The vast majority of buyers evaluate technology solutions based on the criteria of “better, cheaper, faster.” This approach seeks technology that can improve some aspect of their business at a lower cost. While this is important, it’s often incomplete.
What’s missing is a more nuanced perspective of the solution’s ROI. Buyers should consider the primary purpose of whatever is being replaced (workflow, software, hardware, etc.), and evaluate how well the solution addresses their desired outcomes and increases sales growth.
Sales teams can influence and expand the buyers’ thinking by revealing different levels of ROI offered by a new technology solution. Here’s how:
These examples demonstrate how the most obvious rationale for purchasing a technology solution is not necessarily the one that provides the most return. Consider the following:
A manufacturer has a human resources system that’s patched together with manual processes and spreadsheets. Their primary motivation for evaluating a new talent management software solution is determining how much time and money they can save by managing employee performance and training more efficiently. What is missing from the evaluation is the ROI for having a talent management system in the first place, which is to fuel business growth and profitability by improving employee skills and enriching their experience.
A retail chain needs to refresh the communication networks within its stores. It is considering whether to deploy managed virtualized services or stick with traditional infrastructure. Cost comparisons between the two alternatives focus on deployment, maintenance, energy costs, hardware, and other tactical concerns. What this comparison overlooks is how the company can benefit from the potential network performance improvements offered by managed virtualized services. For example, the company might experience faster sales growth through higher point-of-sale system uptime and innovative in-store customer experiences.
Deliver Value First
According to Mary Shea, Principal Analyst, Forrester's research “shows that 74% of buyers will actually purchase from the first salesperson that adds value." This is a prime opportunity for sales teams to bring this missing criterion to the forefront.
Sales teams should strive to expand a buyer’s mindset by including revenue gains in the business case. Additionally, presenting buyers with higher ROI improves the likelihood of budget approval.
Justify Projected Sales Growth
Specificity is the key to credibly including sales growth in a business case. Which of these two statements will a buyer deem more credible?
- “We will increase your sales by 1% because customers will be happier.”
- “We will increase your sales by 1% through greater wallet share and less customer attrition.”
The second statement sounds more believable because it’s rooted in how the sales growth will occur. For added impact, back up the statement with financial projections using the buyer’s data.
For example, first calculate how much customer attrition is costing the buyer today. Then estimate how much you can reduce those lost sales, and provide supporting evidence (e.g., research reports, case studies and benchmark data) whenever possible.
A key to establishing trust is to guide buyers along their journey with new and persuasive insights on ROI. The sales reps most likely to succeed can effectively communicate how their offering improves and replaces inefficient processes, and quantifies the value of those projected improvements.
More often than not, the first sales rep to offer a helping hand wins the deal. Work with your sales team to take the lead with a solid business case that offers solid ROI.