Friday, November 22, 2013

Sales Revenue Growth for 2014? More of the Same Won’t Deliver Results

In your 2014 plans, you likely have some significant revenue growth targets for the New Year.

To hit these targets you will have to do more, with most organizations investing in three key areas to try and drive results:

  • More Sales Reps
  • More Training
  • More Traditional Content

But is “more” really more, or will “more “result in the same, or worse, less?

The odds are that these investments will fall flat and not yield all the revenue growth results you expect.

Why is this? The #1 reason sales reps do not achieve quota goals is not a lack of leads, products, CRM or training – but a failure to effectively communicate value to today’s more frugal / skeptical prospect.

Let’s see how this plays out against the likely growth investments and your personal plans for 2014.

More Sales Reps
Listen to any quarterly conference call and you can hear CEO after CEO say that in order to meet reported growth goals, they are hiring big in Sales.

However, more sales reps do not mean more revenue. In fact:

  • New sales reps take a long time to ramp up. CSO Insights reports it now takes
  • 9 months for new sales reps to come up to speed. Worse, according to Forrester, up to 3 years for complex selling like for technology sales reps, medical equipment and many more.
  • Each sales rep costs as much as
  • $135,000 in additional costs beyond salary and incentives according to Forrester, including costs for training, CRM, sales enablement, content and leads. The high cost makes it more important than ever to get sales reps effective sooner, and incredible risk if the new hires don’t work out or take longer than expected to ramp-up.

Advice:  According to Jim Ninivaggi, Sales Enablement Practice Lead from SiriusDecisions, selling effectiveness, whether for new or veteran sales reps, “comes down to having the right one-to-one conversation with the prospect and being able to communicate in this conversation the relevant challenges you can help the prospect overcome and the value you can uniquely deliver”.

The key to new rep ramp-up is to empower a more effective value conversation– intelligently guiding the new rep conversation – recommending and supporting the right visual value storytelling, personalized compelling insights and financial justification.

Without this value conversation guidance, how sure are you that your new sales reps will succeed?

More Training
Sales organizations spend significantly in training every year, trying to impart new methodologies and skills. Lately, the training is particularly focused on trying to get sales reps to engage earlier and more provocatively with prospects, and evolve their engagements from product to value.

However, when we look at training effectiveness, the numbers are startling. According to the psychologist and a pioneer in the study of memory and learning Ebbinghouse, 87% of this training will be forgotten within weeks according to. Your training investments will likely fall victim to the Ebbinghouse’s Forgetting Curve – squandered in short order.

Advice: Training without point-of-sales-conversation guidance means that most of the knowledge is forgotten and not leveraged to deliver more effective conversa

You can overcome this by intelligently providing and guiding sales reps with the right value communications – the specific prospect /selling situation appropriate visual value storytelling, provocative and dynamic insights, and personalized financial justification.

Without this point-of-sales-conversation guidance and knowledge support, how confidant are you that this years training will be remembered and more importantly, really contribute to achieving growth plans?

More Traditional Content
SiriusDecisions reports that the average company now spends over $40K per salesperson per year on traditional content like white papers, PPTs, data sheets battlecards and more. However:

  • 65% of marketers indicate that their content marketing strategies and traditional deliverables are ineffective (CMI).
  • 90% of the large content investment is not leveraged in the Sales process (IDC), and as a result is not helping sales reps overcome the number one growth issue – communicating value to today’s more frugal / skeptical prospect.

Unfortunately, today’s prospect tunes out the same old look-alike white papers, PowerPoints and data sheets. At the same time, sales reps are not using these stale old-fashioned deliverables because they don’t provide the value communications to help them close deals.

In order to overcome the #1 issues of value communications, you can enable sales reps to better communicate your value messaging, leveraging visual value storytelling and value quantification in a form of content that is provocative, credible and fun to use.

So how does your current content help move the needle on sales growth, and how are you going to shift your content plans to focus on the visual value storytelling, provocative insights and financial justification needs? 

The Bottom Line: More is not More

More of the same old investments in new hires reps, training and traditional content may not help you achieve all your 2014 revenue growth targets unless your plans specifically address the #1 performance issue - value communication.

One of the best ways to accomplish this is to provide situation specific point-of-sale value communications - guiding sales reps with visual value storytelling, provocative dynamic insights and financial justification. Click here to learn more >

Want to learn more about how your planned investments could help achieve your sales growth plans, or potentially be at risk? Download our ValueStory iPad App, and register for /receive your free Sales Productivity Calculator.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

ValueStory Named as Best Calculator App by TabTimes

TabTimes has recommended Alinean's ValueStory as one of its top Calculator Apps in their latest roundup review.

The latest version includes ROI calculators for Sales and Marketing Productivity (based on cutting edge research from Scott Santucci / Forrester), Marketing, Selling Effectiveness, Mobility and BYOD and Downtime.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Akamai KONA Security Solutions Interactive White Paper

Akamai wanted to deliver thought leadership insights, value messaging and justification to prospects of its Kona Security Solutions. The challenge was to do this in a thought provoking, compelling, personalized and succinct fashion.

Alinean worked with Akamai to develop the KONA Security Solutions interactive white paper, determining the prospects top priority issues with security, and then recommending specific thought leadership insights, solution overview, value messaging and justification for each priority.

The deliverable white paper is customized and delivered to directly reflect the prospect’s priorities.

The tool is used in online and direct email marketing campaigns to great effect, generating over 60 incremental leads each month. A guaranteed leads program assured quick payback and ROI on the investment.

Click here to see the tool in action.

AVNET Interactive White Paper

AVNET wanted to deliver thought leadership insights on potential opportunities and solutions to each prospect, and accomplish this without having to develop and maintain separate white papers for each industry.

AVNET turned to Alinean to an interactive white paper, providing each prospect with personalized insights, solution recommendations and value messaging specific to their industry and unique opportunities.

From a prospect’s profile captured via their website, lead nurturing system or email campaign profile, the interactive white paper tool automatically and in the background assembles the appropriate personalized white paper and delivers it via download.

The tool is used to educate prospects on the typical industry related opportunities they may want to address, and the related AVNET solutions and value messaging. The tool is used in online and direct email marketing campaigns to great effect, generating over 100 leads each month.

ACI Worldwide Universal Payments Benefits Estimator

ACI Worldwide Universal Payments (UP) solution enables a financial institution to leverage the best of its existing payment systems while renovating to gain greater flexibility.
It needed a way for customers to quickly understand the financial benefits of the Universal Payments solution.

ACI turned to Alinean to develop the Universal Payments Benefits Estimator, a self-service website run tool to help prospects quickly understand the cost and business advantages of ACI’s solutions compared to legacy / current solutions. 

The tool helps prospects calculate in less than ten minutes the project implementation, maintenance, time to market and revenue benefits of ACI compared to the current solutions and practices. Credible results are delivered leveraging 3rd party Alinean and industry metrics and 3rd party vetted financial models, while providing drill-down into and edibility of key assumptions.

Sales also uses the tool in workshops with prospects, and back office to generate business case proposals proactively to help engage earlier and accelerate deals.

The tool is used to educate prospects on the value of ACI Universal Payments, helping to motivate stalled deals and accelerate decision cycles, and most importantly, to fuel demand-gen e-mails and other direct marketing programs. A guaranteed lead program assured ROI within the first few months after launch.

Dell Database Performance Management ROI Calculator

Dell wanted to provide its prospects with an easy way for them to quantify the opportunities for potential savings and business benefits with database monitoring solutions from Dell.

Dell turned to Alinean to create the Dell Database Performance Management ROI Calculator. Run by prospects self-service from Dell’s website and entering a few simple data points about their current database configuration and challenges, the tool provides a quick analysis as to how much the prospect could be benefiting with a database monitoring solution from Dell.

The tool is used to drive demand and create real sales opportunities for the database monitoring solution, providing the valuable, interactive, and provocative content needed to fuel email and on-line marketing campaigns.

WiPro VirtualDesk TCO Calculator

WiPro wanted to help prospects understand the costs of traditional desktop systems, and compare those costs to the potential lower total cost of ownership (TCO) and better business value of WiPro’s VirtualDesk solution.

WiPro turned to Alinean to create the TCO Calculator, calculating the TCO savings and ROI advantages of VirtualDesk for prospects.  Spending just a couple of minutes to specify a few simple inputs about the company and current desktop environment, the tool quantifies and compares the costs and business opportunities, delivering results in on-line tables, charts and graphs, and in a downloaded white paper TCO analysis report.

WiPro uses the self-service tool to help prospects gain knowledge and motivation around VirtualDesk opportunities and to create more advanced sales opportunities.

Infor Supply Chain Management Assessment

Today’s healthcare leaders need to have a better understanding of supply chain costs. Astute managers need to know how much they can save by integrating and automating their supply chains.

Infor wanted to provide an easy way for healthcare prospects to help them uncover challenges with their current supply chain management, and quantify how Infor Lawson Supply Chain Management for Healthcare could help eliminate much of the healthcare staff’s mundane paperwork, follow-up, and administrative duties and costs.

This tool was developed by Alinean for Infor Lawson in order to help identify and uncover current supply chain management challenges, and calculate the potential savings by implementing the Infor Lawson SCM solution.

Run as a self-service application from the corporate website, the tool is used by prospects, to self assess their opportunities and create a financial justification proposal, and sales reps, who use the tool early in the sales cycle to help prospects diagnose needs and justify making the project a priority.

Dell Client Cloud Computing TCO Calculator

Dell wanted to help prospects better understand the issues with cost, manageability and business limitations of traditional desktop environments, and how Dell VDI Desktop Virtualization could potentially reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) and deliver incremental business value by comparison.

Dell turned to Alinean to create the Dell Client Cloud Computing TCO Calculator, an online value-marketing tool run by prospects from to analyze their current desktop TCO and challenges, recommend the right Dell VDI solution, and quantify the TCO and business advantages of Dell. Analysis results were easily obtained by prospects in minutes and delivered graphically on-line and in a downloadable customized TCO analysis white paper.

The tool is used to fuel email and on-line marketing campaigns, helping to increase response rates, lead quality and lead conversion rates over traditional static ROI / TCO white paper deliverables.