Value Heroics: Marvin Heery, Alton Dinsmore & John Poparad – Heroics Happen on Both Sides of a Sale

superhero flying in sky

Throughout the summer, DecisionLink is honoring the Value Heroes of organizations as a part of “Value Heroes: A Summer of Recognition.” We are sharing Value Hero stories on our blog of the leading influencers in value management, which were submitted by the value heroes themselves or by the sales professionals that they have supported. Our celebration of Value Heroes concludes on August 13 with our “Value Heroes Summit,” a town hall, virtual forum where value and sales professionals can connect, share stories and best practices and engage with like-minded professionals.


Value Heroes: Marvin Heery, Alton Dinsmore & John Poparad
Submitted by their Colleague: Jim Berryhill

How important are business cases to sales cycles?

Buyers have them 100% of the time. Sellers have them when they want the BEST POSSIBLE OUTCOMES FOR THEIR SELLING EFFORTS.

I was fortunate to learn this very early in my career.

In 1983, I was a sales rep for Applied Data Research (ADR) and worked with a team at Arnold Air Force Station in Tullahoma, Tennessee. The project involving our Datacom DBMS and IDEAL, a ground-breaking new 4th gen application development solution. Our products gave IT the ability to develop apps more rapidly, manage their data better, enable end-users to do their own querying and reporting, and more.

Along the way, we put together a justification (now we would call it a ‘business value assessment’ or ‘business case’) based on a half-dozen applications that would be delivered faster, for less cost, etc. We got funding and I closed a $500,000 deal, which represented 50% of my quota and was considered a really big deal back then.

Here’s how important the business case was: A few months later, I went to a reception at AAFS and met the Lieutenant Colonel who was commander of the base. He taught me one of the most important lessons I ever received when he said:

“Son, there were projects we preferred over yours. However, when crunch time came, your business case was well prepared, and we knew it would ‘pass muster’ where others were not. So you got funded.”

The Value Heroes of the story were Marvin Heery and Alton Dinsmore, superstar SEs at ADR who made our solutions fly, and John Poparad, a civilian contractor working for the Air Force. Absolutely critical, the customer is always a part of the “Hero Team”. I lost track of John a long time ago. Alton is now a Senior Solutions Architect at Equalum. Marvin, recently deceased, was affectionately known as “Marvelous Marvin” at ADR and CA. I’ll have another article about Marvin later in the Heroes campaign.


To read the full story along with a list of can’t miss lessons learned about value, I posted an article about this sale. You can see my previous post on LinkedIn: