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When long-time Novell customer Catholic Healthcare Partners (CHP) entered into a ten-year outsourcing contract, they were put into a painful situation: the outsourcers immediately recommended ripping out NetWare, SecureLogin, Identity Manager and ZENworks Desktop Management.
When I met with CHP’s CTO, however, I discovered that they liked the Novell solution and wanted to keep using it—but the hospital’s seventeen regions could not gain consensus on which direction to take: go with the outsourcer’s edict or stay with what they knew worked.
When I told the CTO that he didn’t need to license all of the hospital’s users, I gave him an option he didn’t have before: to let the regions who wanted to stick with Novell renew their contracts, and let the regions who wanted to follow the outsource edict go ahead and do that. This freed the CTO from having to make an “all or nothing” decision. And since I knew the CTO was pro-Novell, I presented the three-year renewal option at this time. This showed him how to save money on the contract renewal, amounting to a quarter of a million dollars—an insight that I felt could further entrench the Novell technologies he liked within the organization.
Result: The CTO presented his case to the “Novell friendly” regions, including the renewal savings. Driving down costs is always a winning argument: Many of the regions bought into the plan, while other regions continued with select Novell products in addition to the change suggested by the outsourcers. Novell continues to be a strategic vendor, and now evaluations are underway for implementing ZENworks Endpoint Security and ZENworks Configuration Management.
Finding out this customer’s pain point turned an $800,000 renewal into a $1.3 million-dollar renewal, and opened up new opportunities for the client executive team. The lines of communication have never been more open, and Novell is now, more than ever, a trusted partner for CHP. (Chris Brown, Novell Internal Sales)
When going through my quarterly renewals, I noticed that quite a few accounts had been slated to be moved from their current MLA contracts over to the VLA program. I thought of the problems involved for customers in doing this and was able to devise a plan to help them make this transition.
Result: Seven former MLA accounts have been transitioned to VLA, with a resulting revenue of $326,000—extra income that went above and beyond the projected renewal quota for these customers. (Robbyn O’Leary, Novell Internal Sales)
My customer expressed the need to drive down costs. I compared their options and helped them see how much they could save doing a multi-year deal. To do this, I measured the value of the proposition by outlining the cost savings built into a three-year deal versus the cost of one- and two-year deals. The customer brought the CFO in on the discussion to qualify the value. Once these two decision-makers realized the total value they gained, I took the customer to the next step using the renewal evaluation plan, and having the customer set dates of when the renewal would be open to Novell. Throughout this process, open conversations and clear value statements helped close this deal. The customer saved a total of $222,212, and we earned three times the initial expected revenue for this customer—we made more than half a million dollars, and we closed the deal on time. (Mary Joyner, Novell Internal Sales)
When talking to one of our partners, I made sure to discuss Novell’s CRM system (Unity) and how it would help him keep accurate notes for each time he reached out to a customer. I showed him how he could use Unity to manage his own customer base. This was very exciting for this partner, and he was anxious to try it out. I gave this partner a few leads, and within 48 hours he had called the lead contacts and scheduled appointments with major decision makers (by qualifying each lead using the Strength of Sales Check worksheet).
Result: This reseller won the contract to do a GroupWise implementation for one of the school systems in his county. (Sara Dibba, Novell Internal Sales)
While making the initial contacts with one customer for their yearly renewal, I found that everyone I talked to said the same thing: “Sorry, we usually get the renewal to you about one to two months late.” I intuited that there was some pain behind this statement, and discovered who the person responsible for doing the self audit was. It turns out that this person was already overloaded, and the audit was not a top-of-mind responsibility. He felt it was far too early to begin the audit, but in talking together, I helped him to see that because of our approval process, he needed to begin his audit earlier this year. He agreed, did the audit, and the renewal was easily approved. Not only did we get the renewal revenue in five days early instead of two months late, but we also developed a strong rapport with the people we worked with. This helped them reduce their anxieties concerning the renewal process, and were very pleased about how closely we were willing to work with them to solve this particular pain point. (Bryant Hatch, Novell Internal Sales)
I showed one of our partner’s sales reps how to use the Strength of Sales Check, which helps sales professionals determine how serious a customer is about a sale. He was wowed by the tool—so much so that he shared it with the other sales reps in his company. Using the tool, he was able to determine that one hold-up on a particular sale was a lack of Power Sponsor. Using this information, he was able to identify the Power Sponsor for this sale—and has shown that sponsor the value of one- and two-year VLA options. The sale—once stalled completely—is now being presented by the power sponsor to his company’s board about deploying the product. (Jill Jacoby, Novell Internal Sales)
When I started to work on upcoming renewals, I did a value bit of research. I work in the Education space, and 95% of my customers have their technology plans published on their web sites. First, I made sure to go over my customers’ purchase histories, and then I went to their web sites to check out their technology plans. I was searching for any new initiative or technology problem that our software could potentially solve. For one customer, I found two different sections where they expressed a desire to create a web page of sorts where teachers could post information about upcoming assignments, study materials, etc. They specifically mentioned that they would like to explore technology that would allow their teachers to use wikis and blogs as a way to enhance their current learning environment.
I knew that Novell Teaming + Conferencing would be a perfect fit for what they were looking for. So I called the Director of Information Technology and introduced myself as his Novell sales representative. We spoke for a few minutes, then set up a call to go over his IT environment in detail. On that call, we spoke about all of his current Novell software and how it was working for them. I asked, “As an IT director, what IT issues keep you up at night?” He started in on his issues, and most of them were right in line with what I’d already discovered reading their technology plan. It wasn’t long before we started to talk about their collaboration needs, which lead perfectly into a discussion on Teaming + Conferencing. After more discussion, he requested that we set up a test environment for them.
Result: The IT director is testing the solution; if it works for them, the sale will result in a 33% increase in their renewal. I have followed this method with several accounts now, with a great deal of success. Seeking out new opportunities has helped me achieve and even exceed my quota this year. (Mark Allphin, Novell Internal Sales)
One of my clients had become jaded regarding her relationships with her Novell sales representatives. They had grown accustomed to having a Client Exec to support them, and were feeling the lack strongly. Even though they spent a quarter of a million dollars on Novell maintenance every year, this client felt that Novell was just not responsive to their needs. My contact was not the person in charge or the major decision maker; however, she had a lot of influence as she deals with the day-to-day operations of the client’s IT department. I knew gaining her trust would help gain the trust of the decision maker. I started gaining her confidence by responding quickly to all any requests she made. Then I proposed a renewal plan outlining everything that needed to be done to get their maintenance renewal plan on schedule. I proposed dates and action items to accomplish this goal. I asked if there were any other steps that needed to be taken, and asked if she agreed with this plan. She did agree—and execution was easy, since we both knew what was expected by the other, there was no pressure or time constraints, and everything was already planned out well ahead of time.
Result: Our renewal came in two weeks ahead of time, without any complications, with additional revenues accrued. Because of the relationship we had forged, I was able to defuse a potentially bad situation that rose from price increases in two of their four purchased Novell product groups. In fact, our relationship grew so strong that we held face-to-face meetings to discuss the possibilities of adding further Novell products to solve some of their other pain points. This opened up new potential revenue possibilities that could bring in well over $150,000 in upsell revenues. (Chris Francom, Novell Internal Sales)
One newly hired IT director decided to create an entirely new IT general plan for his company. In the process, he felt it wise to consider defining a new network platform. This put direct revenues in jeopardy, since the company used Novell Open Enterprise Server + maintenance, and would also have put the renewals of other existing Novell products into question (including long-standing GroupWise and ZENworks installations).
After several meetings, we were able to show the new IT director the benefits of these Novell products, by doing presentations and demonstrations that showed technical enhancements to the new versions of each of these products.
Result: Not only did the IT director not drop the contract, but he increased the number of licenses purchased so that 1,400 more users could reap the benefits of these Novell products. We went from potential disaster to a 57% increase in sales—all by working on relationships and driving home the benefits of our software to the company’s primary decision maker. (Marcus Santos, Novell Internal Sales)
One customer had only one complaint: the painful renewal process that enterprise customers went through. I pinpointed the Power Sponsor for this account and, working together, ironed out the problems. Once we had the audit figures, it was time to paint a vision. Our power sponsor saw this as a simple renewal. But I was able to show the sponsor the value of a multi-year renewal that would save his company money. At first, the Power Sponsor was wary of paying for multiple-year renewals up front. But I was able to present solid numbers on the discounts he would receive, and as we discussed the money angle, he quickly saw how the cost savings would be a benefit to his company. And, by pointing out expiration dates for these prices, I was able to drive approval through to ensure that the renewal came in on time.
Result: The two-year renewal was worth $1.1 million dollars for Novell. The customer saved over $100,000, which made them extremely happy. Rather than processing a simple renewal, they felt they had entered into a truly strategic partnership. (Christy Dye, Novell Internal Sales)