Everyone in the software world who hasn’t been living under a rock is (or should be) gearing up for May 25, 2018. That’s when the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) reshapes how organizations around the world approach data privacy with citizens in European Union countries.
Data breaches are among the greatest threats to the value of an organization’s brand, especially when they expose customer and prospect data. This inevitably creates a negative public perception and damages an organization’s reputation. These increasingly common occurrences have affected industries from healthcare and public utilities to retail establishments, restaurants, and digital service providers.
Value selling tools are an essential part of the B2B sales process. When built properly and used consistently, they can strengthen your sales message, improve the credibility of your sales reps (and by extension, your organization). Additionally, they can help close more sales in less time. Some consultants dispute their potential because homegrown and generic tools typically struggle to meet expectations.
Ah, the good, old days; the days when you could approach a prospect with a list of all the great features your solution had. Maybe you added a little about the benefit of each feature.
The economy was good and had been good for a while; it wasn’t hard to get a signature on a purchase contract without having to do anything more than make it sound like it saved effort or increased throughput.
Suddenly, the economy went south for an extended stay and businesses became frugal. It wasn’t enough to show how fast an employee could perform a process with your solution; you had to find a way to convince your prospect that your solution would be worth the amount you were charging.
I’ve previously written about when and why you need a cost-justified business case to close deals. As a quick primer, the more your solution disrupts your customer’s business and as the size of the investment grows, the more likely you’ll need a business case.
Large corporations have the advantage of large budgets and the ability to staff sales and marketing roles in-house. They have employees to fulfill positions like:
- Front Line Sales Representative
- Product or Solution Expert
- Value Engineer or Value Consultant
How frequently do you use the term “ROI” in front of customers and potential buyers?
I frequently hear sales and marketing professionals talk about “ROI” inaccurately. In a casual conversation, people might still give you the benefit of the doubt and have faith that you know your stuff. However, if you’re making a formal presentation or having a serious conversation with a prospect who’s well versed in financial terminology, any misuse of the term could obviously leave a disastrous impression about you and your company.
When customers make a purchase, they typically go through a few different stages. As a seller or marketer, your job is to help shepherd the customer through these stages quickly and efficiently.
Depending on where the prospect is in the buying process, there are different tools or calculators to help you with your value-based selling approach.
In the earliest stages of the sales cycle, you want to establish the prospect’s pain and how much that problem is costing them. This will help set you up for a conversation about how much your offering can help. A value calculator helps you show how much money the prospect is leaving on the table each month, or how much they’re spending that’s unnecessary. This helps you establish the “value” of solving the problem. (Here’s a good example of a value calculator.)
Many times an offering may have what a prospect might consider to be indirect benefits. These are benefits that, although real, are harder to directly link to the offering and/or are harder to actually capture. A couple of categories of benefits that often fall into this indirect bucket are labor savings (e.g., productivity gains) or revenue enhancements (e.g., sales growth). If your prospect struggles with the direct linkage of these benefits from your offering, how can you use them in your business case?