"The average sale price for our software was $190,000...
Our average sales price over two years is now over $600,000"

Kevin Calderwood
Former President
Vivisimo Inc.

Prior to its purchase by IBM, Vivisimo was a leading provider of federated discovery and navigation software. In the months leading up to the IBM acquisition, Vivisimo had implemented the sales process improvement system known as ZEBRAselling which resulted in a dramatic rise in sales and revenue.


Vivisimo, which was founded in 2000, developed and sold software products to improve search on the web and in enterprises. Despite the fact that it offered innovative, award-winning products, for years its sales were not what management knew they could be. As a result, in 2008 Vivisimo contracted with Selling to Zebras to improve its sales process.

The Challenge

Enterprise-level software is a significant investment for companies. Sales cycles tend to be long and complex with many people, departments and management levels represented in negotiations. And product differentiation can be difficult. Consequently, sales cycles often end in non-decision.

The Results

The ZEBRAselling methodology was introduced at Vivisimo in October, 2008. Salespeople quickly learned how to identify their perfect prospect, engage the person with budget-level authority early in the process and sell the product’s business value rather than its features and benefits. This represented a seismic change for a sales team that had traditionally pitched products to mid-level technology managers. But Vivisimo saw fast and dramatic results. Sales increased significantly within three quarters and over the course of thirty months:

  • Average sales price increased more than 400%
  • Installed base revenue increased 55%
  • Year-over-year revenue increased 31%

Vivisimo achieved these results because ZEBRAselling changed its sales paradigm. The company no longer competed feature-for-feature with its competitors. It didn’t chase every prospect or respond to every RFP. Instead, Vivisimo sought out its most desirable prospects, got access early on to executives with budget authority and spoke in a language that they understood – business value.


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