Case Study
$2B Public Enterprise Software Company Drives Pervasive Improvement in Sales Performance

Key Factors

One of the “Big 3” of enterprise management software, together with IBM, CA
Long business cycle dominated by sales and engineering; struggles with top-line growth
Siloed customer awareness of Company’s offering was limiting “at bats” for the sales team
Company usually won if it was invited to RFPs, so being “top of mind” with customers was key

Business Challenges

Net New Deals and Net New Logos

Company was doing business with 70 percent of the Fortune 1000, but top line growth meant selling to more companies, not just deepening the company’s share of wallet amongst the existing customer base.

One-Trick Pony on Margin

Company had sacrificed growth to a robust margin and EPS play. Wall Street’s investment thesis for the organization centered on exceptional margin performance, and the Company was loathe to significantly increase go-to-market expenses to try to drive growth.

Erratic Sales Velocity and Funnel Performance

A key performance issue was the ongoing struggle for funnel performance. Average deal velocity ranged from 6-12 months. Deal slippage was routine, and if it had not been for the large “annuity” represented by license maintenance revenue, the volatility would have been even more pronounced.

Broader Portfolio Adoption

Company had a large enterprise software portfolio spanning mainframe and distributed computing. Many customers had purchased a slice of that portfolio, and greater penetration was crucial to revenue growth and margin expansion.

Strong Sales Bias

Starting with the CEO, who was a former sales leader, there was a very strong cultural belief that “feet on the street” was the only lever that mattered to sales productivity and company performance. Sales was expected to do a lot of their own lead generation, so cost of sales was extremely high. For years, marketing and communications expense had been reduced YoY in order to fund more new sales reps.

Marketing & Communications Challenges


Ungoverned $60M+ annual Marketing & Communications budget. Little instrumentation or data, and no strategy or framework for insight or effective strategy.

Communications was a Green Field Opportunity

The Company had never had a substantive PR, Social and Analyst Relations effort. Company leaders knew they wanted it, but weren’t sure what it could deliver or how much to invest in it.

Marketing Not Seen as Strategic

Marketing was a tactical “utility” whose contribution to lead generation was taken for granted unless there was an “outage”.

Lack of Market and Audience Awareness

Marketing and communications absorbed the company’s inside-out perspective and agenda, limiting its effectiveness with audiences.

Deployment and Expansion

The first deployment of an early-stage Proof System. During the next four years, the system continued to be improved and expanded based on feedback from 600+ Fortune 1000 business leaders, including business leaders and board members.

Results and ROI

The Proof System was recognized internally with an innovation award. The influence of the communications teams within the company had strengthened significantly. Team members, including outside agencies and contractors, were compensated to a large degree based on the cause-and-effect relationships between their functional performance and business impact.

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