A well-designed value calculator gives buyers an easy way to analyze your solution’s impact on their bottom line and get meaningful answers to their questions. One of the biggest challenges is ensuring that the results are defensible and believable enough for users to engage with your sales team.
Creating a set of calculations is the easy part. The hard part is establishing credibility, which is only possible if the calculation uses informed defaults based on the best available data. Here are some steps you can take to make your value calculator more accurate and ultimately more persuasive.
If you want users to believe the results of your value estimating tool, it must be grounded in transparency. We strongly recommend having transparency into:
- The calculations used to generate results
- The variables and default values used in the calculations
- The sources of the default values
Why include default values? For one thing, it makes the value calculator easier and faster to use, since users may not have all needed information at their fingertips. It also makes the inputs more accurate than a wild guess, so it’s beneficial to offer credible industry information as a base from which to respond.
Be sure your default values are realistic. If the user doesn’t understand or believe the estimates, then the entire exercise was pointless.
All of your assumptions should be based on realistic industry benchmarks that are easily referenced and verified. Where appropriate, you can use industry averages from across multiple industries. For example, an electrician’s salary doesn’t likely vary unless you choose to adjust for regional differences. On the other hand, revenue per employee varies widely by industry. There could be as much as an eight-fold difference from one industry to another.
Whenever possible use information specific to the user’s industry. The closer you get to their actual numbers, the more the believable your overall analysis will be to the user.
Here is where art meets science. Up until this point, you are using industry averages to estimate where the user’s company stands but as we know, no company is really average. This is your chance to really refine the analysis and gather information specific to the company’s current situation. The key is to understand the primary drivers that make a specific company above or below average.
What are those three or four ways in which a specific company could deviate from average? In which areas could a company demonstrate that they are a top performer or that they don’t have a clue? Once you identify those areas, you can design a short set of questions that allows users to self-assess where they stand in each area. There shouldn’t be more than three to five questions for each area.
This information allows you to better assess where the company likely stands relative to the average (way below, below, average, above, or way above). If you use it to scale the estimates, you will likely get much closer to estimating where they really stand.
Credibility of the analysis is always a crucial factor with any value calculator. One of the biggest hurdles to tool success is the believability of the analysis. By starting with industry benchmarks and then adjusting the analysis estimates based on a set of self-assessment criteria, you can greatly improve both the quality of the estimates as well as the lead conversions of your value calculator.