2017 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 you definitely need to read before the end of the year hits. Here they are:
1. What do You Do for Your B2B Customers? Flexible Case Studies Increase Qualified Sales Opportunities
February 3, 2017
How useful is your marketing content? Does it support effective customer conversations? Does it help sales increase the number of qualified opportunities? On average, buyer executives are rarely impressed by the content that sales uses. A Forrester buyer survey found that 62% of sales people are knowledgeable about their own company and products, but that 77% don’t understand buyer issues and how they can help. According to these buyer executives, only 12% of sales calls add value. Despite the $161 billion of B2B marketing spending per year in the US, most of the content produced does not support sales effectiveness. Most sales people lack the materials and/or the skills to provide convincing answers to the question “what do you do for your customers?”
February 16, 2017
For account executives and sales reps, Value Propositions are useful early in the sales cycle as Flexible Case Studies in call preparation, in building sales confidence, in qualifying opportunities and in engaging customer executives. For technical sales and presales professionals, joining the team in the middle of the sales process, Value Propositions provide Customer Value Analyses as an important way to address presales challenges and to maximize the impact of presales.As customers decide to purchase, the Value Proposition becomes a Shared Business Case, collaboratively agreed between sales executives and customer sponsors, that can be used by buyers as their own internal financial justification to purchase.
March 11, 2017
As many of us know, the track record for new product launches isn’t a pretty picture. Frankly, the success rate has been dismal for a long time – only 1 out of 4 new products ever reach their revenue or profit target. One recent report says one key factor is the quality of the value story. In other words, you can do everything right in terms of innovation and rollout, but miss if you fail this critical step.
4. Frame Customer-Centric Conversations to Get the Best Results: Units Matter – per Year, per Part, per Patient, per Pound
March 16, 2017
All B2B sales reps know that they have to answer the price question. While their initial answer may or may not be direct, it needs to be good enough to get to the next meeting. The best sales reps know that they need to introduce customer value in the same answer, qualitatively or quantitatively. Great reps position our solution in early conversations based on what we deliver to our business customer – our solution’s value to our customer. Eventually the price conversation is bound to be quantitative. No number? No deal. If price is what you pay and value is what you get, then the value conversation needs to be quantitative as well. Some member of the buying team will be doing the math. Sales teams need a way to talk about quantified price and quantified value if they are going to stay in the discussion with buyer teams.
March 31, 2017
Highly successful B2B Sales & Marketing leaders empower their sales teams with sales presentations that engage senior decision makers and key influencers early in the sales process. Research shows close to 80% of early buyer meetings with sales reps fail to deliver customer value (resulting in the majority of sellers being eliminated early), so what are the key differentiators in sales presentations delivered by leaders versus laggards?
May 19, 2017
I’d like to share a few examples of how well-intentioned product managers get it wrong with sales people. All are based on real interactions we’ve had working with product, marketing and sales teams at large B2B enterprises (identities hidden to protect confidentiality). Just to set context, these were situations where we collaborated with them to develop digital value propositions to show their customers how much more profit they’d make using their offer. You may already believe that value stories like this are a good thing to have for your product. I certainly do. Most product managers I know do too. Furthermore, I can say confidently that most sales people I’ve met would agree. But here’s the dilemma: most sales people won’t ever use them in front of their customers.
7. Value Propositions that Address Sales Uncertainties: Equip Sales Teams with Content Options for Customer Conversations
July 7, 2017
The best B2B jobs for adrenaline junkies are in front of customers. Sales and presales conversations consistently generate fear and anxiety because they are routinely high stakes and because they are so unpredictable. Adrenaline may help, but sales and presales professionals need more than biological responses to perform effectively. Marketing and Product Management are generally responsible for providing content and tools that sales teams can use, whether or not they personally spend time in front of customers in a presales role. Sales teams need content, tools and preparation to improve their odds of performing well in the face of buyer uncertainties.
October 27, 2017
We spent a week of October in beautiful Las Vegas, where LeveragePoint sponsored the CEB, Now Gartner’s Sales and Marketing Summit. We met so many great people, and listened to incredible thought leaders share their expertise on the past, present, and future of sales and marketing. From all that information, we took away three key themes, six quick keys to successful data storytelling, and sound advice on how to best motivate buyers to speak up on the seller’s behalf.
9. Is Your Commercial Team Self-centered or Customer-centered? Value Propositions Focus Conversations on the Audience that Matters
November 3, 2017
B2B organizations designing, selling and delivering complex solutions naturally gravitate toward applying their energy and attention to themselves, focusing on the levers that they control. The telltale signs are apparent in internal discussions. “What percent of our team’s time is spent discussing our organization, our production, our logistics, our product and our services?” This internal, self-centered focus routinely spills over into customer messages and sales presentations. A product brochure highlighting technical specifications is usually the central product marketing document. All too often sales content focuses on “who are we?” and “what do we sell? Just as often sales content neglects “what are the customer’s challenges?” “how do we solve customer problems?” and “how do we deliver customer value?”
10. Three Reasons Why Sticking with the Status Quo Will Negatively Impact Your Sales Success in 2018
November 22, 2017
Digital transformation is a reality for B2B Sales and Marketing leaders to embrace in 2018. “Fighting the future” to test and implement digital sales tools for your sales teams create major risks to your revenue plan, and in recruiting and retaining high quality sales professionals. We’re in the fastest paced period of the calendar, when sales teams are pressured to close year end deals, and marketing is aggressively promoting digital campaigns to create more qualified leads entering 2018. What are B2B companies doing for sales teams?
From all of us here at LeveragePoint, we’d like to wish each of you a happy and healthy New Year.
Know someone in your company who enjoys value content for sales, sales enablement, presales, marketing, pricing, or product management? Send them here now!