The 80/20 Rule in Sales Persists

Those of us who have been researching, advising on, managing B2B sales for many years know this statistic almost as a constant – the 80/20 rule. The rule quite simply states:

20% of the sales team brings in 80% of the company’s business, the rest will struggle to meet their quotas.

In a recent study, Dimensional Research asked 200+ SaaS Sales leaders about the performance of their organization, 78% of the leaders said that at least half of their sales teams will not achieve their quota.

 

THE MISSING CONNECTION

What is the key skill differentiation between these top performers and the underachievers, you ask?

Well, a common answer in the same Dimensional Research study was that reps who are failing often lack an understanding of the customer’s strategic goals. This could be due to lack of training or preparation, the sheer volume of calls to different accounts required of the seller, or even a lack of general business knowledge or experience. But the outcome of this shortfall is serious. If a salesperson cannot connect the value their company delivers to their buyer’s initiatives and priorities, then the buyer is not encouraged to make a decision.

The result? Either the next seller who does bridge this gap will win the project, or the project will itself die as business initiative. Remember, most deals are not lost to the competition, they are lost to companies who chose to “do nothing”.

So, what is this connection? It is about a seller being able to discuss the concept of value (i.e. convincing a buyer – in THEIR metrics – that it is worthwhile) to proceed the planned investment. Buyers always have financial metrics to report and most business purchase decisions are supported by some sort of financial analysis and forecast, using financial instruments such as: Return-on-Investment (ROI); Total Cost of Ownership (TCO); Internal Rate of Return (IRR); Payback Period; and Net Present Value (NPV). But it isn’t only a numbers game. Buyers now expect to be engaged in a conversation that demonstrates empathy, focuses on their business issues and priorities, and is not a product pitch.

This is a challenge that will expand in the future as buyers and sellers become even more accustomed to virtual interactions—where buyers will spend less time listening to sellers; and sales efforts will increasingly be led by an Inside Sales team with even more productivity pressure.

 

THE CONNECTION BECOMES CONTINUOUS

Some sales teams have value consulting resources to assist in calculating the economic value their products can deliver and provide those ROI/TCO/TCO/IRR/NPV numbers, but these are usually limited, labor-intensive resources and they are often dedicated to the most strategic sales cycles – ironically, helping the 20% of the sales team excel even more. However, most of that assistance is focused on the initial investment approval as a one-off analysis.

As businesses become more accustomed to the as-a-service model and contracts are up for renewal every year, companies are beginning to expect this level of analysis to be an ongoing, continuous assessment of financial returns. These subscription models are much better for customers and probably create more healthy providers but only if they are focused on customer success and delivering customer value on a continuous basis.

 

HELPING THE LONG TAIL

So, the 80%, the long tail of sales organizations, will continue to need help in 2021. In fact, they need more of it. They can continue to be provided with training, sales scripts and cheat sheets to improve their presentations, but based on this ongoing trend, relying solely on these tactics isn’t enough to solve the problem.

SaaS is, by design, easily measured and monitored and can therefore also provide important data about usage and other important business outcomes. Setting up a value management collection and reporting system is now possible in most cases without custom programming and extensive investments. This means that value analysis can be offered by businesses of all sizes. The ability for sales teams to generate value analysis in a self-service format enables the entire organization – putting value selling capabilities in the hands of every rep, both the quota achievers and those struggling.

In our whitepaper 2021 Predictions for Sales Leaders: THE YEAR OF VALUE, we discuss how the 80% will get more help from such a system. A sales enablement platform that supports an easy, self-service way to quantify and articulate the value the vendor provides, not just at the initial purchase but throughout the project lifecycle or even the customer lifetime. One that empowers all sellers to ensure their conversations are focused on outcomes and results. A system that can even trigger a customer-facing employee to communicate proactively with customers to provide a conversation centered on achieved value. This enables ‘value’ and ‘outcomes’ to be a powerful new lever that scales across the organization to empower every member of the team.

 

“Are we there yet?”

By David Brock

David Brock is the Author of “Sales Manager Survival Guide,” CEO of Partners in EXCELLENCE and is a ruthless pragmatist. View David’s original post and read more of his work on his blog, Partners in EXCELLENCE, here.
—-

Recently, I was on a road trip. I knew where I needed to end up and what time I had to be there. Before leaving, I looked at Google Maps, got a rough idea of how to go and how much time I should allow. I sent the destination to my car so the navigation system could guide me on the best route.

I was a little worried, I saw there was some construction, and the weather report said there might be snow over the mountains. So, I added a little extra time to make sure I reached my destination on time.
Fortunately, I had a colleague with me. He’d been to the client we were visiting quite a bit before.

As you might guess, halfway there, we started running into obstacles. The snow was slowing things down, I thought we were OK, fortunately I had allowed some buffer time. Then, about 30 miles from our destination, we ran into road construction. My navigation system quickly started redirecting me–unfortunately, we went right into traffic. I was worried, the system was estimating our arrival about 15 minutes late.

My colleague, jumped in, “Dave, I’ve done this drive dozens of times. Let me redirect you, we will get to the meeting with plenty of time to spare.” I started following his directions (you can imagine how the navigation system was reacting, it spent most of its time recalculating our route.)

Following his directions, we made it to our meeting with about 10 minutes to spare. If I had followed the navigation system, we most likely would have been late.

If you think of that trip, it’s a lot like our customer’s buying journeys. They know where they want to end up. They know when they need to be there. They may have some tools to help them navigate that buying journey.

But things happen.

They’ve never done this before. They encounter obstacles, so they try to navigate around them. But because they haven’t done this before, or recently, they may get lost. They may take very long, circuitous routes, perhaps getting even more lost. Or, if they see great difficulty in getting to their destination, they may just stop.

Salespeople can help customers navigate their buying journey–much like my colleague helped us reach our destination on time. Like my colleague, salespeople have been on this journey and reached the destination before with other customers.

Salespeople know how to get around the obstacles. They know the most efficient routes to reach the destination. They helped hundreds of customers navigate similar journeys before.
What leadership are you providing to help your customer navigate their buying journey?

The Chief Revenue Officer in 2021 and the Pendulum Swing

As a former Chief Revenue Officer, with responsibilities for the Canadian subsidiary of CA technologies, I had oversight over all go-to-market activities; specifically these included: field marketing, sales (including all indirect channels) and customer relationship management, with a dotted line reporting coming in from professional services.  My primary goals always centred around three key pillars, 1) customer acquisition, 2) customer retention and 3) customer expansion.

For a few years, this model worked great, and it helped our team double CA Canada’s revenue, in just a little over 3 years. I had P&L responsibilities and specific sales targets, customer satisfaction survey targets and renewal targets.  The renewal targets were set at achieving 110% of prior year’s run rates within our strategic accounts. It was a great 3 years, and we had fun working together as a tightly-knit cross-functional team, all focused on individual goals, as well as the overall Canadian target.

Later in the decade things changed dramatically on several levels:

  • New sales and marketing tools were introduced as well as new selling methodologies.
  • Sales was broken into 2 major elements: 
    • Sales Specialists who focused on winning the “market”.  They were absorbed into the product team groups and focused on very tactical “feature/function” selling
    • Account Director roles who focused on winning the “account” and focused on the relationships, and they reported into area heads (like me)
  • The Customer Relationship Management function was dissolved, and the folks remaining became “renewal specialists” focused purely on renewals with no focus on adoption, customer care or education.

Overall, things became disaggregated and matrixed, and that overall sense of account centricity and accountability for customers seemed to fade.  We seemed to be more focused on our org charts and respective P&L’s than the customer experience and driving deeper relationships.

About halfway through that fiscal year, I picked up GM responsibilities for approximately 13 states in the Western US region, but things had changed significantly, and shortly thereafter I decided to move to start a new adventure in marketing.  The GM role just wasn’t the same, and we didn’t seem focused on customers.

Fast forward to today (16 years later), and I feel like the pendulum has swung again.

Today, companies are focused on a unifying metric that I felt strongly about when I ran a revenue operation – “Customer Lifetime Value” (CLV).

CLV is so much more interesting and important than just that initial sales win, it gets into the value that can be generated from a client over a period of time; it encourages a unified approach and puts customers back at the centre of everything. In other words, from attracting, to engaging, to winning, to retaining, to expanding, a CLV approach translates to much more value to shareholders/investors than just that initial sale. 

To do this, enterprises are enlisting the help of sales “superheroes” who really understand the full continuum and drive towards commercial excellence versus just beating people up at the end of a month for their forecast. I feel like I’ve died and gone to heaven seeing businesses rotate back into a customer-centric mentality.

Maybe I was an egocentric, control freak back in the days of running CA Canada, wanting all the pieces of the puzzle to manage to… but I don’t think so.  I truly believe I wanted what was best for our clients, and felt we could do that together as a team, with one central point of accountability…me, the general manager versus 6 disparate P&L holders off in product land or services land or marketing land. The “glue” was needed.

In terms of the new tools that were introduced by these disparate groups, like CRM, marketing automation, PLM and customer success tools, my opinion is that we’ve come a long way in integrating them technologically – but there’s still a missing link to all of them and that is real data on true customer value. 

For example, when we have a new opportunity, we still seem to run around the organization looking for customer case studies or business case examples for RFP responses, and we still scramble to determine how much value a customer is really getting from us so we can have an upper hand at renewal time and don’t get hosed by a savvy procurement manager.

It’s time that in addition to pulling things together under the CRO and being focused on customer lifetime value, we must have a way to measure that value and have it omnipresent in all our systems and at our fingertips when we need it. Only then will all of these systems truly deliver on their promise; for instance: 

  • CRM systems that understand the value delivered to a customer, 
  • a marketing automation system that can integrate value into email campaigns and case studies, 
  • customer success tools that measure adoption levels and commensurate value realized. 
  • And PLM systems that capture value from various customers to help with product pricing and packaging in the future.

So, my take on what we’ll see happening in the CRO seat in 2021 is:

  1. CROs that own from customer acquisition to renewal to expansion is back in vogue and will be responsible for marketing, sales and customer success teams accordingly. 
  2. More and more CROs will be measured on Customer Lifetime Value
  3. A true enterprise-class Value Management function or platform will be leveraged by most people in the commercial value chain and value will become an enterprise-wide strategic asset.

Joanne Moretti, CMO DecisionLink

In Memory of Jake Berryhill, From His Friends and Colleagues

There are not enough words to express the loss and sadness we feel over the death of our dear friend and colleague, Jake Berryhill. The news of his passing changed each of our lives and the hole his death leaves in our hearts is insurmountable. As we reflect on the precious time that we were given with Jake, there are a few key traits that we will always remember him for:

Jake was a jack of all trades – master of all. Whether it was helping with finance, sales, product, marketing or customer relations, Jake knew every nook and cranny of this business and was always willing to lend a helping hand. He was always willing to share his knowledge, whether it was leading onboarding, training on the product demo or helping to resolve an invoicing issue. And he always did it was a smile on his face. This is a testament to the kind of teammate Jake was – always willing to help and support.

One of the greatest honors we have had as Jake’s colleagues is watching him excel and grow in his role as an Account Executive. His passion for the company vision, the product and DecisionLink’s future was inspiring. His updates on Team Huddles and weekly sales reviews motivated everyone to be better. His desire for companies all over the world to understand the true impact that ValueCloud® could bring to their business was one of the greatest sources of inspiration for every team member. Jake was a phenomenal salesperson. From DecisionLink’s early days when the product was a skeleton of what we know today, Jake set the bar for expectations and he defined “success” within our business. We will do many great things together, and many records will be made and broken, but there will never be another “First Million Dollar Sales Rep” at DecisionLink. That is Jake’s, and his forever. We know Jake will be watching from above and expects us to keep up the momentum that he set for us.

Above all else, and what Jake will be most remembered for, was how incredible he was as a person. At his core, he cared for everyone – whether it was a customer, prospect, colleague or stranger. Jake was always eager to help, no matter how small or large the task. His love and support for others is unrivaled, and we know he inherited this from his wonderful parents, Jim and Elise. Jake never hesitated to give a compliment or to tell someone how much they meant to him. Jake was a friend to all, and we will never forget the impact he made on our lives.

We don’t need to wonder where these traits came from. Jake was blessed to have the greatest career coach for 33 wonderful years, his father. Jim, Jake inherited your spirit of servant leadership. He understood that in order for DecisionLink to achieve its greatest potential, he needed to listen, trust and coach. Like yours, his work ethic was founded on hard work and diligence. Your common traits are what make DecisionLink an amazing company and what will make it successful in the long-term.

To the entire Berryhill family – Jim, Elise, Jenni, Paul, Annie, Margaret and Georgia: We will never be able to fill the hole that Jake has left in your hearts. But we intend to honor his legacy every single day. We promise to carry on each of Jake’s outstanding traits. DecisionLink has an incredibly bright future ahead – many thanks to Jake – and we intend to pick up his torch and carry it with us always as we build the next great software company in his honor.

Don’t Get Distracted by What You Sell!

By David Brock

David Brock is the Author of “Sales Manager Survival Guide,” CEO of Partners in EXCELLENCE and is a ruthless pragmatist. View David’s original post and read more of his work on his blog, Partners in EXCELLENCE, here.

——

I was having a conversation with a very good salesperson. We were speaking about a very competitive, difficult deal.

The conversation started with “value.” I asked questions about what the customer was trying to do, the results they expected, and the business impact. The salesperson answered some of my questions about what the customer was trying to do—-but the conversation started getting diverted.

He started talking about what he was selling–and what he thought the customer was buying. Then he started talking about pricing strategy–both in terms of what they would be proposing to the customer, their reaction to the “premium pricing,” and the competitive response.

“We’re going to be $X more than the competition!”

As we dove into the situation, he was less worried about the competition, their solution wasn’t as strong and the customer had a preference for my client’s solution. He said, “They just don’t think they should be paying this much for our product. I think they are using the competition as leverage to get us to reduce the price.”

In my inimitable way, I asked the confusing question, “What are they buying?” Fortunately, the salesperson was patient, recognizing I’m slow. He replied, “They are buying [he named his product].”

In that statement, we reached the core issue–both with buyers and sellers.

We get so caught up in the activities around buying and selling, we forget what the customer is trying to do, why it’s important, and the consequences of not buying.

It’s this serendipitous loop, we focus on selling our products and the customer adjusts their behavior to buying our product. The process becomes what they are buying, not what they are trying to achieve.

(Yeah, I know I’m talking about buyers not buying a drill but needing to have a hole in the wall….)

We started talking about what they were trying to do, we talked about why it was important, the expected results, the consequences of doing nothing. It turned out the results the customer would achieve with the solution my customer was selling was over 100 times the costs of the solution (the price, plus implementation).

“Can the customer achieve the same results without doing anything? Can the customer achieve the same results with another solution?”

As we discussed this, the salesperson realized those results were important to the customer–they couldn’t/shouldn’t settle for less. He also recognized they couldn’t not take action.

He went to the customer refocusing the discussion on what they were trying to do. He revalidated the importance of this to them. They discussed the fact that doing nothing was not an option.

They discussed alternatives and the results each would produce. The customer confirmed that my client’s solution was the one they really needed.

Price never came up again. The focus of the conversation shifted from the product to what the customer wanted to achieve, and how my client would ensure they could achieve it.

As sales people, we lose sight of what our customers are trying to do, and why they are trying to do it. Too often, we don’t take the time to learn that, instead we focus on what we are selling and how much it costs.

Our customers get sucked into the same trap. At some point in their buying process, they focus on what we and our competitors are selling and how much it costs. And we reinforce that behavior because that’s what we want to talk about.

Selling–and buying is much easier when we focus on what the customer is trying to achieve, why, and it’s impact. The value the customer is looking for is not the product we sell and they buy, or it’s cost. It’s what it enables them to do.

——

Download the eBook “Unleashing Customer Value: Your Guide to Agile Value Management,” the first Book of its kind to outline how to bridge the expectations gap between buyers and sellers. This complete guide to value management shares best practices, reusable frameworks, and lessons learned from experts with 20+ years of experience in the field.

Your Value Proposition Must Be More Valuable Now!

David Brock

David Brock is the Author of “Sales Manager Survival Guide,” CEO of Partners in EXCELLENCE and is a ruthless pragmatist. View David’s original post and read more of his work on his blog, Partners in EXCELLENCE, here.

—-

Creating value with our customers has never been more important than it is now. Our customers face issues they have, probably, never had to deal with in the past. The safety of their people, restrictions on how they operate, profound shifts in their markets and with their customers, possible supply chain management issues, and the list goes on.

Some customers are in areas critical to our current health and economic crises, they are struggling to respond to critical needs from their customers. Some are struggling to be important to their customers. Some are restricted in their ability to do business, for example, hospitality, travel, and many small businesses.

Our customers, as are we, are struggling – individually and organizationally. Their jobs, their businesses, their markets are all disrupted. They are focused on those things most critical to what they face now.

As a result, our value propositions must be sharper and more focused than in the past. We, not only, have to present business justified solutions, but we must present our value in the context of what’s most important to them now.

Some things we have to be focused on:

  1. Our solutions and value will no longer just be evaluated against alternatives. Our solutions will be evaluated against all other things the organization is considering. For example, projects in other parts of the business will be competing with our solutions. Alternatively, people’s jobs may be impacted. Decisions will be made based on what is most critical to the company now.
  2. Time to results becomes more critical than it has been in the past. Time to results is always important, but those things that accelerate the ability for the customer to achieve the desired outcomes are critical.
  3. Risk is critical, but risk in the context of today’s crises may be very different than “business as usual” risks. Can they even make things happen, given current restrictions and market circumstances?
  4. Customer implementation risks/challenges. Can the customer even implement the solution? Given the WFH environment many companies are in, physical proximity, and other challenges, have we helped to enable the customer to implement the solution under current circumstances?
  5. Personal risk and value. Traditionally, we’ve always looked at value propositions in the context of the impact on the organization or enterprise. Too often, we fail to recognize the risk/value to those making the decision and implementing the solution. In the best of times, people can lose their jobs if they make a poor decision. Today, people face heightened anxieties. We must make sure we help them understand the value of our solutions in the face of their concerns right now.
  6. Can we deliver on our commitments? Many companies face huge supply chain challenges. Others have solutions that require people to work in close proximity. Just like our customers face restrictions in what they can get done, so do we. Making sure that we can deliver on what the customer is buying in the time period they expect is critical to their success and ours.

Customers are buying, but they are only buying solutions that address their highest priorities for the business and individually. If we aren’t building value in the context of their new priorities, we are wasting both their time and ours.

Do you Have Blind Spots in Your Renewal Strategy?

By Peter O’Neill, Independent B2B Marketing Analyst

This new decade will see a dramatic increase in the deployment of Customer Success programs. Success – not Service – meaning businesses being proactive about their customers’ projects, as opposed to being merely reactive to customers with problems, like submitting support tickets, sending emails, or complaining on social media.

SaaS Providers Realize The Importance of Renewal Success

Why? Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers, especially, know that profitable growth depends greatly on the fullest possible adoption of their solutions in each customer project. While great customer service might mean that they earn a 100% renewal-rate across the customer base in one year, most SaaS executives know that is not enough. Nor is it realistic because there is always some churn from external factors such as M&A, economic downturns, or staff changes. Companies need to earn more each year from existing customers: to cover the churn, finance R&D, and to pay the cost-of-sales of winning new customers in a very competitive environment. The current status in the SaaS industry is that “net retention is a critical figure: if you’re at ~106% you’re in line with the average, if you’re below 100% do a little work to figure out what’s happening, and if you’re ~120%+, you’re in great company.” (see – https://about.crunchbase.com/blog/net-dollar-retention/).

So they are all investing heavily in customer success programs (in the form of onboarding and implementation services) and there is a focus on new executive-KPIs like Customer Lifetime Value or specifically Net Dollar Retention Rate. Of course, they cannot apply the same resources to all customers. Most use tiered structures that balance people, resources, and technology. Many have three tiers of programs: the lowest level is mostly automated (e.g., online self-service) while the highest level involves more consultative outreach from customer success managers. And even Sales success metrics are moving away from just pure selling – many sales executives are now being measured on reduced churn rates, i.e. customer retention and expansion.  Again, renewal at 100% of existing run rate is not viewed as a win; to exponentially improve profits, 120% renewal-rate now the new bar.

Customers Have Also Learned How to Renew

Buyers are also beginning to realize the importance of those renewal meetings. Often, a SaaS subscription was purchased by an empowered individual-contributor out of their expense budget. IT or procurement was only involved when the renewal phase was reached, and their considerations are usually different than the original buyer (support, integration with other systems, security). These negotiators have their own agenda, such as a strategic sourcing strategy, which may not include the SaaS provider in question.

Renewal negotiation has moved from a “shall we continue the project?” discussion to an almost full-blown re-evaluation of the initial investment decision. Compliance guidance – or just good procurement management practice – is pushing buyers to evaluate a new shortlist in the renewal phase and each additional user group or functionality is treated as a brand-new project.

Chief Financial Officers are increasingly turning their attention to SaaS expenditures and ask questions about return on investment (ROI), business outcomes, and revenue contribution. Most importantly, they are asking the SaaS users and their provider to demonstrate that the solution delivers quantifiable value to their company.

Enter Value Management

Financial justification tools have been promoted for decades by technology vendors/providers to accelerate their own sales process and help document a need to invest. The tools were typically only used for the business case appendix and it was hardly ever validated post-sale. An ROI calculation served as a one-off forecast consolidating capital investment, perhaps running expenses and increased revenues and/or decreased costs.

One consequence of an “as-a-service” investment is that the value must be monitored continually because usage and deployment of the service will fluctuate over time. So, ROI is no longer a one-off forecast based upon estimates and assumptions, it must be modelled and set up in a system that is able to collect actual data and provide ongoing reporting.

With on-premise software, it has always been difficult to track the ongoing expenses, revenues, and costs. SaaS is, by design, more easily measured and monitored than on-premise software, including value-relevant data about usage and relevant business outcomes. Setting up a value management collection and reporting system is therefore realistic in most cases without custom programming and extensive investments and it can be offered by small and large vendors and be deployed for customers of all sizes.

DecisionLink worked with Dimensional Research recently to survey over 200 SaaS executives and sales managers to understand how they approach value management in their renewal discussions. According to the study, only a quarter (24%) of companies provide value analysis during the renewal process. Another 11% of companies provide value analysis, but only for customers that are at-risk.

Download the Full Research Report

Customer Success Supported by Value Management Will Prevail

Closer attention from finance departments, plus the advent of SaaS, is now generating a clear preference for applying full value management principles throughout the project lifecycle. On the vendor-side, a comprehensive customer value management program will become important in departments such as Customer Success to audit and prove the business benefits and document project effectiveness.

In addition, it is highly probable that, on the user-side, financial and procurement professionals will also be leveraging a value management solution to support a company’s decision-making process for multiple projects as a standard operating practice.

“This is the final missing link in the industry. Connecting the value that was promised in the sales cycle to the value that is being delivered and demonstrated.” -Nick Mehta, CEO, Gainsight

If you would like to discuss this topic, feel free to contact me.

Always keeping you informed! Peter.

peter@teamoneill.de , poneill@researchinaction.de , peter.oneill@b2bmarketing.net

www.marchnata.eu

Peter O‘Neill is an IT industry veteran with more than 39 years of experience in advising vendor and end-user clients and performing research-based consulting, combining strong research capabilities with comparative vendor assessments and actionable advice. He is most known for his 12 years of service at Forrester Research as industry analyst and research director. Most recently Peter managed Forrester’s research on B2B Marketing organization, process and automation topics, a worldwide team of 11 experienced analysts. Prior to his time at Forrester, Peter had worked for 20 years at Hewlett-Packard in Germany and the USA and then joined META Group (2001 – 2005) where he led the company’s Vendor Consulting Group across EMEA.

 

 

 

 

 

Value Heroics: Bob Caravella – From Hero in a Major Deal to Hero to the Organization

Value Hero: Bob Caravella

One day in May 2005, I received an urgent phone call from a Mercury Regional Sales VP asking that I fly to Dallas for a meeting the next day with the Southwestern Bell Corporation (SBC) Senior VP Operations named Rick Felts.

Apparently, a deal estimated at ~$10M, which had been on the sales forecast for many months, was now in trouble and we were at risk of losing the deal.  Originally, Rick Felts advised the Mercury sales team that he had $10M approval authority and was convinced that the Mercury solution was the way to go – he assured them that no formal business case would be required.  However, a recent change in governance at SBC had taken the approval out of Rick Felt’s hands.  Now, a business case was needed – one that Rick could defend in front of the SBC governance board.

Before hopping on a plane, I advised the Mercury VP that we should have a call with Rick to explain our ROI process and introduce the Mercury solution value model.  Following our webex presentation, Rick agreed to have his team collaborate to build the business case.  He assigned a savvy team of ROI stakeholders – senior managers who were convinced the Mercury solution (Business Availability Center) was the right answer, but frustrated that they could not quantify their Proof of Concept results in terms of value to the SBC business.

During my initial conversations with the SBC stakeholders, I learned that one of SBC’s announced strategic initiatives was to “enhance the customer experience and revamp cost structure.” As a part of this strategy, SBC had staffed over 20,000 call center representatives in 135 locations. The effectiveness and efficiency of these operations was highly dependent on the availability and performance of mission critical applications.

I also learned that the Call Centers had a formal methodology for quantifying the end user impact of outages – leading to calculation of a ‘Client Pain Factor’ indicator.  As a result, I adjusted the strawman value model to leverage this indicator in the calculation of business value. The resulting model was so compelling that Rick Felts was sufficiently comfortable to not only defend the need for the original Mercury solution, but he decided to include other related Mercury solutions for application testing – leading the deal to grow from $10M to $18M (the largest deal in Mercury history).

What I was not aware of at the time was that while this deal was in process, Mercury was in the throes of negotiating its acquisition by Hewlett Packard. The $18M SBC deal was crucial for Mercury to make its number for the fiscal year, strengthening its negotiating position with HP.

Thus, I rose from being a hero for a major deal to being regarded as a hero for the organization – receiving the Americas Sales MVP award for 2005.

Epilogue: following Mercury’s acquisition by HP Software, I was asked to build and manage the worldwide Business Value Consulting practice for HP.

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 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. Share your stories and join the conversation!

Value Heroics: Kyle Vanderzanden and Tim Franklin – Value Heroes Who Proved that Leaning In to Transformation Pays Dividends

Value Heroes: Kyle Vanderzanden and Tim Franklin
Nominated by: Josh Lankford

Ten days after first being introduced to a new process and capability for discussing value with their customers, Tim and Kyle leaned into their new processes and tools and used the approach to reshape their engagement at a very significant prospect.

As a result of engaging in a business value discussion early in a sales cycle – as opposed to a feature/function discussion – they were able to gain their champion’s trust and they also identified additional areas of value that they could offer to their prospect.

By embracing a value-based selling approach and utilizing the ValueCloud to generate value-based assets, Tim and Kyle were able to have a very positive impact on the opportunity and they’ve been able to gain access to additional areas of opportunity as a result.

All of this occurred before Kyle had even completed his training! Tim and Kyle’s commitment to learn and embrace a value selling approach has led to early benefits in this engagement.

———————

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 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, a virtual forum where value and sales professionals can connect, share stories and best practices, and engage with like-minded professionals. Share your stories and join the conversation!

 

Value Heroics: Laurie Schrager – A Hero Who Knows That Transforming with Value Can Move Mountains

Value Hero: Laurie Schrager, VP, Global Revenue Operations, Enablement & Education, Tealium

At Tealium, we are in the middle of implementing a new enterprise-wide program that we’ve branded as the ‘Value Standard’. The program consists of training for the team in Value Selling and Value Engineering, creating new slide decks centered around the value that can be achieved from using our products, revising and restructuring our customer stories, building an ROI calculator and making sure we have the appropriate enablement and certification for our team members.

Transformation is hard – but this is the right thing for the business. We’re able to add more value for our customers through these initiatives, becoming more strategic to them, so even though the lift to implement a transformation like this is significant, it will pay dividends for our clients, for our business, and for our shareholders—and that makes it worth the time and effort.

———————

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 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, a virtual forum where value and sales professionals can connect, share stories and best practices, and engage with like-minded professionals. Share your stories and join the conversation!