Steve’s Blog

Steve’s Blog

Value as a Service (VaaS)


When asked by clients, who really understands (and has successfully implemented) the transition from the traditional “perpetual license” model to a SaaS model, the first company that always comes to mind is Coupa Software.  They get the unique differences of a subscription based business and have effectively organized around those differences.  When I first met their CEO, Rob Bernshteyn, I joked that I was jealous he had beaten me to the phrase “Value as a Service” (VaaS) – for that is truly what we are talking about – and where the market is headed.  I hope you enjoy this informative blog from Coupa Software.–Steve

Operationalizing VaaS starts with ‘why’

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HELPING THE SALE – TECHNOLOGY AND MANAGING VALUE


In this blog, I would like to complete the discussion of how technology can play a much greater role in actually facilitating the right conversations between buyers and sellers.  Previously, we explored collaboration and transparency.  In this blog we’ll explore the third essential attribute to any software and technology solution and that is ensuring a relevant conversation about value between the buyer and the seller.

Value: From the English / Oxford Dictionary

val·ue

ˈvalyo͞o/

noun

  1. relative worth, utility, or importance..

Using this as a starting point, let’s explore the meaning of “value” as it pertains to B2B sales.  While I have found this concept to be perhaps the most misunderstood (and abused) term in business (and I have written much about it), the initial question we must ask is “relative to what?”  This leads to several critical insights:

  • Value is anywhere and everywhere specific to the customer’s situation
  • Value only exists in the customer’s mind as that perceived utility or worth which is incremental to the customer’s next best alternative to you
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Helping the Sale–Technology and Transparency


In this blog, I would like to continue the discussion of how technology can play a much greater role in actually facilitating the right conversations between buyers and sellers.  Previously, we explored collaboration and in this blog we’ll explore the second of three attributes essential to any software and technology solution and that is facilitating transparency between the buyer and the seller.

Transparency: From the English / Oxford Dictionary

trans·par·en·cy

ˌtranˈsperənsē/

noun

  1. the condition of clearness (synonym – clarity).

In researching the definition, I was surprised to find that the usage of “transparency” has more than tripled in the past 25 years relative to the previous 200 years and I am left wondering why.  Given the above definition, just what exactly should both sides work on to produce clearness or clarity? I believe there are three key opportunities for transparency during the sale: creating the potential for value, capturing that value in the right deal, and finally delivering the value after the sale.

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HELPING THE SALE – TECHNOLOGY AND COLLABORATION


In this blog, I would like to continue the discussion of how technology can play a much greater role in actually facilitating the right conversations between buyers and sellers.  Let’s explore the first of three attributes essential to any software and technology solution—facilitating collaboration between the buyer and the seller.

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WHAT CAN TECHNOLOGY PROVIDE TO ACTUALLY HELP THE SALE?


In this blog, I would like to continue the discussion of how technology can play a much greater role in actually facilitating the right conversations between buyers and sellers.  Let’s start with identifying three attributes essential to any B2B technology solution and in future blogs I’ll explore each of these attributes in more detail.  At the risk of being redundant, I am also confining my discussions to situations where a long term business relationship is desired.

Collaboration:  The state of technology today is that most platforms are designed to serve the needs of one party or the other. Sellers and buyers both have ERP Systems but other than sometimes providing for the processing of purchase orders, invoicing and payments, there is very little sharing between the two parties.  Yes I’m aware of systems that reach into proprietary data such as inventory for both parties, but again are these actually facilitating the initial sale?  I would argue no, they simply facilitate reordering after a business agreement is reached.

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DOES TECHNOLOGY REALLY HELP THE SALE?


I have been struggling with this question for some time.  At first blush, you might answer yes.  For the buyer, it is now much easier to research products and services and comparison shop before speaking to a sales rep.  However, this now means that a rep can’t rely on being a “two legged talking brochure” to make the sale.  I submit that has made most reps’ jobs much more difficult.  In fact you might argue the rep provides no value if that is their primary selling tactic (and buyers often echo that same sentiment to me).

For the seller, there are now CRM systems that capture lots of data (often of dubious value).  I believe it provides some value to the selling organization in terms of auditing the sales process and perhaps even mining some of the data (however, I wonder if the actual value of the data is suspect simply because it is secondhand data entered by the rep).  Unfortunately, most sales reps will counter that it has not helped them sell as it has created a mandatory administrative workload that takes them away from selling (reps often lament this is the case).

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