Tech Bytes & Insights

Value-Based Selling Achieves Results: Now, How to Achieve VBS?

Posted by Ashish Vazirani on Wed, Apr 09, 2014

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.

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Topics: Ashish Vazirani, value-based selling, tech, technology, tech companies, technology companies, VBS, customers, sales, marketing, ZS Associates

Multi-Threaded Sales with Social Media: Three Ways to Get Started

Posted by Ashish Vazirani on Thu, Jan 16, 2014

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.

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Topics: Ashish Vazirani, social media strategy, social selling, social media, social media listening, multi-threaded sales

Getting Your Channel Partners Up in the Cloud

Posted by John DeSarbo on Mon, Nov 18, 2013

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.

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Topics: channel partners, John DeSarbo, cloud business models

Social Selling Déjà Vu

Posted by Ashish Vazirani on Mon, Oct 21, 2013

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.

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Topics: Ashish Vazirani, social media strategy, social selling

Don’t Strike Out Searching for Strategic Account Management Talent

Posted by Ashish Vazirani on Wed, Oct 02, 2013

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.

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Topics: Ashish Vazirani, strategic account management

Turning Channel Operations “Process Poets” Into “Quant Jocks”

Posted by John DeSarbo on Wed, Sep 18, 2013

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.

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Topics: John DeSarbo, channel analytics, data scientists

Now Hear This: How a “Voice of the Partner” Program Boosts Channel Partner Performance

Posted by Erik Long on Thu, Sep 12, 2013

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.

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Topics: channel partners, Erik Long, Voice of Customer (VoC) programs, Voice of the Partner (VoP)

Three Ways to Jump-Start Your VoC Program

Posted by Will Carter on Tue, Sep 03, 2013

“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.

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Topics: customer experience, Voice of Customer (VoC) programs, Will Carter

Achieving the Fifth E of Sales and Marketing Operations

Posted by Ashish Vazirani on Thu, Aug 08, 2013

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.

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Topics: Ashish Vazirani, go-to-market strategy, sales and marketing alignment, customer engagement, sales force effectiveness, sales and marketing operations

Are You Paying Too Many People?

Posted by Kyle Heller on Mon, Aug 05, 2013

“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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Topics: Kyle Heller, incentives, sales compensation plan

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