For our November Webinar Peyton Marshall, LeveragePoint’s CEO, explored the ways that Value Propositions can and should be the core piece of content that align commercial teams on their customer audience to deliver on the potential of ABM, ABS and segmented pricing. To conclude the webinar, he answered some questions from the audience. Here are his live answers:
We talk to multiple stakeholders within a single deal, how can you transform a Value Proposition to be useful in every single conversation?
Stakeholders are so important. Even though we talk about account-based marketing and account selling, it’s also stakeholder-based marketing and stakeholder selling. What we know is very important on the sales side is identifying the organizer’s champion. What we also know is other people can either support a deal or they can undermine it. It’s really important to have your overall value proposition available. Now that doesn’t mean presenting it all the way through to everybody or even anybody. Stakeholder-specific selling is about identifying what’s most important to the stakeholder you’re in front of and really focusing on that during the conversation. It’s good that they understand your value is important to other members of their team – that’ll help build momentum to consensus. Targeting in what matters to them and focusing the conversation on that, is really critical. I would say use the content, but focus the conversation on what matters to who you’re talking to.
I’m at an organization where the marketing team is talking about ABM (account-based marketing) all the time, but not doing anything for sales: is account-based selling actually realistic?
When you see these themes of buyer enablement, you see them with the theme of, “we’re going to be agnostic with respect to the channel we use.” Is it online? Is it digital, where there’s no touch by sales? Or is sales just one of many channels? I think for some consumer goods and for a lot of things going on in retailing, the importance of sales is clearly declining. With complex solutions though, that’s not the case. We still don’t have the AI tools to make it possible to sell complex solutions without the best sales professionals actually interacting in human form, in understanding the politics of a given buyer and customizing a solution and guiding them to where to start. Account-based marketing isn’t going to work for complex solutions unless the organization is also focused on account-based selling. How is marketing going to execute without extending that content to make it useful for sales?
I don’t think my sales guys are going to get this. What’s your experience in other companies?
If you’re looking at sales from the outside, you may have some strange impressions. If you actually get involved with some of your best salespeople and you see what they’re doing, it’s surprising how often you’ll find a few salespeople already doing value selling. The number of good sales spreadsheets that we come across at accounts we work with and how valuable they are in thinking about the best content for everyone is huge. You probably have some good value selling going on as it is. But how do you make that contagious? I think there are a couple approaches to that.
One approach is to leverage your best pre-sales people. Get good value tools and good value selling practices going with that team. But that’s really not enough, because the most impactful value selling is value selling that starts early. It starts before pre-sales people are involved, and the surveys that show that are huge. It’s really critical as you make this a part of your organization.
First you need to pick important products and you need to have good value propositions for those products. You need sales leadership engagement because sales leaders help drive making value contagious and they also help identify, incentivize and mobilize. Having an mobilizer within sales is really important – where one person is genuinely helping people from the product side or the marketing side to test the usefulness of the tools they’re providing. Ultimately, they help provide feedback and help make them better. That mobilizer also is the key to providing intensive coaching as other salespeople get involved. The key to making this happen is early success that is well-broadcasted by sales leaders to create a trend. The final element as you get there is good sales training. And guess what? Organizations are investing a huge amount in sales training initiatives. So many of those initiatives talk about value propositions and value selling, but those don’t really work unless you provide sales with the tools.