In a recent group discussion about diagnostic assessments and economic justification tools, everyone agreed that they were vital for today’s frugalnomics-afflicted environment. Buyers are forced to do more with less and are reluctant to invest in change. Maintaining the status quo is the easiest route for buyers, unless you, the vendor as trusted advisor, show them that there is a cost of doing nothing.
However, the group consensus was that this was easier said than done. Not because they didn’t have the tools needed to do the justification. Many were already Alinean customers and had tools to diagnose issues and prove economic justification.
The bigger issue was the difficulty in getting prospects, already shorthanded and overwhelmed keeping the lights on, to engage in the first place – to take an interest in the diagnostics and allocate some resources to do the analysis. Too busy executives just didn’t have time to “go to the doctor” even though they often suspected that they could cure what ails them with just a simple visit.
So how to entice executives to sponsor and commit to the analysis in the first place, and not have this be a task all in itself (which defeats the purpose)?
Some things we suggest to help entice buyers and justify the diagnostic
- Sample reports: Share sample reports to demonstrate the value that can be achieved with an assessment, and to prove that the results are consultative / not a sales pitch.
- Share results: Case studies of how others have leveraged the diagnostic assessment and reports to affect a change and generate positive business impacts.
- Quick screening: Create a version of the assessment that with just a few publicly available or easily collected data points can provide an overview / summary level assessment of some value and point out a couple of areas that might be worth a further look, leading to a more detailed assessment.
- Self service: Create a simple version of the assessment so that the executive and team members can complete a survey on their own and see an overview of their diagnostic results. A subsequent workshop can be scheduled to discuss the results / dive in more detail into the diagnostics and recommendations.
These hopefully represent a good set of initial ideas on how to get engaged in diagnostic assessments and justification analyses with busy executives.
What programs have you used, beyond these, to better connect and engage with your assessments / analyses?
Tom Pisello is chairman and founder of Alinean, Inc.