When meeting with C-level executives or a VP of Sales or Operations, I am often asked how and when to introduce selling value to their sales team. They all believe in the importance of creating a value-based sales strategy, but they struggle with its implementation.
The elephant in the room centers around developing a go-to market strategy driving new and expansion business, which ultimately supports revenue targets. Most sales leader focus efforts on hiring and growing sales team and implementing sales enablement strategy but solution value is always critical.
So why is “value” seen as important but not an immediate priority? Most sales leaders would prioritize it to the top if it was as easy as creating assessments and/or value calculators to quickly understand the financial gain a customer may achieve.
Unfortunately, value programs don’t often have a clear owner and most see them as complex. Constructing a value practice is often shadowed by lack of immediate visible success. The reality of “value” is that it takes time to develop.
So where should a value strategy begin? Sales often uses a single lens by focusing efforts on an organization within a customer. This strategy is common and has success in traditional “land and expand” strategies.
Selling value uses multiple lenses when establishing a solution strategy and usually takes into account multiple organizations within a customer. Again, this takes time to develop, but the benefit will accelerate sales opportunities and shorten the sales cycles by demonstrating customer success via a value roadmap.
There are many elements to building business value. The most common obstacle is how you define value, internally and externally. Value is typically seen as a way to:
- Make things easier
- Save time
- Develop financial justification
- Implement overall business improvement
These benefits are true for all the people involved, but each will have a different definition of value. The most challenging aspects is to define who benefits from what and how often.
8 Steps to Building Business Value
Defining value starts by applying these eight questions. If you can answer most of them, you’re probably closer to selling value then you think. Sales organizations usually struggle to answer a few of these. Marketing, R&D, Services, and Support also struggle with working together to have a common definition of solution value.
Sales leaders should begin by asking these obvious questions.
- Do you know your customers’ problems?
- How do customer problems impact their business as a whole?
- Does your sales team understand what improvements customers are attempting to solve?
- Is there agreement on the customers’ existing process? Is it clear who is included in that process?
- Does the customer agree on who benefits if the problem is improved or eliminated? Is it specific individuals or departments or the entire organization?
- What actions are needed by customers to achieve the benefits?
- What technologies and/or information are needed? Who in the organization owns them?
- How does the customer see and measure success? Do metrics or reports exist, or do they need to be created?
It is important to your business to start thinking about these questions. You will see sales complexity fade and build a stronger organization that is more trusted by your customers. It’s never too soon to begin introducing value selling.
Schuyler Ford is Managing Partner of Business Value Selling and an affiliate of ROI Selling. He has provided solution value consulting to Fortune 500/Global 2K organizations for over 20 years, helping them to align business challenges with digital strategy initiatives that deliver measurable value. His experience focuses on GTM planning and internal/external enablement strategies. Schuyler established successful business value consulting practices for multiple Bay-area startups, and is founder of several service and technology companies. His career includes over 35 years in the technology industry, both as a customer and a vendor.
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