Value Selling is a term to describe what high performing Sales professionals do day in and day out. At its core, Value Selling is about effectively communicating to customers how your solutions are better than the competition and articulating how much that is worth from a dollar and cents perspective. Value selling in B2B markets works because purchases are essentially economic transactions, where buyers are trying to make rational tradeoffs on how to best allocate limited resources. In this context, buyers want to know how your solutions are better than the competitive alternatives and how you can impact their bottom line.
Every year Sales managers seek to bottle up the skills needed to sell on value and disperse it in large doses to everyone on the Sales team through training programs and performance plans. Sales managers then expect their Sales teams to hit the ground running by applying critical Value Selling principles on every deal. Unfortunately, very few organizations are able to implement a sustainable and system process to support value selling objectives.
To achieve value selling mastery, Sales teams need to do the following:
1) Marketing Support: Marketing teams must provide the ammo needed for Sales teams to communicate value more effectively by laying out the groundwork for understanding what customers across specific segments truly care about. Every time the Sales team meets with a customer they must have access to segment-specific value propositions that allow them to start the process of putting together an economic picture of how your solution delivers better results than the competition.
2) Value communication tools: Despite selling into complex markets, most marketing and sales collateral is made up of one size fits all messages that really provide limited visibility into how your solutions stack up against the competition and, most importantly, how your solutions drive bottom-line results for customers. To sell on value Sales teams require dynamic tools that can incorporate the unique operations characteristics of customers to get a more accurate reading on how your solutions impact their business.
3) A well-defined value selling process: The sales process must support the ability to reach the right stakeholders while streamlining data discovery efforts. Every interaction with customers must fulfill specific goals designed to capture key inputs needed to deliver the most compelling value proposition for customers. Because the goal is to uncover and gain a better understanding of value, every customer interaction is meaningful for both sellers and prospects.
Below is a real-world scenario of how the Sales team is transitioning to Value Selling using our LeveragePoint application to communicate customer value more effectively.
1) Marketing teams develop segment level Value Propositions that outline the key differentiators of the solution and sets up the algorithms for quantifying value. This is often a collaborative process that encourages discussions between Products, Ops, Marketing, Pricing, and Sales teams.
2) Once marketing has developed the initial segment level Value Props, Sales teams can begin to use them with customers.
3) Sales teams start discussions with prospect using a Value Prop that focuses on the 3-5 things that make your solution better than the competition.
4) As Sales teams present the value of the solution they are able to qualify the level of interest from the prospect and lays out a plan for building a unique value proposition based on the needs of a prospect.
5) On subsequent interactions with the prospect, Sales teams work on uncovering the unique operational characteristics of the prospect to determine the value being delivered. Through this process Sales teams are able to build credibility and establish relationships with key folks involved in the purchasing decision.
6) As the process unfolds, prospects gain better understanding of the financial impact of your solution as Sales teams finalize a customer-specific Value Prop and share the output with the prospect.
7) With the right insights and level of detail, prospects can discuss the advantages of the solution internally. Prospects even have the ammo they need to go to their own procurement organization to approve the purchase.
By being able to objectively quantify value your Sales teams will have the confidence to close deals faster and at higher margins. To scale Value Selling across the organization your Sales team needs to work with the right tools, process and organizational support to successfully sell on value.
Even in RFP scenarios, an economics-driven Value Proposition that captures some of the operating nuances of customers while highlighting how your unique differentiation will drive better bottom-line results can be the difference maker in getting selected and inking the deal.