Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Rise of the Value Management Office (VMO)?

B2B solution providers are realizing they need to do a better, more consistent and comprehensive job
of communicating and quantifying value to ever more frugal prospects.

However, most investments are spotty and most value programs are falling short.

Does this remind you of your organization?
  1. Your Marketing works hard to develop what they believe are effective value propositions, insights and messaging, all too often without enough sales and value consultant involvement. And then, they post black-box ROI calculators for customers to use on the corporate website.
  2. Your Sales enablement creates their own set of value presentations and tools, and these often don’t align with the marketing positioning and tools. Then, the sales tools are thrown over to sales reps and channel partners without enough education, certification and support to move the needle.
  3. Value Consulting is invited into the big deals, bringing their own twist on value engagements and business cases. Customized spreadsheets and reports are delivered which may or may not align with what the prospect already received from marketing and sales.
  4. Once the sale is made, too little effort is placed on assuring the value proposed is actually measured or delivered.  Value realization is an afterthought, or not measured at all.
  5. Product Groups seem like they are working in a vacuum, adding features and functions without regard to what customers actually view as valuable.
  6. And through the entire engagement process the Value Intelligence as to current prospect costs and true value delivery is squandered or locked in individual prospect records and sales / consulting spreadsheets.
Think about the duplicative spending from the islands of value messaging, tools and training, lack of leverage, and the ineffectiveness of disjointed approaches with prospects and customers.

Could this be why the #1 revenue growth challenge for B2B solution providers remains “the inability to effectively articulate unique value” for the fifth year in a row?

A cohesive, orchestrated and optimized approach is needed to get value marketing, selling and consulting right.

A New Center of Excellence - the VMO

To overcome this challenge, many leading B2Bs are turning to VMOs: the center of excellence aligning value marketing, selling and consulting, - with the mission of proposing, proving and improving value to customers.

The goal of these VMOs? To centralize best practices, tools, insights and databases, in order to provide much needed rules, guidance, standardization and governance and drive better efficiency and effectiveness in value investments.

Without a centralized office, it is difficult to assure that value is implemented cross functionally, and delivered consistently throughout the buyer’s journey. The VMO can help drive the approach across groups and throughout the journey:
  1. Value Marketing – helping to develop and deliver value messaging frameworks, insights / benchmarks, go-to-market content (like challenge / value infographics) and tools (like cost of “do nothing” and ROI calculators).
  2. Value Selling – Driving the development and delivery of sales-ready value messaging, presentations, storytelling, quantification and proposals, assuring sales reps and channel partners have the right tools, processes and education / certification.
  3. Value Consulting – providing standards, engagement practices and tools for pre-sale financial justification / business case proposals, post-sale value realization, and value intelligence benchmarks and databases.
  4. Value Product - gaining a better understanding of the priority challenges and value customers want most / actually derive, to help prioritize evolution and innovation.
Most often the VMO is born from Value Consulting or Sales Enablement, but regardless of the catalyst for the group’s creation, should consist of a cross functional team of Product, Marketing, Sales Enablement and Business Value Consultant / Engineering team members, working together to drive the programs, practices and deliverables. As well, the VMO should gather and promote executive directive and support.

Some of the tangible benefits VMOs help organizations realize include:
  1. Consolidation of dozens of different, inconsistent and less than effective value messaging, presentations, tools, contractors and programs, helping to reduce duplicative internal efforts and leverage strategic sourcing from 3rd party collaborators.
  2. Increased Speed and Agility, leveraging standards frameworks and collaborative, additive efforts to accelerate programs from a common metrics, knowledge and practice base.
  3. Transition and Adoption, a collective effort from different groups in all customer communications to drive product to value.
So, does your organization have a VMO or are you considering one?  
If you want to hit proposed growth goals, now might be the perfect time.


Learn more about the importance of a Value Management Office and best practices in the book: Frugalnomics Survival Guide - How to Use Your Unique Value to Market Better, Stand Out and Sell More 

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Importance of Getting Value Marketing and Selling Right

Checkout this new video about the #1 revenue growth challenge over the past five years, and why we need a better, more comprehensive approach to get value marketing and selling right.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Three Challenges that will Impact Your 2016 IT Sales and Marketing Plans

If you are in IT sales and marketing, there are three significant challenges of which you should be well aware when setting up your budgets and plans for 2016.

IT Spending on the Decline?
First, Gartner announced mid-summer that IT spending is on the decline. A predicted anemic increase in IT spending at the beginning of 2015 has now been replaced with a 5.5% decline (compared to a paltry 1.6% growth in 2014).

Although Gartner blamed the decline on a rising dollar, we don’t buy it and have seen where prior forecast declines by Gartner were actually blamed on a declining dollar!

The real reason: We are in the era of Frugalnomics, so despite the rising importance of technology, do more with less is the mantra and Cloud / Service models are reshaping the spending landscape.

For you, an already price sensitive and competitive marketplace could get dramatically more so over the next 12 months and beyond, especially if you are in one of  five key technologies that will be most constrained:
  1. Communications Services – Taking the biggest hit, a move to subscription services, price erosion and competition in communication services are combining for an expected 7.2% annual decline.
  2. Devices – PC and tablet sales are struggling, with smartphone spending and a Windows 10 upgrade cycle unlikely to make up for the expected 5.7% annual spending decline.
  3. IT Services –Despite increases in business /technology complexities and the need shrinkage, a big reason why several service providers have announced significant headcount reductions.
  4. Data Center Infrastructure – storage and networking are expected to decline a significant 3.8% YoY, with decision makers postponing upgrades and extending lifecycles for on-premise infrastructure as they figure out their cloud / hybrid strategies. One bright spot is mainframes, benefiting from delayed refreshes during the recession and new product introductions.
  5. Enterprise Software – Although productivity / process improvements from software remain an important investment priority, big software purchases are being replaced with SaaS, and despite a healthy number of transactions, spending is declining 1.2% YoY, with significant pricing pressure.
Regardless of whether you are marketing / selling one of these five technologies or something different, there is a tangible impact to your from IT spending constraints:
  • Buyers are now more than ever sticking with status quo versus considering new proposals.
  • Personal risk is higher than ever, making emotions and trust more significant decision drivers
  • More projects will be unbudgeted, so a stronger business case will be needed to convince frugal buyers that the project is a priority and the solution is low risk / high reward.
Is your content ready to help convince buyers that the challenges you address are investment worthy in a constrained spending environment?

Are your sales reps / channel partner sable to  emotionally, logically and credibly convince more frugal buyers to allocate shrinking budgets for your solutions over other projects? Can they defend you selection and price against competitors and discounts?


More Stakeholders in Every Decision
Second, there are more stakeholders involved in every decision. IDC indicates that the number of stakeholders has dramatically increased 43% over the past three years, Now, more than 8 are involved a typical technology decision. If your proposals are more than $500k, you now average 10 stakeholders per decision.

More stakeholders several significant challenges for your content, sales conversations and proposals:
  • Each stakeholder has a unique point of value, making it difficult for one-size-fits all approach to resonate with what is important and will motivate / convince each decision maker.
  • It is difficult to reach each stakeholder directly, so your presentations and proposals often need to do the selling for you.
  • Sales reps and channel partners have to identify and turn the key stakeholders they are able to meet with into influencers and convincers within the organization.
Is your content personalized to articulate your unique value to each stakeholder?

Are your sales reps and channel partners arming influencers with the right conversations, storytelling and proposals to communicate and quantify your value in proxy?


IT Spend No Longer Controlled by IT
Finally, we are at a significant turning point where IT spend is no longer controlled by IT. Last year, IDC reported that 48% of IT spending was controlled or influenced by the business (IDC). In 2015, the trend for business unit control has accelerated, with business leaders and their reports for the first time in history in control of the majority of IT decision-making.

And this trend is only accelerating, with Gartner predicting that by 2020, business units could control or influence as much as 90% of technology purchase decisions!

The risks?

1.     What is valuable to business and financial buyers is not the same as what matters most to technical buyers.

2.     Most marketers and sellers aren’t reaching the business buyers who are now sparking demand and purchase cycles.

3.     And when the business buyer is engaged, most sales reps and channel partners are not having the right conversations, and the traditional technology buyer centric content they are using isn’t helping reshape the business engagement.

So how well does your content, sales reps and channel partners speak the language of business and articulate your unique business value to a completely different breed of decision makers and budget holders?

The Bottom-Line

If you are in IT sales and marketing, these can be challenging times, but with change comes disruption, and an opportunity for the savvy to capitalize.

The research is clearly indicating significant shifts:
  1. IT spending is on the decline
  2. More stakeholders are involved in each purchase decision
  3. Business units are now in control of the majority of technology spending.

And therein is a significant opportunity, for you to evolve your 2016 strategy to take advantage of these shifts The key is to reshape your content, conversations and proposals to be more effective in this constrained, complex and frugal environment:
  1. Target the status quo – developing the right value messaging, insights, storytelling to illuminate challenges with business-as-usual and the cost of “do nothing”.
  2. Communicate to the business buyer - targeting and engaging in the language of business stakeholders, aligning with the unique “point of value “ of not only technical, but the ever growing power of business and financial stakeholders.
  3. Fuel value conversations – communicating and quantifying the cost of “do nothing” and your unique value to ever more skeptical and frugal decision makers.   

For a complete roadmap on how to best handle these trends, check out the: Frugalnomics Survival Guide - - How to Use Your Unique Value to Market Better, Stand Out and Sell More


Sources: 



Frugalnomics In Effect: Gartner Predicts 5.5% Decline in IT Spending for 2015 - http://blog.alinean.com/2015/07/frugalnomics-in-effect-gartner-predicts.html

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Growing Value: The Value Selling and Realization Summit

Did you know ….
  • Over 95% of B2B buyers demand proof that you’ll deliver value, demanding financial justification / ROI quantification prior to purchase approval (IDC)
  • Yet, only 7% of buyers see your content and sales reps as value-focused (The Economist).
There is a decided Value Gap between the approach buyers want you to have, and what most B2B vendors are delivering.

So how do you best evolve from empty product pitches to a more effective value selling approach?

Join us Feb 29 – Mar 1 2016 for the Value Selling and Realization Summit in Dallas TX, a gathering of leading analysts, value consultants / engineers, product marketers, sales enablement professionals and value selling solution providers, meeting for the first time to share research, best practices and experiences in order to bridge this Value Gap and Grow Value.

Featured analysts include: Jim Ninivaggi (SiriusDecisions), Joe Galvin (CSO Insights / MHI Global), Scott Santucci (Alexander Group / Forrester), Bill Kirwin (Gartner / Father of TCO), Randy Perry (IDC) and our own Tom Pisello (the ROI Guy / ex-Gartner).

Featured value experts include: John Foster (salesforce.com), David Breaugh (SAP), Cheik Daddah and Scott Sendel (Oracle), Michael Mitterer (IBM), Doug May (Splunk), and Jack Keen (Author / ROI Institute).