Investment Decision for
The executive team at WE-CAN Technologies is considering investing in the development of videos to drive growth through its channel partners.
They asked Max Wilson, Director of Marketing, at WE-CAN Technologies, to develop an execution plan, (Chapter One). Max has already sent an email that validates the number of videos that would have to be developed, (Chapter Two), and an email that outlines a pragmatic approach to developing the videos, (Chapter Three).
The executive team knows that not all good ideas are worth doing. They asked Max to recommend decision criteria for evaluating the investment. Getting alignment on the decision criteria sets baseline expectations that the execution plan must meet. These inputs are important to the design of the final execution plan and operating budget.
Max sent the following email with his recommendations to his boss, Jim Everett VP of Marketing at WE-CAN Technologies, for review.
I have put together the following structure for the decision criteria and explanation for the executive team. I have also provided initial commentary on each of the evaluation areas.
Decision Criteria Structure:
I. Strategic impact: How does this investment help our organization achieve its core goals impacting revenue, financial strength, focus on core competencies, and sustaining growth?
II. Cost / benefit or return on investment: How does the scope of the initiative and the required investment aligned with other investments and expenditures? What is the impact on investment requirements, time to benefit, cash-flow, and ROI? Current initiative ROI hurdle rates of 15% will be used in the analysis.
III. Risks: What risks should we be aware of that have to be addressed in the execution plan?
We developed our channel program to extend our reach into niche markets by leveraging the sales networks of our partners. Our solution provides our partners opportunities to not only sell a quality solution, for which we provide them a commission, but also to sell services into their niche markets. Our partners reduce our investment in developing these markets as well as the investment in hiring and training an expanded sales force.
Our investment in the channel has focused on developing effective partnership relationships and providing sales support in developing their deals. The return on investments in the channel has been very good. The focus of the video initiative is to increase the already substantial leverage we get by working with partners.
I. Strategic Impact: Developing videos for the channel to use in marketing and sales produces several benefits for the channel strategy.
- Channel lead generation and nurturing: Our partners need content to support their lead generation and lead nurturing programs. Most partners do not have the time or resources to develop quality content for these purposes. Our co-branded videos can be the core content they use to build their pipelines. Enabling partners to shift lead generation efforts to marketing to reduce the time expensive sales people spend on generating leads drives down the average cost of leads and sales. For additional insights into this opportunity, click here.
- Product Training: Retention of product training is always a challenge even in the best training programs. Providing short videos to partner sales people to refresh their understanding of how their buyers’ problems are addressed by our solution will help them prepare for sales calls.
- Right voice Messaging: Sales people are not always credible when answering questions outside of their perceived expertise. Technology, financial, or customer experience questions are examples of questions that are better answered by an expert voice. Short expert-voice videos can be delivered to buyers by front line sales people to address these questions in a timely way. I have attached a 2 minute video on second voice vignettes.
- Reduced sales support expense: We provide sales call support using subject matter experts and technical experts two or more times in a sales cycle. Using videos we can reduce our partners’ dependency on our experts, particularly for early stage sales calls.
II. Cost / Benefit Analysis: The investment to produce videos for the channel builds upon other investments and expenditures associated with our direct sales programs. The defined scope of the channel video investments is limited to the direct costs of supporting the channel. The cost benefit financial analysis will be developed using that assumption.
- Investment versus Periodic Expense: The video content assets are designed to be maintained and managed to have a long asset life. Traditional campaign or product launch content typically has an asset life of three to four months. We expect the asset life for these video modules to last two to three years. For decision making purposes, the cost of the video modules could be thought of as an investment in assets depreciated over two years, not as periodic expenses.
- Leveraged Cost: The channel video program leverages the market research and customer content framework we use in our direct sales channel. This will allow us to produce partner content at a leveraged cost, 75-85% of standard core module cost. This approach will reduce the initial investment, time to deployment, time to becoming cash flow positive, and increase ROI.
- Benefits/Timing: The financial impact of the benefits listed above, once calculated, is expected to increase the performance of the channel strategy growing both our top line and bottom line results. These benefits can begin to be realized as soon as the video assets are deployed.
III. Risks: There are risks involved that have to be recognized and managed.
- Partner Adoption: Providing partners with videos for marketing and selling doesn’t mean that they will use them. We will have to collaborate with them in the development of video use cases and provide support for using the videos effectively. As adoption proceeds we will need to keep the success stories visible across the partners and closely monitor partner adoption.
- Internal Process Changes: Our partner program has been well supported by our subject matter experts and our sales support organization. While we want to continue to maintain the personal relationships with channel partners we also want to reduce their dependency on us.We need to ensure our experts and support people understand and support this change. We will include them through the acquisition of their insights in our video production process. We will also work with them and the partners on the video use case development.
I believe the evaluation approach for this channel video program will allow it to be objectively compared with other growth investment alternatives. Let me know if the executive team has any questions.
As soon as we develop our approach to partner collaboration for this program and the operating budget we will be ready for the executive review process.