Blue Marble Media Shows How Mid-Market Selling Gains New Life Via Ariba Discovery
Blue Marble Media Shows How Mid-Market Selling GainsNew Life Via Ariba DiscoveryTranscript of a BrieﬁngsDirect podcast on how spot-buying capabilities can increase leads andsales for a small company.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Sponsor: Ariba, an SAP CompanyDana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to a special BrieﬁngsDirect podcast series coming to youfrom the 2013 Ariba LIVE Conference in Washington, D.C.Were here in the week of May 6 to explore the latest in collaborative commerce and to learn howinnovative companies are tapping into the networked economy. Well see howthey are improving their business productivity and sales, along with buildingfar-reaching relationships with new partners and customers.Im Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and Ill be yourhost throughout the series of Ariba-sponsored BrieﬁngsDirect discussions.[Disclosure: Ariba, an SAP company, is a sponsor of BrieﬁngsDirect podcasts.]Our innovator case study today focuses on Blue Marble Media in Atlanta, and how theyve beenusing spot-buying capabilities on the Ariba Network and Ariba Discovery to ﬁnd a new saleschannel and new clients.Please join me in welcoming our guest to learn more about how agile procurement is working forthem on the sell side. Were joined by Cal Miller, Vice President of Business Development atBlue Marble Media. Welcome, Cal.Cal Miller: Thanks very much for having me.Gardner: Tell us a little bit about your company -- yoursize, what services and products you provide -- and wellstart to learn more about how youre selling in a new andinnovative way.Miller: Even though were very, very small, less than $2 million in revenue, we have clients likeGeorgia-Paciﬁc, Verizon, Ariba, and the CDC. We work with a lot of medium-sized companiesand even startups, very small ones. So the whole planet is our opportunity, if you will. Wedevelop video, motion graphics, and animation for sales support, marketing, corporatecommunications, and just about any type of visual presentation that you might need.Gardner: And is this a large and growing market? Is this not something you are easily able totap into? Why would you need to go through non-traditional channels to get new business?
Miller: Actually, it’s a very overcrowded supplier sector. Were a little different in that were aturnkey provider. Were not just a “video house.” There are many of those out there, and theyregood ﬁrms, but were much more strategic. We do well when we begin a project and can interfaceat a C level with a company and help them come up with the strategy and the solution thateventually drives the message.Our strength quite often is something that people don’t know is even out there. One of the realbeneﬁts we found out early on Ariba Discovery is we can help educate people on the process oflooking for companies like us and then hopefully they are going to say, "Okay, well call youback."Halfway to goalGardner: As someone who is already on the Ariba Network, they need to know and need toacquire, so theyre halfway to ﬁnding the goal. Youre going to need to go halfway toward themwith your speciﬁc differentiating value and make that understood.This notion of spot buying however expands that, it allows more than just a structuredprocurement professional who is looking for services and extends this down to people who aredoing ad hoc, occasional, once-in-a-blue-moon types of buying. How has that worked out? Tellme a little bit more about how you even got involved with Ariba Discovery and spot buying atall?Miller: In our world, spot buying is probably half of our total business. Even large companiesmay only have a need for a high-proﬁle video series once a year, two times a year,or every other year. So the people that are charged with developing that solutionquite often arent the people who are going to be writing the check or making theprocurement, and vice versa.So the real challenge there is to get these people to understand that there is avetting process. Ariba has provided this service, so a company like us can sit upand say, "Hey, were a little different than the other guys. Let’s engage and startsome dialogue."Gardner: What has been the result? Let’s learn ﬁrst about how long youve been doing this?What’s the timeline on how you have been using Discovery and extending that to that spotbuying type of clientele?Miller: It will be a year in a couple of weeks. We took a few months to learn the system, rampup, and get going, but weve already had a very nice project and contract from a national bankthat came through the network. And we have kind of a follow-up project with them. So that willbe additional revenue.
We have several opportunities that have been presented to us and we are in different stages ofdeveloping those projects as they move forward.Even on a few of the introductions that weve passed up, weve made a response, but we knew itwasn’t a good ﬁt. Weve learned that you still need to respond, because you get that opportunityto almost simulate a face-to-face meeting, because they get to learn about you, and yourebuilding a relationship.One of the biggest challenges that people on this network dont realize is to not look at yourcomputer screen like it’s just another interface computer screen. Youre looking through the eyesof Ariba at a real, live person on the other end- who can write you a check, and that changes thedynamic of how you communicate through the Network.Gardner: And if it’s not a right ﬁt for them, they might have a word-of-mouth, community, orsocial connection with someone that they could refer you to. So there are concentric circles ofengagement.Circles of engagementMiller: That happens very often, especially with the larger companies. It’s, "These guys cando this. Here, give them a call in three months or pass this on to Joe, because they are going toneed this." That’s worth its weight in gold. You can’t get that by knocking on the door orshooting out a bevy of emails. It just doesn’t happen.Gardner: Now, as a mid-market company, a smaller company, you are of course price consciousyourself. What was the spend experience when you got involved with Ariba? How did you stepinto the water?Miller: We had been a supplier to Ariba for about a year and a half, and then it was suggestedthat we needed to be on the network. We looked at it and started at the basic level. Within aboutfour months, we realized that this is really a good deal. So I spent a lot of time learning moreabout it, and we immediately upgraded to the Premium Advantage level. Its the best investmentwe ever made.Gardner: So this was sort of a crawl-walk-run approach, where you didn’t have to spend untilyou had the commensurate revenue to back it and make it logical?Miller: Yes. And for us as a small company, and many of you listening may be able to identifywith this, we have all these different marketing and sales-support options out there, and they areall good tools in their own right. But if you have limited time and budget, to me it was a no-brainer. This is the best way to make use of our time, get the quality of leads that we need, andmake the contacts that were looking for at a C level.
Gardner: And that seems to be especially the case when an organization like yours has asigniﬁcant, maybe even a majority, portion of your sales in that ad-hoc spot-buying type ofengagement.Miller: Very well summarized, Dana. Thats very true. For a company like us, we would love toget ongoing contracts, but in our world and with the product and service we offer, it doesn’tcome that way. So spot buying is going to be the focus of how we utilize our partnership withAriba.Gardner: When you live quarter to quarter and you have to roll that rock back up the hill, it’snice to have a partner to help you.Miller: Absolutely. I wish this had been around 20 years ago.Gardner: Very good. Well have to leave it there, Im afraid. Weve been talking about how themounting need for spot buying is beneﬁting companies who are selling into that type ofengagement.Id like to thank our guest for joining us. Were here with Cal Miller, Vice President of BusinessDevelopment at Blue Marble Media in Atlanta. Thank you, Cal.Miller: Thank you very much. Enjoyed it.Gardner: And thanks to our audience for joining this special podcast coming to you from the2013 Ariba LIVE Conference in Washington, D.C.Im Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host throughout the series ofAriba sponsored BrieﬁngsDirect discussions. Thanks again for listening, and come back nexttime.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Sponsor: Ariba, an SAP CompanyTranscript of a BrieﬁngsDirect podcast on how spot-buying capabilities can increase leads andsales for a small company. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2013. All rights reserved. You may also be interested in:• The Networked Economy Newly Forges Innovation Forces for Collaboration in Businessand Commerce, Says Author Zach Tumin• Collboration-Enhanced Procurement and AP Automation Maximize Productivity andProﬁt Gains in Networked Economy, Says Aribas Drew Hoﬂer• Ariba Network Helps Cox Enterprises Manage Procurement Across Six Different ERPSystems• Ariba CMO Tim Minahan on how networked economy beneﬁts spring from improvedbusiness commerce and cloud processes
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