“The Second Sale”

April 12, 2018
by Jim Jarrett


In our last blog, we described the ‘Prodigal Principle’ – why some customers come back to ANCILE uPerform after they realize that it’s uniquely positioned to help them create, manage, and distribute software learning content for hundreds of thousands of employees around the globe. And while it’s gratifying that they came back, it does pre-suppose that there was a first sale.

Every organization has their reasons and methodologies for choosing the solutions they do. Some have formalized RFPs (requests for proposals), while others will only really evaluate one solution and make a “go/no-go” decision. In fact, in some cases, our biggest competitors are “no decision” or “we’ll do it ourselves”.

What was fascinating at our Employee Summit, held in Baltimore, Maryland, the last week of February, was to get insights into the ways some of our customers and partners made their purchase (or partnering) decisions.

In one case, a new customer, a software company themselves, evaluated 11 different solutions before they made the decision to go with ANCILE uPerform. In the end, it wasn’t a hard decision, because the vast majority of tools in the marketplace simply did not meet their minimum requirement – that the solution not be limited to an HTML5 environment. As a seller of both Saas and on-premise solutions, this customer needed the flexibility to be able to create content in either environment. When they made their final selection, it was uPerform’s single source (XML) file format, version management, abilities to distribute content across enterprise systems, and the analytic capabilities to track content consumption that put uPerform in the “win” column.

performance support software

In the other case, a new partner (one we can’t even announce yet!) had this very interesting, and simple, framework to make their solution selection:

  • Does it have a “solution” fit?
  • Does it have a “commercial” fit?
  • Does it have a “heart” fit?

While we live and breathe the first one, and the second one, where we’re being evaluated on our accounts and user base, is one we often face when signing on a new partner, the third one is one we don’t often hear, particularly from some of the huge companies we do business with. Heart fit is a measure of the “feeling” between the two companies. Will we enjoy doing business together? Do we share similar values? Do we share a vision for where we could go together. Do our people “synch”? I’m glad to report that our guest said that ANCILE “nailed it” on these measures, and, I have to admit, it feels pretty good to win in that way.

A final thought I found very interesting was the concept of “the second sale”, and it was expressed, in different ways, by almost all of our guest speakers. For most organizations, the purchase of a solution like ANCILE uPerform is only the starting line. The next big job is selling it across the organization. It is perhaps a little ironic that we, a company that talks a lot about user adoption, must also face the challenge of being adopted by the user base. Now, for most users, they’re not even aware they’re using uPerform, which can show up as perhaps a floating question mark or an extra option on their help menu. What we find, however, is that many of our customers are so excited about our product, they “evangelize” it throughout the organization as a way to quickly and easily capture the subject matter expertise across departments, or to localize content so more of their associates can take advantage of learning content, or to leverage uPerform for one of the hundred or more enterprise applications it works with. We are very fortunate to have these evangelists, and we only have them because they fervently believe in (and have witnessed) the value and power that uPerform brings their companies.

We’re so very glad we win on the “second sale”, too.

Once again, a big thank you to our panelists and guests from Cargill, IPG, General Motors, Jonas Software, and more for their time and their insights during the ANCILE Employee Summit 2017!

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