Showing posts from January, 2011

Is The End of the Social Media Story Already Written Into Its Success?

In Italo Calvino’s early 1970’s book Invisible Cities, he describes a fictional city, where to establish relationships, the inhabitants stretch strings from their house, to the houses of others they have relationships with. Each string is white or black or gray or black-and-white to denote a relationship of blood, of trade, authority, or agency.

If we think of today’s social media, our virtual worlds are denoted by such strings, creating an intricate web of relationships.* And as the popularity of social media increases, these strings become more numerous, often requiring more and more time to “navigate”.

Calvino illuminates the tragedy of this society, for “When the strings become so numerous that you can no longer pass among them, the inhabitants leave: the houses are dismantled; only the strings and their supports remain.”

Just think of the information overload from just our e-mail alone, exploding more than 2x in volume per year. To this, now add the real time pressure from socia…

Over 200% ROI from a Value Selling Program Sound Impossible? Find out for yourself.

Buyers have fundamentally changed, requiring quantification of benefits, superior ROI, faster payback and lower TCO from each proposed investment - a condition called Frugalnomics.

As a marketer you may realize that buyers are doing more research on-line before engaging with sales, and that these frugal buyers are in need of on-line self service tools to help them diagnose issues, quantify the benefits or validate the superior value of your solutions.

Or you may be a sales enablement manager seeking to arm your direct / channel sales teams with the tools they need to engage frugal buyers earlier in the buying cycle, and with more value, incuding arming them with the diagnostic asssessment, ROI and TCO tools they need to succeed.

Regardless, how do you know how much benefit these tool and program investments will yield?  Will the  investment yield a good return and quick payback? What options are available to drive perhaps higher returns?

Alinean, with research from IDC, has developed …

Your Sales & Marketing Ready to Do Business with Frugal Buyers? Take this Diagnostic Assessment to Find Out.

Buyers are more empowered and frugal than ever before, requiring changes to the way B2B solutions are marketed and sold.
In fact, IDC research has revealed that those who have already made the shift are experiencing significant benefits, including the ability to generate more high quality leads, reduce in selling cycles, improve deal size and increase competitive win rates.
But how do you know if your current sales and marketing practices are already aligned with buyer needs, or need to change?

We encourage you to take this on-line diagnostic assessment, a 10 minute survey which compares your current practices against best practice leaders to validate current strategies, or illuminate potential improvements - all presented in a completely personalized benchmark report.

White Papers are Influence Kings, But Need Personalization to Retain Crown

Internet Fuels IT Buying Cycles
According to a recent survey of 500 technology decision makers and influencers, Internet access to content is changing the way IT solutions are purchased, with buyers using on-line research to drive substantial portion of the decision making cycle on their own. Savvy buyers are using on-line content to set strategies, explore and select solutions, all before ever engaging a sales representative.

For these technology decision makers and influencers, content is an all important decision catalyst, with buyers researching opportunities, solutions, technical specifications, financial justification, success stories references and competitive comparisons. In a do-more-with-less environment, IT buyers view on-line content as essential to the buying process, a facilitator to help make better decisions more quickly.

Content that Matters Most?
When surveyed as to the most influential content in decision making, white papers remain the stand-out content of choice.

Diametrically Opposed Forces: Selling Value in a Buyer Controlled World

Alinean just had the pleasure of wrapping up a webinar with SiriusDecisions analyst Jim Ninivaggi, and this session contained important research and advice for developing the right B2B sales enablement strategy and tools to address key buyer changes into 2011 and beyond.

Here's our three key takeaway opportunities:
1) Buyer Facilitation versus Selling,
2) Buyers, Fueled by the Internet, Firmly in Control,
3) Most Prominent Inhibitors to Sales Achieving Quota is “Inability to Communicate Value Messages”.

Buyer Facilitation versus Selling
The majority of B2B sales teams have faced an elongated sales cycle over the past few years. But the problem is not “why sales cycles are getting longer”, it's why buyers are taking longer to make decisions.

However, solving this problem will be difficult for most teams, as sales remains inwardly focused on the traditional funnel based selling process, rather than having a keen understanding of how customers make decisions and actually buy - th…

New TCO Calculator: EMC SMB Virtual Solutions Advisor

EMC wanted a quick way for small / medium business IT executives and buyers to quantify how virtualized data center solutions could help drive capital cost savings, operations and application management savings and improved resiliency.

To address this growing market opportunity, Alinean developed the EMC SMB Virtual Solutions Advisor, a TCO calculator at the heart of this new SMB virtualization marketing campaign. The tool is featured in direct marketing and social media campaigns, and is available from - driving a significant increase in leads, education and deal flow.

The tool uses a new version of our XcelLive platform (version 5.0) which adds graphics capability, better registration control and several other key features, which can now be integrated and used with any new tools, or in any of over 1,000+ current sales and marketing tool campaigns.

Click here to access the tool

Value Selling Tools and the Buying Lifecycle

With two economic downturns in the past ten years, buyers are more frugal than ever, demanding that each investment help them do-more-with-less, provide a bottom-line impact, and deliver superior value. Alinean calls this new age-of-austerity Frugalnomics, and it forever changes the way B2B sales and marketing needs to connect with, engage and sell to buyers.

To address the frugal buyer, leading sales enablement groups and marketers are now providing tools to help buyers diagnose their issues, justify solutions, and compare to prove superior value.

As today’s buyers are empowered by the Internet to do their own research and drive their own purchasing due diligence – engaging sales later than ever, or not at all – easy to use versions of these diagnostic tools need to be on-line, readily available, interactive and personalized to empower self-service research. For sales teams, more advanced versions can be used to empower sales led workshops, helping to make sales more valuable again,…

Is there an ROI from Social Media? Latest Research Indicates Yes and No.

Marketers are investing significantly more in social media efforts, with increases from 6% to 18% percent of marketing budgets expected within five years. Marketers understand that you must make an investment to deliver social media results and success, but what spending levels are required, and how much effort needs to be expended to deliver specific results?

As social media marketing efforts increase, so does the investment required. And in today’s “age of austerity”, every significant investment now requires proof of bottom-line impact and superior value – a condition called Frugalnomics. As a result, with the social media spending increases, comes:
Increased executive scrutiny,Challenges from other stakeholders who may be losing budget to these efforts. This is driving the need for better social media measurement and return on investment (ROI) accountability.

Recent survey results from Altimeter state that measurement is indeed one of the most important aspects to social media suc…

Let the Good Times Roll? IT Spending on the Rise, But Executives Remain Economic-Focused

A recent IT spending survey from Forrester confirms that 2010 remained a tough year for IT. Although Forrester was predicting 8-9% IT budget growth earlier in the year, its latest survey of 2,800 global CIOs and other IT decision-makers, revealed that their predictions, as were others, were overly optimistic, with the vast majority of respondents indicating that their budgets remained the same in 2010 as they were in 2009. Although enterprise technology budgets were trending upward, the progression was slight, in 2010 compared with 2009.

As could be expected, Forrester indicates that the majority of 2010 IT spending went to support existing operations – essentially “keeping the lights on”. Forrester dubs these investments the “MOOSE” part of the budget – spending to Maintain and Operate the Organization, Systems and Equipment.

Even with the shift towards more conservative spending, the survey indicated that a substantial 29% of the budget was still dedicated to new IT initiatives and …

Sales Enablement and The Economic-Buyer

With two recessions over the past 10 years, buyers have become more focused on quantifiable bottom-line proof points for most large investments. Even though a recovery is at hand, there remains significant pressure to do-more-with-less, and the economic buyer is firmly in control, demanding even more financial accountability on each purchase.

The reign of the economic-buyer is called Frugalnomics, where buyers require significant ROI, fast payback and superior value from each purchase. And this trend is not expected to end, even as the recovery takes hold.

As a result of Frugalnomics and other market drivers:
62% of B2B vendors indicated they needed more leads in order to generate the same amount of sales, 72% indicated an increase in buying cycle time over the past 6 month, The buying cycle timeframe has increased over 10% in the past 12 months.

How Do You Fight Frugalnomics?
To effectively fight Frugalnomics, improve sales success and reduce sales cycles, new sales enablement strate…