Friday, May 31, 2013

Dump the PowerPoint Sales Pitch & Engage Your Customers Instead

To effectively communicate the value of your solutions, you likely arm your Sales Reps with PowerPoint (PPT) decks to help them present challenges, solutions and benefits.
From your Sales Rep's perspective, these PPT decks:
  • Are way too long, many topping 100 slides or more, making it extremely difficult to figure out what to present for each unique selling engagement
  • Contain too much content about your company and your products, and not enough of the  content that customers care most about – challenging, consultative insights that will help build emotional connections
  •  The tangible value messaging and quantification that today’s more frugal buyer needs for rational justification

Think your customers like PPT presentations any more than your Sales Reps? Think again.
If your customers are like those just recently surveyed:
  • 1/3rd of them have fallen asleep during one of your PowerPoint sales pitches
  • One in five of your customers say they would rather go to the Dentist than sit through another PPT fueled session(1).

Your customers don’t want PPTs; they want your Sales teams to deliver an engagement that is personalized and relevant. They seek provocative, challenging and compelling insight to help them achieve a competitive advantage. They want a conversation, not a sales pitch. However, one-size-fits-all PowerPoint presentations fail to engage.
PowerPoint presentations are unfortunately:
  1. Not intelligent enough to recommend the right content for the right selling situation, providing way too much one-size fits all content
  2. Too linear and less than interactive, making it difficult to navigate to just what your customer is interested in, and focused on their unique challenges
  3.  Lacking provocative, challenging and compelling insight, diagnostic assessments, benchmarks and metrics
  4.  Short on the quantified financial justification today’s frugal buyer demands
  5.  Incapable of tracking how and when it is being used, what is being presented, and to whom
  6. Lacking the ability to collect and leverage the customer intelligence gained from each engagement to help guide future product / marketing and more importantly, to make the next presentation that much more insightful and effective.

The buyer’s perspective? 
Your sales calls are “Death by PowerPoint”.
Click here to read more about this research, and learn how you can leverage ValueStory to s replace your PPTs with a much more effective guided value-selling tool.
Source: (1) MarketingProfs

Thursday, May 23, 2013

SiriusDecisions: Five Ways to Value Actualization Tool Success WebCast On-Demand

I had the pleasure of interviewing SiriusDecisions Jim Ninivaggi, Service Director, for Sales Enablement. 

In this session, we explored Value Actualization tools (traditionally known as ROI Calculators) – what they are, why they are now a vital part of the selling process, and some of the best practices around doing them right.

In our Q&A session, Jim highlighted key new research from SiriusDecisions, which will have a significant impact on your sales and marketing strategy:
  • The number one issue preventing sales professionals from achieving quota for the 3rd year in a row is not the product portfolio, product knowledge or lack of training, but the inability to communicate the value proposition
  • The ability to communicate value by role, and the use of Financial Justification / ROI (Value Actualization) tools are the most significant best practice differences between top performers and middle of the pack / low performers.

Beyond strategy, Jim and I discussed in detail what it takes to do Value Actualization Tools the right way, especially:
  • How to make sure the development process is done right
  • What are the key financial elements and other best practices to include
  • How to assure adoption and proper use
  • Where to best apply the tools in the selling process

Click here to view the Webcast On Demand

Click here to view the Slides

IBM PureFlex TCO Analyst Tool Lead Nurturing Campaign (powered by Alinean)

Today’s data center executive knows how important it is to deliver great performance, agility and availability, but as cost effectively as possible.
IBM proves this using the Alinean powered PureFlex TCO Analyst Tool.

The tool is leveraged as a significant element in marketing nurturing campaigns, with an example below of how they are using the tool as the next step / follow-on to thought leadership white papers and webcasts.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

ValueStory featured on Smart Selling Tools

Smart Selling Tools help identify the best new applications that can improve selling effectiveness and enable smarter selling. 

This week, Nancy Nardin of Smart Selling Tools discusses Alinean's ValueStory, a new iPad App which leverages storytelling and financial justification to replace PPTs and spreadsheets, creating more provocative client engagements.

Click here to see the video:

Click here to see the Alinean profile page:

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.