Ashish VaziraniPrincipal,ZS Associates
John DeSarboPrincipal,ZS Associates
Bhargav ManthaManager,ZS Associates
Kyle HellerManager,ZS Associates
Spring is finally starting to break through in the DC area, and I’m emerging from a runner’s hibernation in preparation for my spring and summer race schedule. This winter I faced a number of obstacles: an unusual amount of snow and particularly cold mornings, a nagging lower-back strain and a full travel schedule.
I recently heard Joseph Pine speak about his book The Experience Economy, in which he suggests there is a hierarchy of economic value: commodities, goods, services and experience.
In a business-to-business environment, the idea of experience may be synonymous with solutions: the combination of products and services that addresses a customer’s business needs in a way that is engaging and allows the customer to achieve their business goals.
What changes must high-tech vendors make to accelerate cloud service adoption and growth in the channel?
We conducted research earlier this year to answer that very question—and the results were intriguing, if not 100% encouraging.
As IT vendors migrate their offerings to the cloud, enabling their channel partners to capitalize on the demand for cloud services may prove to be their biggest challenge. Overcoming this hurdle may very well mean the difference between success and failure in the cloud for many high-tech vendors.
There is a lot of buzz about social selling to put it mildly—and the volume only continues to rise. In an earlier post, I commented about "social media strategy" and the associated hype. As I consider social selling, I think I could do a find and replace on "media" with "selling," as well as "marketers" to "sellers," and the post would apply. The gist of the earlier post was that social tools and a social approach should be considered as part of a broader customer engagement strategy, but not as a strategy unto itself.
If you follow baseball, October is when the season gets truly exciting. After nearly six months and 162 games, the season comes down to 10 teams and a month of playoffs. It’s also the time of year when significant speculation surrounds where the best players whose contracts are ending will land next season. At the top of the list is New York Yankee Robinson Cano. Why is he so sought after? He’s a five-time All Star, two-time Gold Glove winner and one of only 16 active players with a batting average of more than 0.300. Next season, he’s likely to be playing with a multiyear contract valued at $20-plus million dollars a year.
So what do baseball and the free agent market have to do with sales and strategic account management? They are both reminders that winning teams are based on talent, and recruiting and retaining talent are high priorities for sales leaders.
You’ve got a tremendous opportunity to mine your mountains of channel data to find new growth opportunities—but does your channel operations team have the skills you need?
Gathering data from dozens, hundreds or even thousands of channel partners is critical for any high-tech company. Although many companies have largely overcome technical barriers to handling and processing channel data, they are struggling to find personnel who can crunch data and find the insights behind the numbers.
As a high-tech company, is your finger on the pulse of your channel partners? More to the point, can you hear what they’re saying? And most importantly, are you positioned to do anything about it … before it’s too late?
An alarming and telling fact that should command our attention: one-third of U.S. reseller partners have dismissed a technology vendor in the past year alone, according to a recent industry report.
“How can my company accelerate its Voice of Customer program to meet rapidly changing customer needs, constant innovation and diminishing resources?”
It’s encouraging to see increased attention paid to Voice of Customer (VoC) programs. Asked where marketing and sales collaboration most needed to improve, more attendees at a recent Global BMA Conference selected "customer and competitor insights" than any other issue—including traditional marketing stalwarts such as branding and value proposition.
During a recent discussion, the head of HR at a leading software and information services company introduced the COO to me as “chief enabler.” The COO cleverly responded, “I thought I was the chief enforcer.” I added that both were certainly true, but that operations also has two other E’s that should define the role: effectiveness and efficiency.
I went on to share my perspective with the COO and head of HR that the role of operations is to address each of the first four E’s—effectiveness, efficiency, enablement and enforcement—to ultimately improve customer and partner engagement.
“I think we’re paying too many people on each sale. We paid 24 people on XYZ sale alone. How do we know how many people we should really be paying?” —CFO, technology company
Companies looking to improve sales performance and profitability evaluate their compensation plans each year in a process as predictable as the annual salmon run—salmon return to their native riverbeds and swim upstream en masse, where bears, eagles and others await their payouts. But while an effective incentive plan is critical, using only incentives can be inefficient and, worse, ineffective. Figuring out who the CFO should be paying can’t start at the comp plan. It requires a healthy swim upstream to understand what is actually happening, and why.
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