Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Is Marketing and Selling Your Technology Solutions to IT Execs a Losing Proposition?

If you are marketing and selling technology solutions to IT executives, this article is for you, and essential to your 2014 sales and marketing plans.

The share of technology decisions made by IT is at an all time low, this according to IDC research, which indicates that business buyers now fund 61% of all technology spending.

According to the IDC IT Buyer Experience Survey of 194 worldwide organizations, Business Buyers now exert 48% of the influence over the technology buying process. Technical Buyers influence is waning, with a 31% share, while the influence of Financial Buyers has increased as well, now constituting a 15% share.

So who are you currently selling and marketing to? If it’s primarily the Technical Buyer, you may be barking up the wrong tree.

The key to success over the next year could mean reshaping your “conversations” to focus much more on Business Buyers, now funding the majority of the spending, versus your primarily Technical Buyer approach today.

So what are you doing now to address the significant technical to business decision-making shift?


IDC's 2013 IT Buyer Experience Survey, IDC #242608, September 2013
Creating the Technology-Imbued Business, IDC #241835, June 2013

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

On-Demand: ValueStory: Leveraging Storytelling + Justification to Drive More Sales

Recording and deck from webcast on December 17th about our new ValueStory guided selling

Provides an overview of the need for evolving sales by guiding better value storytelling, delivering unique insights and providing financial justification.

Illustrates in detail how ValueStory can help transform your sales effectiveness, showing how it can be used step by step to reshape every sales conversation into an insightful, provocative value-added engagement.

Reviews different elements of the ValueStory including intelligently guided selling, visual storytelling, dynamic insights (surveys, assessments and mix), financial justification (ROI / TCO), tailoring and dynamic whiteboarding.

Click to view the deck:

Click to hear the recorded session:

On-Demand: Leveraging Value Marketing Tools to Generate More Leads / Sales Ready Opportunities

This webcast was conducted on December 5th, and provides a great overview of why traditional white
papers may fall short in helping you achieve your 2014 new lead / sales opportunity goals, and why you need to have Interactive White Papers and Benefits Estimators as an essential part of your game plan.

Click to download the deck:

Click to review the recorded session:

Friday, December 13, 2013

Two Thirds Adding More Sales Reps in 2014. Will This Deliver Revenue Growth?

As cost cutting has run its course in order to produce results on Wall Street, companies are turning to top line growth to improve company value. Revenue growth is a requirement, and the primary strategy Sales Execs are executing to grow in 2014 is to add more sales reps.

New research from Qvidian indicates that 2/3rds of companies surveyed expect to grow their sales teams in 2014, with most indicating headcount growth between 10-30% next year.

But will the new additions result in revenue growth? The risks are high.

On average, Qvidian indicates that it typically takes between 7-12 months to get new sales reps to reach effectiveness. However, in more complex selling environments, Forrester’s Scott Santucci says it can take much longer, as much as 36 months to achieve effectiveness,  particularly for technology / business service sales reps.
With such long ramp up times, the anticipated revenue growth may take longer than most execs expect.
So how can ramp up occur more quickly? According to research by SiriusDecisions, the main barrier to achieving quota goals is not too few leads, lack of training, or product knowledge, but the inability for Sales Reps to communicate the value your solutions provide.
Adding reps in 2014 to grow? If so, how are you planning to  overcome this ramp-up gap - improving your new reps ability to effectively communicate and quantify your value to ever more frugal prospects?

Check out the Qvidian research on Sales Execution Trends (registration required) -

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Are you ready for even more decision makers per deal in 2014?

Research indicates that there are now over 8 people involved in the average B2B purchase decision.
On average, the buying teams have expanded by an additional person in each of the past two years, a 43% increase compared to three years ago according to the latest 2013 IDC Buyer’s Experience Survey.
And as purchases get larger, even more people become involved in the decision. The research says that for proposals above $500k, there are over 10 stakeholders scrutinizing the decision.
And it’s not only the increase in people involved that is driving complexity. The diversity of interests in those involved has increased dramatically as well. 
As we survey our customers, we find that content marketing and sales conversations need to connect, engage and sell to a wider range of interests, each with unique challenges and perception as to the value your solution can provide.
  • For business services, you not only have to appeal to the business leader, but provide a solid business case to the CFO and defend pricing to procurement.
  • If you sell healthcare solutions, you not only have to influence practitioners with the technical merits of your solution, but also have to clearly communicate your bottom-line value to administrators and operations.
  • If you are in technology sales, IDC reports that over 61% of all spend is now funded by business buyers, as well as gated by finance, so you have to communicate and quantify your value to the business as well as deliver CFO-ready business cases to gain approval.

With more buyers involved, deals are indeed more complex. Technical, financial and business roles all are participating actively, and all have different Points of Value - their perspective of the challenges and pain, the impact of the proposed solutions, and the value derived.

As you look to 2014, we suggest injecting some critical questions in your planning content marketing and sales tool process:
  • Is your marketing content designed to deliver the relevant insights and value for each stakeholder?
  • What about the ability for your sales reps and channel partners to have relevant value conversations with each stakeholder,
  • Does sales arm the customer’s champion to communicate the relevant value internally and with a business case for CFO / procurement approval (as you likely won’t get an audience with all stakeholders)?