B2B Value Conversations: A Roadmap for Accelerating Your Sales Velocity Q&A Part 1

by | Aug 18, 2021 | Increase B2B Sales

For our July Webinar, Brian Hannon, VP of Sales at LeveragePoint, explored the multiple positive impacts that result from strong B2B value conversations, including milestones during the customer journey, that enable B2B organizations to grow revenues and profitability. After the session, he answered questions from the webinar audience. In this blog, we share his live answers.

Do you ever see teams engage in what they call “value conversations” that are missing a key element? Where are the most common gaps?

There are a couple of ways I would answer that. Number one, sometimes when we talk to customers they say, “yeah, we talk value all the time.” But when we ask them to be specific, it gets kind of fuzzy. What we find is the quantification is a step that should be done prior, and sometimes people skip that. Sometimes they don’t necessarily know how to do it (at LeveragePoint we help you do that). Quantification is important, and if that’s not part of the value conversation, you’re missing a major part of it.

I think the other part is the way that [sales] conversation goes. If you present a spreadsheet with an ROI number to someone and say, “I had a value conversation,” they might look at the spreadsheet and go, “yeah, that’s great.” And then they walk away, but it doesn’t stick. The issue there is without engagement, you’re not really having a value conversation. You’re just giving them an ROI number they need to make a decision. Building a story that they’re part of, and that they participate in, is really critical to viewing something as a successful value conversation.

How important are Value Conversations with existing customers? When should I apply them during the renewal lifecycle?

We see that a lot, and some of the larger, more mature procurement organizations are wary of having value conversations because it puts them in a more difficult position. They lose their advantage, and no one wants to lose their advantage.

Number one, we recommend that you don’t introduce value at the end of a sales cycle. It’s too late. And if you do, you’ll probably get shot down more often than not. If you try to engage in value for the first time with the procurement person, they’re going to smile and say, “that’s cute, but no, we’re not going to talk about that right now.”

What we do recommend is having a conversation earlier in the sales cycle with people in the organization, not procurement, but rather people who are trying to make changes and improvements, reduce costs, and increase revenue. They are much more willing to engage in that back and forth. And once you have that information and you’ve developed that joint proposal, that’s when you introduce it to procurement, since it’s much harder for them to push it off. If they know their colleagues have endorsed it, they can’t just ignore it.

How important are Value Conversations with existing customers? When should I apply them during the renewal lifecycle?

Our recommendation, and what we hear from customers is most successful, is that value should not only be used when you’re trying to get new business. Value should be used to confirm that the business that you have is going well. The people that you’ve sold to in the past want to hear that they made a good decision, and coming in and reinforcing to them that, for example, “six months ago you went with us and you made a great decision. Look at all the great outcomes you’re seeing.” That is a great conversation to have. And they want to have those conversations that it makes them feel better, but it does something else at the same time. It solidifies your relationship with them.

As salespeople, we’ve all had that time where we wake up one morning and say, “wait a minute. Is my customer talking to my competitor? Maybe they’ve been talking to them for months. And I don’t know about it. What have they been doing? I’ve just assumed things are going well, and I’m not prepared for this.” When you have regular – and these can be annual or quarterly – value conversations with your customer, your preparing them for when a competitor calls up and says, “hey, I can do better. Or I’m cheaper.”

They already have information at their fingertips that helps them say “I know you’re cheaper, but here’s why you’re really not cheaper,” or, “hey, tell me how you would do this or that.” In many cases, especially with the cheaper competitors, they’re not prepared to have any of these value conversations. So those competitive threats become very short-lived. And so having that regular value conversation, just to ensure that you keep a customer, even the contract isn’t up for six months to a year down the road, not waiting until the end to have that value check-in early on, on a regular basis, will help you sleep better at night.

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