Written by Jeff Koser and originally published on SellingtoZebras.com
Twenty years ago, Jeff Koser was asked to become the Chief Operating Officer of the newly formed Baan Supply Chain Division and overcome business challenges similar to yours – he was responsible for launching a new business and making it successful; quickly!
The History of Selling To Zebras
One of his first moves was to recruit Brian Gallagher from SSA, a BAAN competitor, to run Worldwide sales. Together they formed a formidable team that continues on today at Selling to Zebras. Chris Ullman was also part of Baan Supply Chain team and she too is a critical part of today’s Selling to Zebras success.
Baan purchased a small supply chain company called Berclain, Inc. The newly acquired supply chain management software required significant sales team re-training and re-tooling to transform from traditional feature/function and price-focused selling to a more challenger-based business value approach with executives. At this time “supply chain” was not yet part of the global lexicon … so this was easier said than done!
To meet this challenge Jeff and his team developed one of the first prospect scoring tools (Zebra scoring) and ROI/TCO calculators designed to diagnose and quantify potential sales opportunities and financially justify the new solution as well as the Baan ERP solutions, with a professional business case. Feedback from customers like Ford Motor Company, Snap-on Tools, and Boeing was immediate and highly positive. Results were impressive. Sales grew tenfold over 3 years.
Jeff and the team knew they were on to something with this new selling approach and left after growing Baan’s revenue to over $750m, to form Selling to Zebras (STZ). STZ is the first SaaS company to package an ROI/TCO based methodology with the voice of the customer, sales coaching, and opportunity scoring. STZ created a challenger approach to sales with bottom-line financial justification long before the notion became popular. The result is an intuitive go-to-market sales force automation system that is value-based and business issue-driven.
Our Company Today
Over several years Jeff gained the nickname “the Zebra Man”, and today with a dedicated group of software developers and business professionals, headed up by Tom Bowe and Brent Nauer, the team has released multiple versions of the Selling to Zebras™ software, the platform that sales reps love presenting from and is used by hundreds of companies and thousands of users.
(Get ready for a few buzz words – sorry.) Sales reps present directly to customers on our SaaS, Amazon Web Services (AWS) hosted, cloud-based, multi-tenant software platform, leveraging customized presentation materials based on intelligent inputs from meetings and ad hoc discussions during the buying cycle (and some data is automatically collected using AI). The perfect prospect is defined by the software, with the attributes that make prospects a perfect match visible, openly discussed, scored and next steps collaboratively established. The experience created is one of the buyers enjoying participation in a buying cycle; not a sales cycle. When sellers conclude a meeting with a prospect, the CRM system (like Salesforce, if applicable) is updated by the Selling to Zebras™ software in REAL TIME.
Success Leads to More Success
The Selling to Zebras™ artificial intelligence (AI) software understands the attributes of your Zebra and is, therefore, able to find additional Zebras within your target market to pursue next. Over time the AI engine learns the critical business issues which lead to higher probabilities of success. Every sales cycle is started in a little better place, with automagical intelligence.
Forecasts are 90% accurate as a result. Real-time software, always on, always up-to-date, because sales reps sell from the platform, which ensures sellers, sales managers, and executive management are ready for a business review anywhere anytime.
The pain associated with a shrinking forecast as the end-of-quarter draws to a close is eliminated. Buyers are happier. Sellers are happier. The organization is aligned around solving critical business issues and creating value for new and existing customers.
The world is a better place as a result of more sellers selling to zebras!
Do you Zebra?
JamieIrvine.ca is a proud strategic partner of Selling to Zebras. We have shared this blog post with our community in the hopes that it will inspire companies to investigate the Selling to Zebras system. If you would like to read the book Selling to Zebras (US residents only) please click here and use promo code Jamie Irvine. The book is free and all you pay is a reduced shipping fee of $2.99. If you are in Canada, please contact me.