Former President of Vivisimo Kevin Calderwood shares his experience with Selling To Zebras and how Vivisimo has reorganized to become an industry leader, before being acquired by IBM.
"This is the third company that I've been at where we've implemented the ZEBRAselling methodology with our sales force. Just in general the zebra methodology gives a company a common methodology and language to talk about deals. And to really know where in the sales cycle a deal is. Probabilities don't do that because some salespeople are optimistic, others are pessimistic and its hard to get a true view of a deal and who you're dealing with. But the Zebra methodology one, eliminates up front capture costs because your only focused on your perfect profile customer. You're not just going out to everybody and hoping that someone wants your product. You define early on who your perfect profile customer is and you focus all you marketing efforts, your development efforts and your sales efforts on that particular targeted customer. So the methodology is much more than a sales methodology. There are sales methodologies by the dozen out there with a variety of books. The Zebra methodology goes all the way through your marketing, the product your building, your entire company aligns with your perfect profile customer so that everything you do is delivering economic value to that particular customer. Box: Vivisimo Named by Forrester Research as #1 in their industry due to value-based approach to sales Leslie Owens- Forrester Research Inc. Vivisimo has an enterprise class search engine and prior to us coming on board a couple of years ago, the company was selling features and benefits of the software to IT department of a variety of different companies in different industries. When we came to the company we had selling to zebras do the research on our current customer base. So we interviewed our existing customers and determined the economic value that our software was providing to them. As a result we began to focus all our marketing and development and our energy on our perfect profile customer. When we were selling technology, prior to us coming on board as the leadership team, the average sale price for our software was $190,000. When we began focusing on the business professional who needed the economic value our average sales price over two years is now over $600,000. So its tripled in little over two years because we're now not selling technology, but we're selling a business solution that brings true economic value to a very targeted customer set. It also reduces our training dramatically as we bring on new sales people. We know exactly where to tell them to hunt, how to go at them to hunt and we know the value that they can talk to prospective prospects about, because we are already achieving that value at current customers that we have. I'm a firm believer in the methodology. It's much broader than a sales methodology and it can really help focus your sales team, eliminate the waste of capture costs, increase your average selling price, and reduce the time it takes to get a deal because now you're not compared with a feature checklist against your competitor you're actually solving their business problem. You can actually show them the return they could achieve once they implement your solution."