In the last article (see Part 1), we introduced the idea that most companies do not use economic justification tools (ROI, TCO, and ROA) effectively as part of the sales process. Here we present detailed information so that you can follow the seven steps to ROI success. Here are the steps we recommend to ensure you have the tools and processes that will help the prospect buy from you.
1. Assign an owner to the tools and the process.
The tools and processes discussed below are not one-time events. They take on a life of their own, and if managed well will grow and improve with the needs of the organization. The optimal way to approach this is to treat all elements of an economic justification process as a “product.” If the product is owned by a product manager, then it will be managed throughout its lifecycle to ensure the company receives maximum benefit. Without an owner, it will wither and die.
2. Evaluate what's working now, and conduct an unbiased gap analysis.
Identify which reps are having even moderate success with your current tools. Learn from them, and document why they are successful. The reasons can vary widely--an individual rep's style or personality, the products or industries on which they focus, or something else entirely. Actual field observations can be invaluable. Go on sales calls with the current experts in economic justification (key sales reps, field specialists, product marketing representatives, and so forth) and examine what is working (and not). Distill the observations into a realistic assessment and gap analysis, and use them to derive a plan for improvement. A detailed list of questions to assist in this step (and all others mentioned in this article) is available here.
3. Build the right model.
Your tool must contain the right business value drivers and metrics. Your model should be comprehensive and accurate. The more thorough the model, the more likely it is that you'll be able to document an economic justification in your favor. It should be designed to incorporate as many of the prospect's own numbers and variables as possible. Where that is not possible, it must incorporate credible (and documented) industry averages. The tool should be designed to stand up to the most rigorous evaluation by a prospect. In fact, if designed well, this will create the credibility that is lacking in most tools today.
4. Make it easy to deploy.