The Goal: Help Customers See Beyond Splunk’s Technical Prowess to Fully Understand Business Value Potential
As the leading provider for real-time operational intelligence software, Splunk, Inc. was experiencing great success. The company was growing at a rate of 50% per year – with customers in more than 100 countries using its software to deepen business and customer understanding, mitigate cyber security risk, prevent fraud, improve service performance and reduce costs.
In the midst of great success, Splunk proactively wanted to get even better. The company saw three opportunities for continued growth:
1. Help customers prioritize how they could use Splunk in more areas of their businesses – beyond their initial applications
2. Motivate prospects to accelerate their decisions to purchase Splunk
3. Reduce the ramp-up time for new reps, who were quickly being added but taking months to reach full effectiveness
“Our product is something that can be used in thousands of ways, so we wanted to help customers understand what it could do for them and how they could get the most value from the technology,” said Doug May, director, global business value consulting, Splunk, Inc.
By clearly articulating the value of the technology, customers would move Splunk up their priority lists. The quicker customers could see the value, the shorter Splunk’s sales cycle. Most B2B sales cycles are 12-18 months, which was too long for Splunk to achieve its growth goals.
“If you want to grow quickly and be competitive, increasing your sales velocity is critical,” said May. “You need to show your value, so customers will prioritize the investment.”
Helping customers build a business case would also lead to larger orders. Splunk needed more large deals to hit its aggressive growth targets.
The Risks: Potentially Lose Market Share to Hungry Competitors
To keep its lead in the market, Splunk wanted to collaborate with and show customers how they could apply its technology to achieve real business benefits.
“More than 80% of our sales team was hitting its goals, which is fantastic,” said May. “However, we knew that if we didn’t transition from product-led to value-centric selling, our sales team would be less successful in the future.”
The Opportunity: Change the Way That Global Sales Reps Interact With Prospects
Splunk’s first step was prioritizing the move from product-led to value-centric selling. It formed a Business Value Consulting Group to support the transition. This team was dedicated to developing Splunk’s value positioning, messaging and financial justification. It also engaged directly in large deals to develop CFO-ready business cases.
The Business Value Consulting Group wanted to scale value selling to Splunk’s worldwide sales team. It needed a financial justification/ROI tool to empower its global sales reps to focus on Splunk’s value.
The Solution: An Alinean Value Selling Toolkit
The Business Value Consulting Group’s first decision was to find a partner to build its value-selling tools. They found this partner in Alinean.
“We chose a partner who had a deep level of expertise in helping companies deploy easy-to-use, collaborative, value storytelling and benefit ROI calculators,” said May. “Within six weeks, we launched our tool to a pilot team and began seeing results.”
“It’s key to find a partner who is collaborative and responsive to your timelines,” said May. “Look for someone who treats you like a strategic partner.”
The Results: Splunk Shaves 30-90 Days Off Its Sales Cycle
Splunk’s value selling program (powered by Alinean) has been wildly successful and has helped the company address its three key opportunities. It’s now easier for sales reps to have business value conversations with prospects. Customers quickly see the value Splunk can bring to their businesses.
As a result, Splunk’s average order sizes have doubled. Splunk has also shaved 30-90 days off its sales cycles.
The program is also helping Splunk ramp up new hires faster. Since Splunk is growing exponentially, ramping up salespeople quickly is key to the company’s success.
David Caradonna works on Doug’s team, as the Director of Global Business Value Consulting (BVC) for Splunk, and he was recently independently interviewed by the not-for-profit Value Selling and Realization Council about the results of their Splunk BVC program are amazing.
With just a handful of resources, the Splunk team has leveraged the Alinean platform and analyst services to deliver a simple self-service catalog of ROI/TCO Tools. The program has resulted in sales reps engaging more often and partnering with customers and prospects on value analysis and delivery, with:
● Over 1,500 business cases to prospects last year
● 730 business cases in this last quarter alone
● Influence on over $120M in annual new business wins each year.
The Alinean powered value selling tools have been essential to get the company value-focused, with the Splunk BVC team able to quickly educate and train 150 sales reps and 300 field resources each quarter. The adoption has been incredible, with David reporting a whopping 60% adoption not just in sales, but across ALL employees.
Where most value engineering organizations have ratios of 24 sales reps for every value engineer, the Splunk BVC team runs lean and mean, leveraging the self-service tools to achieve an astounding 50:1 rep to consultant count.
David when asked about the top critical success factor for the BVC program at Splunk, indicated that “the vendor you choose to work with is vital to the program, turning your innovative ideas into a reusable tool that is going to be accessible and adopted by the masses in a self service mode so you can drive as much adoption as possible.“
David indicated “In our case, we chose to work with Alinean, an amazing small company run by Tom Pisello. They really understand value consulting; they live and breathe that. It was a no brainer to use these guys.”
Discussing why the choice of Alinean was so critical, David adds: “You cannot succeed without a platform that is not just to be used internally, but used with customers who are exposed to the process – one that is extremely simple yet creates and delivers comprehensive and credible deliverables.”
Developing and delivering this program with Alinean over the past three years, David and team have some poignant advice to assure a good rollout, adoption, usage and outcomes.
- Trained more than 300+ field resources per quarter
- Accelerated on-boarding effectiveness by 30 to 90 days
- 50:1 rep to value specialist ratio (vs. 24:1 average)
- Over 1,500 business cases to prospects last year
- Increased average order size 2x
- $120M in incremental sales revenue