Following our May 2018 Webinar, Selling Value from Qualification to Close, we began our standard Q&A session with our presenter, LeveragePoint’s CEO, Peyton Marshall.
What’s your recommendation for companies that have absolutely no idea how to buy value?
Don’t be naive. Some percentage of your buyers are asking people internally for a justification. So, do buyers actually think about value? They do. First, your experienced sales representatives understand their own buyers, and if they’ve been actively involved with them, they understand how they work politically. So ultimately, finding the sales representatives who understand your buyers the best, will help you identify that.
The second thing is, can sellers succeed? This is where having a really good Sales Pilot is a way to really demonstrate and override the objections. One of the best ways to do that is:
Engage a sales leader.
Pick a mobilizer who’s really going to drive value for an important value proposition.
Pick a small team of reps.
Track those opportunities to get results.
Ultimately, getting successful results from some kind of sales pilot program is then a very good way to both refine the content of the value proposition and then drive it to a broader sales community.
We have an additional comment just on the previous question, and I’d be interested to see your reaction to it: If the customer or buyer doesn’t see the value it’s the wrong customer.
Absolutely, that is such a good comment. You know it’s really getting to the question of how value helps you qualify. If they’re not seeing the value, then maybe this is a bad account to be pursuing. The other thing I’ll say is, if the buyer’s not seeing the value and you’re way into an evaluation phase, you’ve probably wasted a lot of the time of your own team’s pre-sales expertise – and that’s expensive time.
How do you move a traditional company that’s focused on revenue and net profit to a value approach?
There are a few dimensions to this question. Certainly, there’s a sales compensation dimension, which is that the sales incentives may not have been set up so that sales is incentivized towards profitable transactions. So I think that’s clearly one element. The second element is really getting everyone in the mentality of their customer. What value is about at its fundamental level is simpler than quantitative value. It’s about being customer-centric and it’s about being customer-centric not in terms of your product features, but in terms of their outcomes.
The best thing that can happen is when your CEO is interviewed by Wall Street and it’s captured on tape, that CEO needs to have an elevator pitch for how your latest product is delivering value for your customer. Having that as a tape to play at a rollout, is huge. You must have evidence of success and celebrate that success with war stories and publicity. That’s the best way to make early sales success go viral.
Which systems would support this change if their KPIs award short-term financial results?
I’m not sure what the system in question is, but you may mean selling system, so I’ll start there. If you look at the best B2B sales trainers right now, virtually every one of them is talking and suggesting that being customer-centric and talking value propositions matter. Everyone from Challenger, to Sirius Decisions, to Miller Heiman, to Richardson are all on board with that.
With which systems support this, I think it kind of comes back to a culture. The other sort of system that supports this change really comes to an internal culture that’s focused on value and is therefore customer-centric instead of being technical-centric.