Thursday, November 29, 2012

Accenture & CSO Insights: Improve Sales Effectiveness with Tablets in 2013


In a survey of Chief Sales Officers (CSOs), the number one priority for the coming year was to improve sales effectiveness, especially finding ways to improve quota attainment success, improving deal size and driving competitive win rates. This was reported by almost 60% for responses from sales executives at over 200 $1B+ revenue companies worldwide by CSO Insights and Accenture.

And improving sales effectiveness could not come soon enough, as CSOs indicate that between 36% to 47% of sales professionals are still failing to meet quota, goals even though the economy shows signs of improving, and sales cycles continue to lengthen, especially with new customer acquisitions. In the study, CSOs report that 42% of deals now take more than 6 months to close.

CSO indicates that the number one issues to achieving selling effectiveness are that Sales professionals struggle researching prospects prior to calls and fail to sell value, typically having to discount in order to get the business.

To help resolve these issues, Accenture recommended a few key best practices, especially the implementation of sales tools - leveraging the interactivity and tactile nature of Tablets to help sales representatives deliver more provocative customer engagements and help facilitate the Buyer’s decision-making process.

From 2011, the study indicates that Tablet adoption has increased from only 45% of firms providing Tablets to sales teams, to over 90% now actively using or starting to use tablet devices in their sales organizations.

Current investments in Tablet Apps have focused mainly on mobile CRM, or making the existing sales presentations and collateral available via the mobile device. As a result, and without too much surprise, CSOs indicate that Tablets have not improved key sales effectiveness measures, with less than 15% of CSOs indicating any improvement in win rates or increasing revenues, and less than 9% indicating any shortening of sales cycles.

The problem is that current Sales Tablet App investments have not been focused on the more critical and innovative elements needed to truly drive an improvement in selling effectiveness.

The Sales Tablet App that would have a bigger sales effectiveness impact would include functions such as:
  1. Empowering more provocative interactive customer engagements
  2. Delivering compelling insights and knowledge to the customer about their business, challenges, and the competition
  3. Enabling Value Selling, particularly providing the tools and research metrics to quickly and credibly quantifying the “cost of doing nothing” and the value of change for today’s more skeptical and frugal buyer
  4. Intelligently guiding the sales person to the right engagement material based on the buyer persona, stage in the decision process and challenges.

To see one such sales effectiveness App in action, check out Alinean ValueStory™, the first App specifically designed to reshape sales presentations into provocative and interactive customer engagements.


Source:
Connecting the Dots on Sales Performance – Accenture and CSO Insights Research:


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Gartner: Business Groups Will Soon Control 90% of Tech Spending - Are you Ready?


According to Gartner, twelve years ago technology spending outside of IT was only 20 percent of total technology spending.


In two years, Gartner Inc. Research Vice President Brian Prentice predicts, the percentage of technology spending by the business -- outside of the control of IT -- will reach 35 percent.

Moreover, by the end of this decade Gartner is predicting businesses will control a whopping 90 percent of technology spend.


The bottom-line: Is your sales and marketing ready for this Teutonic shift in IT purchase decision-making?


Consumerization and Cloud

The shift of technology spending from IT to the business units is driven by a number of factors, but according to Gartner, is mostly driven by:
  • Consumerization – expectations by users and the business for their systems and applications to look and perform like consumer offerings versus the perceived limited solutions being offered by core IT.
  • BYOD - users purchasing their own work tablets, laptops and other devices.
  • Cloud Computing – where the business procure their own infrastructure, platforms and software as a service.
The role of IT is clearly evolving, where for technology system purchases like marketing automation, CRM, HR and even supply chain management, IT departments are brought in to support the integration of these systems into the enterprise systems, but IT is not leading the purchase project.


Already the purchase process is more complicated, with 40% more stakeholders involved in a typical IT purchase decision, according to IDC.



The decision making process will become even more complex as the barriers between personal and business computing blur, and business decision makers take majority control of the valuation process.

Business leaders have different goals, challenges and valuation criteria than IT managers, requiring distinctly different messages for connecting, engaging and selling.

In particular, sales and marketing will need to communicate and quantify to business group leaders how proposed solutions will drive business process and productivity improvements and reduce current business costs and risks.

And financial acumen becomes more important, in order to engage and sell CFOs, financial and procurement executives on the proposals return on investment and payback.


Are You Ready?

Clearly purchase decisions are quickly evolving, as more technology purchase decision control migrates to business groups, and more stakeholders are engaged in each decision.

To be ready for this shift, sales and marketing will need to evolve in 2013:
  • Consultatively helping Core IT control costs and deliver better services and solutions to the business. As Gartner reports, part of the issue is that IT continues to be viewed as a utility, much like the power company with “IT organizations allocating probably 80% of their budget to keep-the-lights-on” versus driving new and innovative business solutions.
  • Quickly evolving from selling and marketing products primarily to technical decision makers to now engaging with business executives and even user community groups.
  • Quantifying the “Cost of Doing Nothing” for frugal business leaders and financial executives, in order to proactively and provocatively illuminate issues and prioritize which challenges to address.
  • Communicating and quantifying the value proposition uniquely and relevantly for each stakeholder’s unique “Point of Value”.
  • Deliver financial justification including ROI and payback analysis for CFOs and financial approval.
  • Quantify the total cost of ownership and benefit differences between your solution and other offerings in order to “Prove you are not the same”.

There’s no time like the present to understand what the Teutonic IT spending shift could do to your sales and marketing, and begin implementing the tools and training needed to be prepared. 

Click here to learn more.


Sources:

More technology spending in the hands of the business instead of IT


Gartner Says Big Data Creates Big Jobs: 4.4 Million IT Jobs Globally to Support Big Data By 2015 - Analysts Discuss Key Issues Facing the IT Industry During Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2012, October 21-25, in Orlando - http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=2207915

Friday, November 09, 2012

ValueStory Roadshow Rocks Austin Texas

Everything is a little bigger in Texas, and that proved to be the case this week as our ValueStory launch roadshow visited Austin.

An audience including folks from Dell, IBM and Avnet were treated to great wine and food from Jasper's, as we reviewed the latest IDC buyer trends that are sure to have an impact on 2013 planning, and gave a hands on demonstrations of our new ValueStory mobile customer engagement App.  

The discussions were fantastic, as we reviewed what impact the research would have on sales and marketing strategies for the coming year, and the ways in which using new Tablet Apps could help overcome some of these challenges.

We want to thank Ravi, Vickie, Erica, Angelia, Paul, Arpita, Laura and Al for joining us!

For those who missed us in Austin, you can get a taste for the session in our on-line webcast December 5th,  or join us in Boston or Palo Alto early next year as we kick off a new round of roadshow sessions. 
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Thursday, November 01, 2012

Press Release: Alinean Completes SSAE 16 SOC 1 Audit


Security, governance and compliance tested and audited by independent accounting firm

Gartner Reveals Changing IT Buyer Landscape for 2013 - Are You Ready?


At the annual Gartner Symposium, the world's most important gathering of CIOs and senior IT executives in our hometown of Orlando, new and important IT spending research and trends are always presented. This year revealed further changes in IT Buyers and Mobility, with important implications for IT Sales and Marketing strategies in 2013 and beyond.

IT Spending Growth Remains Challenge

Worldwide IT spending is estimated to surpass $3.7 trillion in 2013, a 3.8 percent increase from 2012 projected spending of $3.6 trillion.  This growth projection bests the 3% growth rate of 2012, but we think it may be optimistic in light of worldwide economic conditions, and stands a good chance of being adjusted downwards as have the two prior years’ early predictions.

Regardless, the 3% growth is half the prior decades 6% growth rate average. Frugalnomics is in full effect.

Worse, many areas of IT spending are contracting, with most of the spending growth allocated to a few specific strategic initiatives, especially: Cloud, Mobile, Social Computing and Big Data.

In spite of the predictions, there is enormous pressure on IT vendors to sustain above average revenue growth rates. Even with less spending to go around, the expectations on Sales to deliver incremental revenue regardless of market conditions will be unrealistically high for another year.

In 2013, Sales will need to quickly find ways to Fight Frugalnomics by:

  1. Aligning solutions and proposals to the key strategic initiatives where executives are focused and budget has been allocated.
  2. Engaging earlier and more provocatively to illuminate buyer challenges, raise priorities and create opportunities that are not readily apparent to the Buyer, nor to which budgets had been allocated prior.
  3. Assuring that renewals are secure by not relying on buyers to justify the renewal, but by proactively and continuously proving realized value.
  4. Reducing deal discounts by elevating the focus from price to value and quantifying competitive advantage, even though each deal will inherently be more price competitive.

Business Groups are Large and in Charge

According to Gartner, twelve years ago technology spending outside of IT was only 20 percent of total technology spending; by the end of this decade it will become almost 90 percent – a Teutonic shift in IT purchase decision making.

Already the purchase process is more complicated, with 40% more stakeholders involved in a typical IT purchase decision, according to IDC.

The decision making process will become even more complex as the barriers between personal and business computing blur, and business decision makers take majority control of the valuation process. Business leaders have different goals, challenges and valuation criteria, requiring sales to leverage a different language of engagement.



In 2013, Sales will need to:
  1. Quickly evolve from selling primarily to technical decision makers to now engage with business executives and even user community groups
  2. Perform value storytelling andjustification uniquely and relevantly for each stakeholder’ unique “Point ofValue”.

Tablets Expected

According to Gartner, in less than two years, iPads will be more common in business than Blackberries, and right now, CIOs are placing orders for tens of thousands of iPads at a time, especially to improve sales productivity.

As a result, Gartner predicts that two years from now, 20 percent of sales organizations will use tablets as the primary mobile platform for their field sales force.

In 2013, it will be imperative for Sales Enablement and IT to figure out not just how to use tablets to access email and CRM remotely, but how to best leverage tablets to reshape the client engagement process to meet changing buyer needs and fight Frugalnomics.



In 2013, the focus needs to be on leveraging the collaborative interactivity and compute power of tablets to:
  1. End “Death by PowerPoint” presentations and move to a truly interactive value-focused engagements.
  2. Deliver unique and compelling insight that allows sales to be invited earlier in the decision making process (as buyers are now delaying sales engagement until >60% of the decision making process has been complete).
  3. Justify the value of solutions to meet frugal buyer demands for Financial Justification / ROI (now ranked as the Most Valued Content vendors can provide to help facilitate purchase decisions).
  4. Intelligently communicate the relevant valuestory and quantification to each stakeholder: financial, business and technical.

The Bottom-Line

In summary, Gartner has set some important predictions for 2013:
  1.  IT spending growth will remain well below historical averages
  2. Business groups will take further control of technology spending compared to central IT
  3. Leveraging tablets will be a Sales requirement


Savvy IT Sales Executives and Sales Enablement Professionals recognize the changing landscape revealed in Gartner’s 2013 predictions and are establishing solid strategies to win in 2013:
  1. Aligning solutions to the big four strategic initiatives for 2013: Cloud, Mobile, Social Computing and Big Data.
  2. Delivering the Financial Justification / ROI and competitive quantification that today’s frugal buyer demands.
  3. Presenting the relevant value story and quantification for each stakeholder.
  4. Empowering a different kind of storytelling and justification using Tablets.

Resources




Source: Gartner Says Big Data Creates Big Jobs: 4.4 Million IT Jobs Globally to Support Big Data By 2015 - Analysts Discuss Key Issues Facing the IT Industry During Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2012, October 21-25, in Orlando - http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=2207915