for ROI and Diagnostic Guidance

Microsoft Corp. released its second annual Microsoft SMB/Partner Insight Report and the study shows that although SMBs remain concerned about the business climate, most will increase technology spending in 2010, highlighting the role of IT as a strategic business tool in this crucial sector of the global economy.

Of great note is that:
1) Economic Buyers Reign, even in SMBS: SMBs are cost conscience with their spending, with the economic buyer clearly in control. According to the study, SMBs will invest in IT that directly benefits their bottom line — either by reducing operating costs, improving employee productivity, or acquiring and retaining customers.

2) Looking for Strategic Guidance on IT Investing: Most SMBs lack dedicated IT staff, and rely heavily on local technology partners to help them evaluate, implement and maintain the right IT solutions. Facing increasingly complex IT options and a challenging economic environment, SMBs are now looking to these partners to provide more …

Virtual Desktop (VDI) 9-11% more expensive than PCs?

In a presentation at Microsoft's Management Summit 2010, new research was previewed from Microsoft on the total lifecycle costs of VDI compared to traditional desktops, particularly for Office Workers.

According to Microsoft, VDI promised benefits including:
> Centralized Management - manage physical and virtual clients from a single console, centralized desktop lifecycle management
> Enhanced Security and Compliance - data is always locked in the data center, improved compliance through centralization
> Anywhere Access for Connected Devices - access desktops from any connected device, enable rich desktop experiences on thin clients and older PCs
> Increased busienss continuity - datacenter grade business continuity and disaster recovery, quickler resolution to desktop failures.

Microsoft’s objectives in the study were to understand customer perceptions and expectations from VDI, gather real world data from deployed organizations, and
provide customers with TCO guidance from …

Value of Assessment ROI & TCO Tools for Demand-Gen and Sales Enablement Campaigns

Today’s buyers are more conservative than ever, demanding that any investment they make drive tangible savings and business value – a fundamental change called Frugalnomics. Leading B2B solution providers recognize that old sales and marketing techniques need to evolve to meet these new buyer demands.

Alinean business value sales and marketing tools can empower solution providers to align with frugal buyer needs, fundamentally changing the engagement with prospects by revolutionizing corporate web sites and sales presentations / proposals from antiquated feature / function / price, to customer focused value engagements:.

• Developed for B2B web-sites and on-line campaigns to help prospects assess opportunities and quantify the value of proposed solutions, Alinean’s value-based interactive demand-generation tools have been proven to entice 50% more leads compared to other initiatives, achieve 240% superior conversion rates, and increase on-line loyalty with 44% increases in repeat visito…

Pricing B2B Solutions with Customer ROI

A recent article "How to price IT products in 7 steps" by Arpon Kar caught my eye about how vendors should use ROI to properly price solutions. At Alinean, and previously with Gartner and Interpose, have been working with vendors on creating ROI tools for use in engaging customers for the past 9 years, and from this experience, can say that many B2B solutions are not priced correctly because an ROI analysis is not done prior to setting price.

According to the article, the author recommends the following 7 steps:

1.Decide the various unique benefits from your product, such that there is no overlap.
2.Quantify the objective of deliverables for each benefit, by discussing the same with your client.
3.Map each benefit to its monetary value from the client’s data (or industry average).
4.Ask the client how much percentage deviation is acceptable from the quantified objective of deliverables mentioned earlier.
5.Discount the monetary value of each objective with the deviation percentage…

HP Launches Networking ROI Campaign with Alinean Tools

To drive more and higher qualified leads, HP Procurve and Carolina Advanced Digital, an HP partner, have launched a campaign and microsite to promote the ROI of its solutions.

The campaign is designed to help customers understand the value proposition of HP Procurve solutions, and use an ROI tool (powered by Alinean) to quantify personal ROI potential. On average, HP claims, and we have confirmed 400% ROI potential.

The tool and white paper are available from:
http://hpnetworking.com/

(registration is required)

9 More B2B Leaders rely on Alinean for Value Selling / MarketingTools

Today’s business buyers are more conservative than ever, demanding that any investment they make drive tangible savings and provide quantified business advantages – a fundamental change called Frugalnomics. Leading B2B solution providers recognize that old sales and marketing techniques need to evolve to meet these new economic buyer demands.

As a result demand has never been higher for Alinean's solutions, and more B2B solution providers are recognizing the need to connect with buyers on web sites and enable sales with Alinean developed assessment, ROI and TCO tools.

New customers this quarter include: Wipro, PGI, CSC, CiRBA, Acsis, MokaFive, Shoretel, Informatica and Office Max.

These 9 new accounts, adds to our ever growing list of loyal accounts including the best B2B solution providers including: HP, IBM, Microsoft, EMC, Dell, Intel, AT&T, Siemens, Unisys, Thomson Reuters, NetApp, Citrix, Juniper Networks, VMware, Symantec, BlueCoat, Novell, Cisco, Oracle, Sybase, and CA.

Blades Systems Insight 2010 Presentation

Had the pleasure to be one of the featured presenter at the Blades Systems Insight 2010 conference, discussing the ROI / TCO advantages of blade servers and how to quantify the value.

In the presentation, had the opportunity to present the latest IT economics research, and the ROI / TCO of Blade servers versus traditional options:

> IT purchase decisions have fundementally changed since the bursting of the tech bubble in 2001, moving from innovative solutions to bottom-line impact and cost savings focus. This shoft has been reinforced by the great recession.

> That IT budgets are still consumed with "keeping the lights on" spending vs. new applications and innovation for the business, 61% on sustaining operations, and 18% for innovations in 2009. Discussed how innovations will likely shift lower in 2010.

> Total cost of ownership (TCO) remains higher than most would like, particularly the labor overhead to manage IT assets. Ongoing costs are 3:1 vs. purchase price.

> …

Alinean Announces Migration of Sales & Marketing Tool Platform with Microsoft Developer Tools

Our latest press release pre-announces our new XcelLive(TM) platform, a revolution of our existing Assessment, ROI and TCO tool SaaS, which works with Microsoft .NET, Microsoft Silverlight, and Windows Azure to Improve User Experience, Agility and Reduce Costs. The platform is migrating from a legacy Java solution.

This new Microsoft-based toolset will help enable B2B vendors to develop new sales tool campaigns more quickly, converting existing spreadsheet-based tools to rich internet applications with no application programming, and standardize and centralize their value-based demand generation and sales enablement programs for better efficiency and lower costs.

The Alinean platform is used by leading B2B solution providers to create and deliver Web-based interactive Demand Gen and Sales Tool applications such as Executive Assessments, Return on Investment (ROI) Calculators, and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Comparison Tools.

Launching anew in May 2010, the migration from a legacy Java …

Selling Software to the C-Suite REQUIRES Quantified Value

In a recent article on Sandhill.com, Selling Software to the C-Suite, Stephen J. Bistritz outlines how presenting the value proposition is important in a down economy, and that throughout the buying cycle there are multiple opportunities to communicate value.

1) Value Proposition - early in the lifecycle you can guess at customer needs and propose how the solution mught derive value

2) Value Hypothesis - during engagement with the customer you can investigate pain points and how the solution can help customer save, streamline or overcome the issues.

3) Formal Value Reviews - post sale, reviewing the value received vs. the value proposed to determine gaps and assure value derivation.

Although overall we believe value selling is vital, and that the advice offered in this article is good, it is not specific / scientific enough to drive results and action on the part of a frugal buyer. The methodology addresses the art of value selling, but does not address the most important element - Show m…

BI Vendors not doing enough to prove ROI

At Gartner's Business Intelligence Summit 2010, IT Executives indicate that they're struggling to prove the ROI of BI to the business. BI managers are finding it difficult to quantify bottom-line impact, and as a result, are not able to get business leaders on board to support additional analytics and reporting projects.

As our annual surveys with IDC continue to indicate, over 90% of projects, especially those with high investment requirements such as BI, require financial justification and proof of bottom-line impact. However, 65% of buyers indicate they don't have the tools and research / methods to justify the solutions on their own.

The research indicates that over 60% of these buyers turn to vendors to prove the value.

As buyers struggle to justify investments to frugal executives, solution providers need to proactively step forward and deliver return on investment proof for BI. Value justification has to occur project by project and business unit by business unit.

As …

2010 Tech spending to increase > 5%

Two IT analyst firms speak of better times to come for IT solution providers. Both Forrester Research and Gartner independently released IT spending forecasts for the remainder of 2010, and both have adjusted their targets higher for the year.

Gartner has accelerated its forecasts for 2010 spending increases from 3% to more than 5.3%, with worldwide IT spending is expected to reach $3.4 trillion in 2010, (growing from $3.2 trillion in 2009).

Forrester has the more aggressive predictions of annual US IT spending growth of 8.4%, with the revision driven by higher than expected investments in communications hardware and software such as networking and Unified Communications.

We believe that Forresters predictions are correct and that the more conservative analysts will continue to revise their targets upwards. Although current budgets remained constrained, discretionary budgets will be put into play later in the year as organizations realize revenue growth and begin investing more to upgrad…

ShoreTel guarentees TCO savings for UC solutions

Knowing how important value is for today's economic buyer, ShoreTel has just announced an innovative program for its customers - a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) savings guarentee.

ShoreTel, with a low up-front cost and less complex solution than the competition has demonstrated a clear cost advantage versus competitors such as Cisco, Avaya, Nortel and Mitel. With independent research to back up these claims, and an Alinean 3rd party developed / powered TCO / ROI Analysis tool to quantify the unique TCO savings quickly for each customer, ShoreTel will guarantee the lowest TCO, so you know that when you purchase and deploy a ShoreTel UC solution, that it will deliver higher net savings than the competition.

A complete TCO analysis enables organizations to compare competing solutions on an equal footing—like for like—and align those solutions with business needs. These comparisons are done head to head versus legacy TDM solutions, and versus any number of UC competitive offerings.

For…

HP legacy upgrade campaign features Alinean TCO sales tools

The market for enterprise servers is fierce, and with IT savings goals top of mind and the recent purchase of SUN by Oracle, many organizations are proactively developing strategies to modernization / consolidate legacy solutions.

In a recent press announcement, HP announced that the number of global companies replacing Sun and IBM systems with more flexible HP solutions offering a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) is rising. Alinean tools are consistently used by HP sales and partners to prove these TCO savings and drive competitive migrations / wins. To help prospects uncover opportunities and increase urgency for legacy consolidation / modernization, HP relies on the Alinean TCO sales tools to calculate prospect's current total cost of ownership illustrating the need for modernization / consolidation, and provide quantifiable savings analysis and third party proof / evidence of savings with HP solutions.

Using the Alinean TCO tool and specific customer consolidation opportuniti…