Friday, May 10, 2013

3 Key Findings from SiriusDecisions Summit

This week Alinean was in San Diego with 1,500 of the best marketers and sales execs to network, and hear SiriusDecisions present their latest research and best practice findings.

Here are three important findings that I believe will have a profound impact on your strategy and success:

1) The number one issue for achieving sales goals remains the “Inability for sales to effectively communicate value messages”, the third year in a row that SiriusDecisions reports this as the top issue.  Importantly, SiriusDecisions indicates that the value messaging can’t be generic, and must be personalized, specific and quantified.

Your prospects have fundamentally changed, now more empowered, risk averse and frugal than ever before – a condition we call Frugalnomics. As a result, your prospects don’t really care that you have new features, or even a new product, but how you can boost their bottom line.

However, if you are like most, your sales reps continue to struggle with articulating and quantifying the financial value your solutions can provide.

2) Tangible value / ROI must be communicated earlier in the buyer’s journey – more prospects than ever, some 60% or more in a typical pipeline, are choosing to “Do Nothing” versus saying “Yes”.

In this “Do More With Less” economy, your prospects have less resources, risk appetite and budget than ever. In a world of constant firefighting, they often have difficulty uncovering issues, and properly quantifying / prioritizing their pains. As a result, the research points to how much help your prospects need help in identifying “Why Change?” and “Why Now?”, leveraging marketing content and earlier value selling engagements to facilitate change in the early stages of the buyer’s journey.

3) High performing reps are different than mid-tier / low performers in that they deliver:
  • Persona specific value messages - each buyer has different goals and challenges, a unique “point of value” as to what you can provide. For example, if you are trying to communicate the value of a web conferencing solution to different stakeholders, the value is completely different:
    • For a sales executive, the value is in the ability to reach more customers, open new territories and cut back on travel wear and tear
    • For marketing, it’s the ability to reduce the cost to acquire new leads
    • For product development, it’s the ability to improve team collaboration and reduce time to market
    • For operations, it’s the reduction in travel expenses
    •  For IT, it’s the ability to reduce licensing and support costs
  • Leverage tools that quantify the business conversation – Sirius Decisions refers to these as Value Actualization Tools, the use of diagnostic assessments, benefits estimators, and ROI / TCO calculators to identify and prioritize issues, quantify the cost of “do nothing” and deliver business case justification.

The Bottom Line

It is clear that buyers are demanding more value-focused content and engagements, and that there remains a significant gap between these demands, and what sales and marketing is effectively delivering. Addressing this value gap, delivering the persona specific value messaging, storytelling and quantification, needs to be a focus for us all between now and next Summit.

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