Happy New Year! 2018 was a transformative year; digital and technological advances were abundant, Millennial buyers and sellers forced a change in our traditional processes, and an increasing amount of B2B organizations differentiated themselves with a value-based strategy. LeveragePoint served you content through it all, but our value strategy thought-leaders picked the top 10 posts you definitely need to read to make the most out of this new year. Here they are:
What Are You Doing to Enable B2B Sales in 2018? Align Your Value Proposition with Your Sales Initiatives
January 12, 2018
On average, 57% of sales reps meet quota. 43% fall short. Initiatives to address B2B sales challenges are significant with $20 billion spent annually by US companies on sales training. Yet 84% percent of all sales training is lost after 90 days. The right tools and content are needed to get sustainable sales performance improvement from these initiatives. A strong Value Proposition addresses the most important B2B sales challenges. If Value Propositions are aligned with sales methodologies, they sustain sales training and improve sales performance.
How to Use Value Propositions Early in the Sales Cycle: Flexible Case Studies Drive More Qualified B2B Sales Opportunities
February 20, 2018
There is a common misperception that Value Propositions are only useful in the middle to later stages of a sales cycle. Yet for B2B sales professionals working to connect with customers early in the sales cycle, a Value Proposition in the right form can be their single most valuable piece of content. Value Propositions designed as Flexible Case Studies can help a rep connect, qualify, differentiate and move the buyer to the next stage of the buying process. Read more to see how Value Propositions can be used early in the sales cycle.
How to Use Value Propositions in the Middle of the Sales Cycle: Focus Sales Teams on Customer Outcomes
March 23, 2018
Moving through the sales cycle, there is often that critical point when the buyer pivots to an active evaluation phase. The sales rep believes that he or she has overcome initial obstacles, obtaining commitment from real buyers with budget to allocate time and bandwidth to Evaluate your solution. If the sales rep’s perception is correct, a deal has become more probable and deserves the investment of additional sales resources. This evaluation stage of the buying cycle is the point where free trials or paid pilots may come into play and where the sales rep draws on the expertise of other members of the sales team for group presentations and engagement with the buyer team.
Close the Right Deal Based on a Shared Business Case to Buy: Using Value Propositions Later in the Sales Cycle
May 4, 2018
Later in the sales cycle, as buyer evaluation approaches completion, a shroud of mystery often descends on the sales team. The role of team selling diminishes even if the interest of presales professionals, introduced in the evaluation stage, intensifies. This puts the pressure back on the sales rep or account manager. The broader team looks to the rep to resolve the uncertainties of whether you have effectively overcome the status quo, and whether the buyer has really understood your solution’s differentiation versus the competition. A clear picture almost never emerges, setting the stage for weak-kneed negotiation and price concessions. However, using Value Propositions as a Shared Business Case to Buy, collaboratively agreed between sales executives and customer sponsors, speeds the closing process at list price as a buyer’s financial rationale to buy.
Win with Powerful B2B Sales Moments: Two Differences Between Value Propositions and Value Calculators
June 19, 2018
Buyers do the math. A CFO Magazine survey of Buyer Executives found that over 90% of enterprise buyers involve their finance teams in selecting vendors, developing business requirements, and preparing/reviewing the financial justification for buying decisions. A quantitative business case, as part of the B2B buying process, is the rule, not the exception. Some sales teams have been faster to respond to analytical buyers than others, but the rational sales counter is to provide tools for analytical sales conversations. If buyers are doing the math, sales teams can’t afford to fumble buyer conversations about ROI, TCO and the business case to buy. Value Calculators seem like the natural sales weapon in the face of procurement processes with embedded analytics. However, good Value Propositions are more effective than Value Calculators exactly because good Value Propositions go beyond Value Calculators to address the less analytical, less predictable and more cooperative elements of a buying process.
Generate Momentum in Value Selling: A Checklist for Sustainable Improvements in B2B Sales
June 29, 2018
It should be simple. Sales professionals are paid based on results. Value selling improves results. CRM data from B2B organizations adopting value selling show that opportunities where a Value Proposition is used have 5-15% higher win rates and 5-25% higher price outcomes. Adoption of value selling should be a no-brainer. But change usually takes a nudge, if not a strong push. To get results with value selling, ensure that a few key ingredients are in place. Take a common-sense, disciplined approach to implementation based on a simple checklist. The initial benefits and successes that result generate early momentum. Internal promotion then spreads the word among sales professionals and sales management. One success becomes a trend. A results-driven sales culture and incentives will take over from there.
In Part 1 of this two-part blog series, Ed Arnold discusses what a value-based product strategy is, how it helps make better decisions, and helps differentiate. Next week, in Part 2, he’ll dive into the common missteps product managers make about value and how to avoid them. Check out Part 2 here.
[Part 1 of 5] Execute on Account-Based Marketing: Targeted, Personalized Content for Sales Engagement
August 31, 2018
With all the content created for an ABM program, what portion of that content makes a difference in customer conversations? For an ABM program to succeed, ABM campaigns need to translate into closed deals. Sales and marketing alignment is crucial. Sales teams need a way to extend the account-specific engagement begun by digital ABM into live, personal, account-specific collaboration between buyers and sellers. For ABM to succeed, marketers must recognize that sales teams need content to execute on Account-Based Selling (ABS). Having a stakeholder’s LinkedIn profile displayed on a screen during a call is not an ABS program. ABS is about basing buyer conversations on targeted content relevant to the account and sometimes specific to the stakeholder. This is part 1 of a 5 part series. Check out Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5 here.
October 15, 2018
In October we attended Gartner’s Sales & Marketing Conference where we joined leaders in sales, marketing, and sales enablement to discuss latest trends, Gartner research, and the future of these functions. There was a lot to take in, but this post will do its best to summarize overarching themes and key takeaways to think about as you discuss and strategize 2019 initiatives.
[Day 1 of 2] Sales 3.0 Conference Takeaways
October 26, 2018
This conference series offers insight, strategies, and practical solutions to help B2B leaders in sales, sales operations, and sales enablement compete in a digital, tech-driven era. Speakers reflect a unique mix of thought leaders, powerhouse motivators, analysts, and successful sales leaders. This is part 1 of a 2 part series. Check out Part 2 here.