CNET Channel: ROI Sales Tool Development

CNET Channel is the leading provider of structured and standardized product catalog data for online merchants, e-tailers, and VARs. With offerings ranging from its flagship service DataSource to the ASP-based ChannelOnline, CNET Channel provides information on over 40,000 products from over 2,500 manufacturers, for products ranging from enterprise IT products to consumer electronics.

Business problem
In late 2004 the CNET Channel sales force was requesting sales tools to better articulate the economic value proposition of its products. These tools needed both to educate business decision makers on the value proposition of CNET Channel products, and to provide an ROI framework for the internal customer champion to sell CNET Channel within the organization.

Ed started by interviewing key managers within CNET Channel including sales, marketing, and executive managers. He then built an ROI spreadsheet model for each product, DataSource and ChannelOnline, to capture the bottom-line benefits delivered to the customer. The models had inputs pre-populated with industry-standard benchmark data that could also be over-written to tailor the analysis to the customer’s specific situation. This was followed by validation interviews with key customers.

Ed then wrote a white paper for each product’s ROI model containing an overview of the CNET Channel product, a discussion of the ROI components and solution costs, and a sample ROI calculation.

Ed also created a subset of the calculations in the detailed ROI model to be used as the basis for a CNET Channel online ROI calculator. Finally, Ed provided sales training as CNET Channel rolled the tools out.

The CNET Channel marketing team rolled the ROI tools for the DataSource product out to the sales organization in early 2005. The rollout was highly successful, generating great excitement from the sales team, so much so that CNET Channel requested that Callan Consulting fast-track development of the ChannelOnline tools to get them to the field as quickly as possible.