For our October Webinar, Nick Welter, Brian Hannon, and Aaron Miller of LeveragePoint explored value-based marketing principles and processes that align B2B marketing and sales on a shared narrative of value delivered, starting from the very top of the prospect funnel. After the session, they answered questions from the webinar audience. In this blog, we share their live answers.
How do I communicate financial value delivered for a new/innovative product I haven’t launched yet?
Aaron: We first want to think about what the value is to the customer by comparing the offering to its primary competitor. If it’s a brand-new market, but you’ve already sold this type of product to other markets before, then you can marry together the information you have and that you’ve gathered from the other market and apply it to the new segment. But if you’re talking about building out a brand-new product for an existing market, you can kind of do it the other way around and build in the information that you have on that market, trying to think about what are their alternatives to buying this product. What are they doing instead?
A lot of the customers I talk to, and a lot of the prospects as well, think that they are launching brand new products that are totally unique with no competitive alternative. But we all know that whatever you are doing for your customer, you’re solving a problem. And that problem is something that the customer must be trying to solve already. So, you have to try and think about how they are solving, or not solving, that problem today. Even if it’s incredibly inefficient, or an existing manual process, then you can do the apples-to-apples comparison in that regard – even if its just the status quo.
I understood value-based marketing to be more about brands appealing to buyers’ ethical side, building a relationship that way?
Nick: That’s true. It’s funny – adding the S to value marketing – values marketing – makes it a completely different term. So, values-based marketing is something you see a lot, especially in the B2C world, where companies are trying to put out messages to appeal to a buyer’s individual values – whether it’s social justice, environmental etc. and building a brand relationship that fits into their internal value framework.
I think values marketing can be used as a strong element of qualitative value communication, because if you unpack it a bit, it illustrates the importance of trying to quantify intangible values. A good example of this is actually the customer example Aaron showed where there was a line item showing carbon savings that resulted from switching to our customer’s solution. That’s an important thing you can communicate as a part of your value message. It can be distilled in some cases into financial terms, but at a least can be quantified – so I would argue it’s a subset of value-based marketing, but in a B2B context, the two terms take on different meetings.
Aaron: The sustainability metrics are huge and only getting more important these days. Sometimes we see people converting that into dollars and cents using things like carbon tax credits, but a lot of times we see people just measuring it in metric tons of CO2 output or trees saved. I think a good action item there would be, if you have a function within your company responsible for any sort of ESG type of outputs, work with them. See if you can quantify the work that they’re trying to do and strengthen your marketing messaging that way.
What are ways for sales to get to value early in sales presentations?
Brian: Value should be viewed by your sales organization as a standard step in every process. So, when people hear from salespeople and when you train your salespeople, they’re trained in certain ways. They’re trained to talk about certain features of their product by translating it to quantified value delivered.
What we see too often is that salespeople are trained in the competition and they’re unfortunately taught to see value as something special to be introduced later in the process. You should be introducing value just the way you introduce any other aspect of your offering, and the customer should see that as a part of an agenda item in the presentation. There’s no one that I know who wouldn’t want to understand what the value of someone’s product is if they’ve agreed to meet with you and have a discussion. So, I think it’s a mindset where salespeople are intimidated by talking about value where they should just treat it as a standard step in the sales process.