For our March Webinar, Stephan Liozu shared secrets to the soft skills required to develop great Economic Value Estimation® Models. To conclude the webinar, he answered some questions from the audience. Here is the second half of his live answers:
How do you manage the differences in interpretation with different stakeholders?
It’s a tricky one, you know. There’s lots of different potential misinterpretations of what the customer means. I spend quite a bit of time crafting the right team to be able to work together. You need to have the voice of the customer in that team. Typically, it’s an application engineer and the salesperson. They also have agendas. So, it’s how you craft the team, then who’s in the team and what data you provide before and during the process that is going to help getting to an answer. You’re probably going to lack the deep intimacy that you need to do this. But you’ve got to start somewhere.
For example, if you are the market research person and someone who does a lot of research, then you need kind of a person that’s going to balance your perspective. The last thing you want is a team with just salespeople and another team with just marketing people because then they’re heavily biased by their agenda, their function, their views. So it’s a natural progression. I would say when you have a multifunctional team, eventually they iron out the different interpretation systems.
Could you share some examples of good ways to integrate EVE into value selling? How do I instill value storytelling skills and my sales team?
Yeah. This is great one. It depends on where you are in the sales cycle – at the very beginning, in the middle or at the end. In your marketing toolbox, you will have value tools. And then there will be, testimonials and customer success stories and you’ll use them as a hook in what we would call value selling, to provide credible references. If I’m telling you, a customer, that I’m going to save you 15% through improved efficiencies. Let’s meet and have a discussion. And then you sit down and the customer says how did you come up with 15%? It seems high.
So that’s where you start looking at your Value Proposition. You tell them, this is an example of a customer who used our solution and that’s what they saw, and we calculated it, let’s do it for you. So you do it first at a high level, and then what you do is organize a workshop with multiple stakeholders to actually analyze that deeply. When the customer agrees to do something like this for the salesperson and the consultative seller is awesome. That’s what you want to get to be selling solutions, differentiated stuff. You want to get into an interaction with the customer and a bunch of stakeholders to do this.
That’s the ultimate goal. I’ve seen companies that are actually developing a scorecard with specific accounts and say, “well, I promise you $100,000 of savings, you’re going to pay a premium. Let’s do a tracker and let’s actually track these for six months to make sure that we deliver that value to you.? So it’s much more granular, a little bit of a six Sigma approach where you put the project in control and you track the savings. But what, what I do in value selling training is I don’t cover the end, I’ll cover more of the beginning and the middle. And I have salespeople roleplay different situations and use the numbers and the percentages as a hook and practice that and then also practice selling customer benefits instead of product features.
So it’s incorporating in the customer story. I would also say the numbers slowly also responding to objections. You’re going to face quite a bit of objections on value, objections on pricing, objection on your differentiators. Because everybody’s going to say you’re a commodity. Your competitors can do the same. Well, this is why you have to have responses and make sure that you have data that is well- prepared.
How long does it take to master the art of EVE?
So my reference is 10 years of hundreds and hundreds of EVE for multiple sectors. Now I’m not a master in any way, but you don’t need to be doing it like I’m doing it, but it takes a while for sure. Because I’m not a master in the specific verticals and industries I work with, I have to learn. If you in deep dive in your vertical, and you know your industry inside and out for six months or a year, you’ll be on your way. The key is to practice and not do just do one per month.
So it depends on how you set that up. Product managers or value managers, they should be doing Value Models day in and day out. So the more you do them, the better you get at it, the better you document what you’ve done. The better you populate your LeveragePoint and then at the end, you’re good at it.
So that could be three months or it could be a year, depending on the frequency and how many of them you build. It becomes like a sixth sense. If you’re a marketing manager, you have that success. If you’re a salesperson or a technical sales person, you already have that. If you consultative seller, you already have a sixth sense or it’s goes faster when you have that.