Apparently, the SEC has raised prices by 5%. This has caused sales leaders to ask “Is the membership worth it?” I am a two time former member of @CEB_SEC, while leading sales forces at EMC and Recall. I interact with their current members daily. Some of my clients feel this perspective qualifies me to have a point of view as to whether they should renew. In response, here is how I would make a decision on renewing an existing membership to the Sales Executive Council.
5 Criteria to Evaluate a Membership Renewal with the Sales Executive Council
1- Proof of Value – calculate the increase in revenue your company generated that can be directly attributed to the membership. The productivity of your sales force should have improved, resulting in a revenue lift. This revenue lift needs to have been more than the cost of the membership.
2- Ability to Execute – determine if the best practices accessed through the membership were implemented on time, within budget, and with high quality standards. The Sales Executive Council provides “must have research, data, analytics, and content”. They are not a consulting company. This means it is up to you to execute implementation. Did your company execute the best practices?
3- Time to Get Results – figure out if the benefits realized from the membership were realized inside the term of the membership. SEC memberships are 12 months in duration. Profit= Revenue – Costs. Revenue and costs need to be matched. The revenue gain from the membership needs to have been realized inside of 12 months.
4- Staff Time Investment – calculate the cost of your staff’s time tied to the implementation of the membership best practices. For example, if a sales operations manager costs the company $100k, and 50% of his time was consumed to SEC inspired projects, this cost your company an additional $50k. Add this cost to the membership cost. The revenue benefit from the projects needs to be greater than the cost of the membership plus the cost of your staff’s time.
5- Disruption Costs – determine the degree of disruption associated with projects launched derived from the membership. The best practices made available come with no customization. This means that your sales force needs to take an industry/company/product agnostic idea and customize it to fit the uniqueness of your business. This is a lot of work. Determine if the level of disruption is reasonable.
The Corporate Executive Board, the company who provides the Sales Executive Council, has 5,378 members as of Q2 2011. The average member invests $84,900 with them each year. If members were not getting value, they could not put up these numbers. They are providing lots of value.
“Wallet Retention”, the metric they report to Wall Street to measure membership health, is 103% (looks like they are getting the price increase). They are an exceptional company who boasts EBITDA margins of 22%. In fact, they are so skilled, that they get sales leaders like you to pay your fees in advance. Maybe I should join again to learn that best practice. My clients tie our sales consulting fees to key project dates and milestones, which seems fair to us.
- $85k is a lot of money and this price is going up 3-5% per year. Spend it if you can prove it generated lots of revenue. For some, an $85k fee is equal to the cost of a rep who will sell $850k in annual revenue. Does your membership generate the same revenue as an additional rep would?
- If you renew, plan on adding staff to sales ops, or hiring a sales consulting firm. Someone has to implement. If the best practices don’t get implemented, what’s the point?
In the final analysis, if I were you, would I renew?
Maybe this is why so many sales leaders buy a Sales Executive Council membership and hire our sales consulting firm. 1 + 1 = 5.