Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Why Spreadsheets Don't Work for ROI / TCO Tools


Many organizations have developed spreadsheet models to help financially justify solutions to frugal buyers. Often these spreadsheets are developed by a field subject matter expert, out of necessity based on one or more client requests, and then shared / distributed to other sales professionals and channel partners for use.

These spreadsheet-based ROI / TCO Tools are meeting a great need, to help fight Frugalnomics and implement value-based sales / marketing campaigns, but are not the ideal platform to support sales / marketing success.

Here are a few of the most common issues we see with most spreadsheet based tools:


1.   Expensive to develop, maintain and support the macros , reports and other features to make the spreadsheets marginally functional and usable,


2.   Creating robust printed Word or PPT reports from spreadsheets are not impossible, but often a challenge,


3.   Controlling distribution and usage access to spreadsheets is difficult, and although the spreadsheet engine can be password protected, it’s too easy for the tool to fall into competitors hands,


4.   Distribution and version control is an issue. Hard to get sales and channel to retire and replace old versions , keep the field up to date,


5.   Spreadsheets are not good for collecting and centralizing the analyses inputs and results, wasting incredible engagement data and results insight / case study opportunities,


6.    Hard to track usage to understand who is using / who is not using the tool, and where / when they are applying it in deals,


7.   Third-party tools, research and validation reign supreme with skeptical buyers. Most spreadsheets are home-grown and lack this third-party credibility.


Spreadsheets are a good start towards fighting Frugalnomics and implementing a value-based sales / marketing program, but need to be advanced to overcome the important issues discussed here, driving more engagement and selling effectiveness, and improving management efficiency / lowering program costs and headaches.

How Can We Help?
Alinean is unique in that we can DIRECTLY take, enrich and publish the spreadsheet into our on-line platform DIRECTLY. No reprogramming is necessary, as the spreadsheet serves as the tool’s engine, but with a much more usable and powerful on-line interactive front end, identity and access control, enhanced reporting, database and credibility.
Initially, we take the spreadsheet, and with some special enrichment by an analyst, and a press of a button to publish the engine into the Alinean XcelLive platform, the spreadsheet is transformed into a dynamic, interactive rich on-line ROI / TCO Tool and database application. To update, enhance and maintain the tool is as simple as editing and updating the spreadsheet engine, with no software programming needed – making initial development and evolution extremely easy and cost effective.

The Bottom-Line
Spreadsheets are a good start, but there is a much better way to leverage more advanced technology and empower customers and sales to more easily and effectively create ROI / TCO business cases, and manage value selling / marketing programs. Alinean has the only platform, XcelLive, to directly take spreadsheets and convert them into powerful and credible on-line interactive tools.

Click here to see Tom Pisello's video on this important topic:




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