Wednesday, January 26, 2011

B2B Marketing Automation Report Is Ready...My Web Site, Not So Much

The good news is, my new B2B Marketing Automation report (more formally: the Vendor Selection Tool, or VEST) is now available. The bad news is I can't actually sell it online, despite the best efforts of Web masters on two continents. But the good news is I'm more than happy to take credit card orders directly if you send me an email or give me a call. Email is

To recap a bit, the new report is based on a survey of 18 vendors, who answered nearly 200 questions about their products and companies. Most answers were scored from 0, 1 or 2, indicating whether a particular feature was available fully, partly, or not at all. I translated other answers such as starting price or number of employees into similar 0-2 ranges so I could combine everything in a scoring formula. See my posts over the past few weeks for details on that.

The final result was three sets of scores for each vendor. The sets represent fitness for small, mid-size and large businesses, and each set contains a product fit score and vendor fit score. The idea was to simulate the type of scoring that a typical business in each category might do in its own vendor evaluation. Of course, no one's business is truly typical, so the interactive version of the tool also lets you create your own custom scoring weights.

The core of the new report, therefore, contains two sections: scatter diagrams plotting all the vendors in a typical "industry matrix" style and individual vendor profiles.

The industry matrix puts leads at the top right, where God and Gartner evidently intended them to be, and cleverly named other groups everywhere else. The clever part is giving names that are descriptive without being insulting. I settled on:

- "alternatives" (strong product fit but weak vendor fit)
- "anomalies" (weak product but strong vendor fit)
- "long shots" (weak product fit and weak vendor fit)

The vendor profiles give more detail about each vendor, including showing the scores for components within the product fit (7 components) and vendor fit (2 components). This gives some good insight into where the rankings came from.

So far so good. As I hinted before, there's both an interactive version and non-interactive version of the report. This is partly because I don't think everyone will want to pay for the full price for the interactive version and partly because some people have had problems running the interactive version, which uses Adobe Flash within a PDF. The non-interactive version, which I'm tactfully referring to as "basic", has an introductory section with industry explanations, recommendations on a selection process, etc., plus the three industry matrix charts (for small, mid-size and large) and individual profiles on each vendor. The profiles offer some narrative and scores for the components within the larger scores: 7 components within the profit fit (lead generation, campaign management, scoring, etc.) and two within the vendor fit (company strength and sector expertise). These give some insight into where the sales came from. This is priced at $295.

The interactive version has all those elements, which are made interactive by the fact that users can change the weights assigned to the different components within the profit and vendor fit scores. You've seen some of this is the same PDFs I posted over the past few weeks. It's great fun: there are little sliders for the weights and the vendors zoom around on the chart as you move them. A wonderful feeling of power.

The interactive edition also contains three more sections:

- Item Detail, which lets you see the 200-ish individual items used in the scoring, including their definitions and the weights assigned in each of the three scoring schemes.

- Custom Weights, which lets you set your own scoring weights for the individual items. You can start with the existing small, mid-size, or large weights as a base.

- Compare (my personal favorite), which lets you pick any three vendors and see how their scores compare in any of the weighting sets (small, mid-size, large, or custom). You can see bar charts with overviews and then drill into the item-by-item details for each category. This is where you see the specific differences between vendors.

Price for the interactive edition is $795.

I'll be presenting some additional analysis based on what's in the reports over the next few weeks, and of course will make a formal announcement once the e-commerce bugs are worked out. Again, though, you're welcome to send me a note to get your copy at once.

No comments: