SiriusDecisions Says 2010 is Year of Change for Inside Sales, Channels, Measurement and Reputation

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Faced with ongoing economic turbulence, successful companies understand that more than ever, the key to not only surviving but thriving is planning ahead. To support that critical process, SiriusDecisions has released its analysts' planning assumptions for 2010 - covering six important areas.

In 2010 and beyond, we believe the overarching theme that must drive channel strategy is partner productivity, be it through improved delivery of leads; better communication; or increased enablement of individual partner reps. Partners want to work with suppliers who help them make money. Period.

If you enjoy changing weather conditions, singer Frankie Valli and plush hotels, The Four Seasons are a big part of your life. However, for corporate leaders, including those charged with driving optimum b-to-b sales and marketing, there's an all-important "fifth" season: "planning" season.

SiriusDecisions notes that while some companies may have been focused on vacation planning, best-in-class sales and marketing organizations were already focusing on strategic "resource planning" to determine their best moves for 2010.

To support that effort, the global b-to-b sales and marketing research and advisory firm recently released five key planning assumptions for each of six major areas of focus: b-to-b sales, channel management, demand creation, marketing operations, product marketing, and reputation management.

"For b-to-b sales, productivity gains will be powered by readiness, inside sales and technology," notes SiriusDecisions' Joe Galvin, vice president and head of its Sales Optimization Strategies (SOS) advisory service. "With 18 percent of revenue generation moving to inside sales and increased focus on channel and enterprise productivity, there's no place to hide anymore."

Mr. Galvin notes that to drive a strategy of growth, sales and marketing must work more closely together than ever before to stay one step ahead of the new economy's better-informed buyer. "More detailed metrics; significant investments in training and process-supported technology; and a strong emphasis on alignment and integration will all be major themes for organizations ready to embrace true transformation."

Channel management has emerged as a rapidly growing area of interest to SiriusDecisions clients. Notes Laz Gonzalez, research director and head of the firm's Channel Management Strategies (CMS) advisory service: "In 2010 and beyond, we believe the overarching theme that must drive channel strategy is partner productivity, be it through improved delivery of leads; better communication; or increased enablement of individual partner reps. Partners want to work with suppliers who help them make money. Period."

In terms of specific assumptions, Mr. Gonzalez looks for such initiatives as the creation of a demand center to optimize partner demand creation; portal improvements; more emphasis on incentives to influence reseller behavior; and increased use of social media to impact partner adoption for channel initiatives.

For demand creation, proactive management of SiriusDecisions' demand waterfall using high-quality data and integrated systems is a key 2010 theme. Advances in measurement, organizational structure and relationships between key functions will all drive incremental waterfall performance.

SiriusDecisions' Vice President of Research, Tony Jaros, points out that despite the pain of 2009, organizations that had the right people, process and technology in place to drive systematic demand creation reminded competitors why they've earned their best-in-class reputations. "Our data indicates that best-in-class sales and marketing organizations will close more than 7 times the deals vs. their average counterparts." He adds: "Just because 2010 seems like it will be less rocky doesn't get anyone off the demand creation hook; it's time for everyone to redouble their efforts again - complacency is simply not an option."

In its role of navigator in the b-to-b marketing function, marketing operations' ability to make sense of changing conditions and directions has never been more important.

"Marketing operations is definitely in the hot seat in 2010," says Megan Heuer, SiriusDecisions research director. "With limited resources and headcount, the function must stay focused on areas that will most benefit marketing as a whole: data, measurement, technology and process. 'Marketing ops' must manage the data foundation and technology roadmap needed to deliver more complex and targeted campaigns. Finally, it must deliver measurement and reporting that analyzes results and finds practices that work to incorporate insight into better processes that improve marketing's ability to meet its goals."

For reputation management, Jonathan Block says it's imperative that communication activities align more tightly with other marketing programs and campaign goals in 2010. He also notes the importance of growing a bond with sales, and that it's time for social media to be fully integrated into other marketing deliverables.

Mr. Block, vice president and head of his firm's Reputation Management Strategies (RMS) advisory service, further observes: "A key theme for the communications organization in 2010 is leverage. The ability of other marketing functions to leverage your activities and insights will do much to break the insular perceptions often directed at communications."

As for product marketing, John Neeson, the firm's managing director and co-founder, says that 2010 offers an ideal opportunity for concrete steps to be taken to integrate its expertise across a wide range of marketing programs. "While marketing investment was challenging in 2009, the investment in solution marketing increased by 6 percent largely driven by the need for hypersegmentation and relevant go-to-market strategies. This trend continues in 2010," concludes Mr. Neeson.

For a more detailed look into SiriusDecisions' "2010 playbook" for sales and marketing leaders, contact Tony Jaros at tjaros (at)

About SiriusDecisions:
SiriusDecisions is the world's leading source for business-to-business sales and marketing best-practice research and data. SiriusDecisions Executive Advisory Services, Consulting Services, Benchmark Assessment Services, Learning and Events provide senior-level executives with the sales and marketing operational intelligence required to maximize top line growth and performance. The unique combination of thought leadership, benchmark data, analytic tools, best practices and access to a peer and analyst network allow SiriusDecisions clients to quickly receive the critical insight they need to make decisions effectively. For more information about SiriusDecisions, headquartered in Wilton, CT, visit:


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