Monday, January 17, 2011

B2B Marketing Automation Vendor Comparison -- Here's a Sample

I’ve been having way too much fun working on my new industry report. I decided to make it an interactive document that lets users (viewers? readers? The Chosen?) set their own weights for the different scoring categories and do detailed, side-by-side comparisons of vendors they select. This gives the document vastly more play value than a simple report. Much more important, it reinforces the point that I keep stressing, which is that every evaluation must be based on the buyer’s unique needs. Having three different sets of scores was a step in that direction, and making things interactive goes still further.

Click here to download a sample of the format. (Beware that it's a big file and can take several minutes to load.) Vendor names have been replaced with football teams and the specific details are excluded. But you can see the results of the different scoring schemes and also get a list of the specific items with their weights and definitions. The sample also contains draft versions of the introductory materials, which need some reformatting. (Note to Mac users: this is an Adobe Flash document; you'll have to use Adobe Reader to view it.)

In case it’s not obvious, you can move the little sliders on the “Sector Chart” tab to see how the different vendors move around depending on how you weight different categories of attributes. The final report will show directly how much each category contributes to each vendor’s score. You can also adjust the category weights on the grid within the “Scoring Weights” tab, which shows the detailed items. You have to mouse over the numbers in the grids – not the most convenient method, but the one allowed by the software I’m using (SAP Business Objects’ Xcelsius).

I actually did work up a version of the report that lets users set their own weights for the individual items. Unfortunately, that seems to overtax the software, so I’ll have to leave that out of the final product. I might put it out as a separate product or upgrade to the base report.

Please take a look and let me know what you think. The report itself should be ready for distribution within a few days, and of course I'll announce it here first.

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