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Top Observations: Where Suppliers are Winning

Key themes and trends revealed through the study of thousands of client deal engagements. Discussion will include the most common areas where suppliers are controlling and winning deals, and best practices for clients to actively manage deal leverage and maximize negotiating strength from traditional on-prem agreements to new Cloud licensing arrangements.

  1. Losing control of critical information is the #1 issue large organizations face with suppliers, and buyers must prep all stakeholders on what not to share and how to answer uncomfortable questions

  2. Suppliers are able to dominate even the most mature sourcing organizations.  A review of a fortune 10 client revealed a majority of deals were started late with little to no leverage available.

  3. Poor contract language from previous agreements can produce massive headaches on renewals. Be sure to review all contracts well before renewal for potential landmines.

  4. Building a Business as Usual (BAU) spending model is the first step to controlling the deal agenda. Buyers cannot allow suppliers to control the deal valuation.

Cost, Risk, & The Promise of the Cloud

The explosive growth of cloud computing is driving significant change in contracting standards and practices, and creating new challenges for IT Sourcing professionals. This session covers the most common client challenges and offers best practices when negotiating SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS contracts.

  1. Inherent risks in cloud contracts and how to mitigate

  2. The important of early alignment with the Business Unit to control message and maintain leverage

  3. How to achieve pricing transparency and best-in-class contract terms

  4. Exploring multi-supplier solutions and environments to exert pricing pressure

  5. How to distinguish “Cloud 1st” from “Cloud Thirst” strategy

Forecast & Spend Modeling Bootcamp

An accurate spending model is the foundation of every winning deal strategy. This session demonstrates the importance of cutting through inertia to collect the key demand data needed to build your own, conservative multi-year Spending Model. Armed with this model, buyers can take control of the deal agenda from the start,  and avoid the common pitfalls which result from following the supplier’s lead.

  1. There are many different varieties of Enterprise License Agreements (ELAs) for software. Understand the differences and buy the right one for you.

  2. Despite vendor marketing about value and convenience, the buyer almost always bears the risk in any ELA commitment; the vendor eliminates any uncertainty or competition for your spend

  3. Clients must have an accurate BAU before the negotiation so that they understand demand and TCO over 3-5 years, and buy only needed products and quantities.

  4. Build your own BAU with your own demand; do not accept the vendor’s inflated model.

  5. Be conservative: do not buy “shelfware” that you do not need - and will never deploy.

Sales Targets & Tactics

Professional sales people use well-developed selling methodologies to capture customer revenue. In this session, you will get a behind-the-scenes look at the strategies and tactics that suppliers use to maximize leverage and pricing throughout a transaction.

Sales Targets and Tactics draws upon decades of senior-level sales experience to provide insight into the world of complex solution selling. By understanding how sales teams work, buyers learn to win the pricing game -- even with their legacy suppliers.

  1. Strategies used by IT suppliers in a sales campaign

  2. Sales tactics used to forecast and close deals

  3. How sales teams maximize revenue and profit from long-term customers

  4. Techniques that prevent customers from inspecting their deals

  5. Factors that affect pricing metrics, discounts, and levels of service

  6. Ways to out-maneuver the sales teams

  7. How to implement a value-based approach to buying technology

  8. How to achieve best pricing while maintaining positive relationships

Audit Preparation & Defense

Software audits can be disruptive and expensive. Suppliers use audits to drive revenue, gain visibility into product use, and to push new product offerings or cloud solutions as a way to address compliance issues. This session will go beyond SAM tools and review proactive compliance best practices to mitigate the risk of audits..

  1. Auditors have an advantage because licensing is complex and constantly changing (new products, technologies, license rules, metrics, contract terms, etc.)

  2. Most organizations lack an effective software asset management program due to decentralized purchasing, non aligned groups and stakeholders, and lack of priority and ownership over software asset management

  3. Tools may be unable to identify the information needed, relying on bad sources, not covering every machine, not covering user based licensing, leading to manual reporting or estimating.

Controlling the Compelling Event

Sales teams have developed many tactics to uncover a buyer’s “compelling event,” from installing systems engineers on site to “help” your IT staff, to inviting your leaders to execute golf outings. The supplier is always and actively working to figure out how much the client values its solution. Buyers must actively manage and protect the compelling event to guard sensitive information from aggressive sales teams. This workshop offers proven techniques to ensure that internal teams communicate the right messages and define the “compelling event” properly to achieve more competitive pricing and value.

  1. Why it is critical to manage and control information flow between internal groups and sales teams

  2. The five questions every sales team wants answered

  3. How to uncover information from your sales teams that can help strengthen your leverage and set the agenda

  4. Understanding the three main components that compromise the compelling event

  5. Strategies to effectively shield the compelling event from suppliers

Battling Supplier Incumbency

Once an IT supplier establishes itself as a standard in your organization, it creates a “pricing gap” forcing you to pay above-market prices. The vendor assumes you will renew and fixes pricing accordingly. This session helps buyers understand how suppliers maintain and strengthen their position in a customer environment. We will share techniques to inspect these commitments periodically to reduce costs. We will show you how to identify incumbent supplier franchises, challenge the status quo of incumbent solutions, and capture value without damaging relationships.

  1. Why incumbency leads to higher pricing over time

  2. How supplier sales organizations have evolved from selling products to defending high margin accounts

  3. Strategies employed by suppliers to defend their entrenched positions

  4. How suppliers build valuable franchises inside organizations to protect annual revenue streams

  5. How to assess the value of a standard and identify when that premium becomes too costly

  6. Steps buyers can take to combat incumbency

  7. How to co-opt suppliers sales strategies to create leverage and level the playing field

Stakeholder Alignment Workshop

Many clients are challenged to maintain effective communication among IT professionals, buying teams, and business leaders. Sales teams exploit this inefficiency by maintaining open lines of communication across a buyer’s organization. Sales teams are highly motivated to uncover information. Sharing information is natural when it will advance the personal or team goals, roles, and responsibilities of team members. But these seemingly innocuous discussions can have significant impact upon the eventual negotiation.

This session brings together a cross-functional IT and buying team to discuss the challenges, roles, and responsibilities across the organization and then to develop strategies to improve internal communication and alignment. All team members influencing a spending event must understand each other’s roles and align their efforts to ensure critical information is protected from getting into the wrong hands. This is a monumental challenge when internal teams cannot communicate effectively.

  1. Effective communication skills among peers and team members

  2. Aligning team to maximize strengths and expertise

  3. Improving relationships and cross-functional communications

  4. Developing internal communication governance models

  5. Aligning to defend against sales teams’ “Divide & Conquer” strategy

Where Buyers Lose Leverage in an RFP

When properly executed, a Request for Proposal (RFP) can be a powerful tool for deal-makers to maintain competition in the buying process, acquire the optimal solution and secure best-in-class pricing. This session reviews where buyers misuse this tool, resulting in lost leverage, less competition, and higher pricing.

  1. Run RFIs and RFPs separately.  Combining these unique tools will link your technical considerations with the price of the solution.

  2. Users often “fall in love” with a product during a Proof of concept (POC). Pricing must be negotiated prior to POC.

  3. Do not include requirement in an RFP that can only be met by one vendor. Allow vendors to outline their solution, and use language that creates uncertainty.

  4. Understand who owns the RFP process. IT may be in charge, but Sourcing needs a seat at the table.

Evolving Nature of the SaaS Deal

As solutions like Salesforce, ServiceNow, and Workday continue to expand their product offerings across enterprise organizations and into specific industry verticals, it becomes more difficult to switch from these industry leading suppliers. This session reviews why and how SaaS providers are moving in this direction and ways to protect yourself from lock-in.

  1. Specific risks in cloud contracts depend on the business purpose, the critical nature of the solution, and the data that is exchanged, stored and maintained by the provider.

  2. Early alignment with the Business Unit is critical in a SaaS deal to control messaging and maintain leverage.

  3. Having a documented and aligned messaging strategy will drive how much leverage you have throughout the deal cycle.

  4. Secure pricing transparency and advantageous business terms when you have the most leverage.

Top 5 “Gotchas!” In any IT Contract

From Akamai to Zscaler and every supplier in between, pricing information and sales motivations only tell half the story. This session will review inspection techniques that work for any deal, with examples from our Analytics Team including standard contract language, common pitfalls and best-in-class renegotiated language.

  1. Bundled quotes are difficult to evaluate, and lack key information needed to protect your organization at renewal time.

  2. Renewal language can be vague and misleading.  Make sure you understand exactly what your rights will be at contract end.

  3. Buyers must negotiate price holds and understand included products, metrics, discounts, length and minimum purchase requirements.

  4. Change in control language can make or break a contract in the event of a M&A or divestiture.  Make sure your rights are clear.

  5. Audit language is often overlooked as standard, but is highly negotiable.  Document who is paying, the timeline for payments, and price protection for audit findings.

Building an Effective Messaging Plan

How to build a story around your deal context, understand the dynamics of supplier forecasts, and anticipate the supplier’s likely response to your message. Session highlights include: • The key components of a messaging plan • The importance of aligning your message to positively influence your sources of leverage

  1. All good messages positively impact one or more of our 3 sources of leverage: Timing, Plan Bs and Uncertainty

  2. The sales team’s reaction is based on one thing: how the message will impact their forecast

  3. The intent, likely reaction and expected outcome of any message should be understood before its delivery

  4. All stakeholders must be aware of and aligned with the messaging strategy; one weak link and the strategy can fail

IT Services Best Practices

This session helps buyers improve results and minimize risk in IT services transactions. We will examine various types of services, including outsourcing options, professional services, projects, cloud and labor. We will discuss ways to build consistency into the service buying process. We will share vendor tactics, the benefits of proactive deal set-up, and ways to derive value and better customer service from your providers.

IT Services Best Practices draws upon decades of senior-level sales experience to provide insight into the world of complex solution selling. The session focuses heavily on SOW best practices as a vehicle to assess and mitigate risk in any type of service engagement.

  1. The five goals of a successful services contract

  2. How to determine if fixed or variable pricing is the best fit for your project

  3. How to deconstruct the elements which determine service pricing

  4. How to avoid overpaying for resources including warning signs, assumptions and traps

  5. How to use the Statement of Work (SOW) and the services contract to reveal value gaps

  6. Where to inspect for risk in the contract

  7. Key contract and SOW considerations

Controlling the Negotiation

Sales teams are always negotiating, even while mining for information. They are trained to never answer an unasked question, and work constantly to maximize the price across the entire buying campaign. In this session, attendees will learn how suppliers systematically uncover information about the buyer’s needs, budget, and plan to acquire a new solution. Led by a former sales executive with 20+ years’ experience, attendees will get a behind-the-scenes look at suppliers’ negotiation tactics and deal set-up. Once you understand the sales team’s mindset, you will be better equipped to control the negotiation process.

  1. Why sales teams set up deals early in the buying process

  2. Personality traits of the best sales negotiators, and how to counteract them

  3. How sales teams align their efforts to maximize returns

  4. Common sales techniques used to uncover information and close deals

  5. Best practices to guard your critical information

  6. Negotiation tactics and real world examples

Meet Your Counterpart

IT vendors play a strategic sales game that leaves little room for error or negotiation. Their sales teams are highly trained to overcome hurdles and deliver revenue, and in most cases, buyers are no match for their seasoned methodology. The sales team’s compensation and employment depend upon results. In this session, IT buyers will get an inside look at how vendor sales teams run deals and maximize value. You’ll learn what motivates sales representatives and how their organizations direct them to increase profit margins with customers over time.

Meet Your Counterpart draws upon our decades of senior-level sales experience to provide insight into the world of complex solution sales. We will discuss vendor compensation models, forecasting systems, sales methodologies, and incentives used to drive financial results. Examples from the field will be provided.

  1. How to identify the behavior of successful sales professionals

  2. How sales organizations measure success

  3. What happens when they miss projections

  4. The mechanics of sales quotas

  5. Factors that affect sales strategies, price and closing techniques

  6. Terms and conditions that are always negotiable