5 Lessons in Value-Based Selling
The concept of value-based selling is nothing new. In fact, in recent years, it has become a hot topic discussed in dozens of blogs, webinars, and conference sessions. So what, you may ask, can MetaCX possibly add to the conversation?
We’ve noticed that more often than not, value-based selling is treated as an ideology without any mention of practical application, much less a way to operationalize it at scale. The question remains: how does a business apply value-based selling principles to their own sales organization?
Value-Based Selling Defined
Before we dive into the details, let’s go over the basics. What is value-based selling? To put it simply, it’s an approach that focuses on benefitting the customer throughout the sales journey and beyond. Opposed to Solution Selling, SPIN, Challenger, and other methodologies, the goal with value-based selling is to center the entire sales process around the goals and objectives of a potential buyer, giving them what they need to make an informed decision to best suit their needs and achieve their desired outcomes.
Revenue organizations traditionally focus on how they target and sell, not on how they serve the end goal of a buyer. One of the ways to stand out is through value-based selling–by proving how your product fulfills the needs of your target audience. This is especially relevant in a down economy where every purchase must be unquestionably justified.
Value-Based Selling in Practice
So, what does value-based selling look like in practice? There are 5 lessons to keep in mind when implementing this approach.
1. Do Your Research
Of course, in order to show how your product provides value to a potential buyer, you first have to understand what the buyer is looking to achieve.
Before meeting with a prospect for the first time, research the company, it’s history, the industry it’s in, and the background of key stakeholders to get an idea of what the business’s pain points might be. Read what customers think on G2 or TrustRadius. If it’s a public company, listen to a quarterly earnings call. By gathering these pieces of information, you’ll start to gain a good idea of how the product your positioning can be applied.
Then, in your first meeting (and any thereafter), be sure to make discovery a top priority. The more precise you can be when crafting your value statement and explaining how your product can fulfill the specific needs of the buyer, the better your chance of attaching to a meaningful problem or pain and, ultimately, closing the deal.
2. Collaborate Continuously
To truly adopt a value-based selling approach, your commitment to providing value must go beyond a single meeting. You must continuously gauge the needs of your prospects, document and refine your understanding of their desired outcomes, and offer new ways to help them meet their goals and objectives. It’s a game of continuous communication and collaboration.
In MetaCX, this collaboration is facilitated through a branded, shared space called a bridge. Within a bridge, suppliers can align with their prospects around success plans, define desired outcomes, and share supporting assets. By providing visible proof of your commitment to your buyer’s business goals, you can build trust and mitigate the perception, fair or not, that salespeople make empty promises.
3. Connect the Dots
Buyers will acknowledge your value when they understand how your product directly relates to the achievement of their goals and objectives. It’s not enough to say that your product can do something; you have to peel back the proverbial curtain to show the steps it will take to ensure success.
In MetaCX, suppliers can build success plans that outline the outcomes a potential customer is looking to achieve as well as the steps (defined as success milestones) it will take to get there. These success plans are backed by a rich data architecture that provides visibility into the status of outcomes and success milestones in real-time.
When you start to break down how your product and services will lead to outcome achievement, you’ll build trust and rapport with your prospects and benefit from faster sales cycles and larger deals.
4. Teach Instead of Sell
Instead of leaning into the standard sales pitch, try approaching prospects through the lens of education. By positioning yourself as an expert in your field, you can become your buyers’ go-to resource for guidance in the pursuit of their goals which helps you build long and lasting relationships. This consultative approach, while not always easy to achieve, is like gold for sales performance.
With a solid relationship foundation, the product you’re selling will suddenly become far more appealing because you will have already demonstrated the value you offer through past exchanges.
5. Perfect the Value Handoff
Far too often, the value positioned in the sales cycle is lost in the handoff to implementation and success teams. Sales professionals who disconnect from their deals after they have closed are missing out on the long game. By ensuring fellow team members understand a customer’s desired outcomes, you can accelerate customer time to value and lock in future growth.
With the help of MetaCX, the handoff is as easy as inviting the CSM, services consultant, or onboarding specialist into a bridge to understand the customer’s expectations and desires. The bridge then serves as a record where everything related to the deal can be captured and relayed to the relevant personnel.
The reason value-based selling works is because it flips the supplier/buyer relationship on its head. Instead of asking for something from prospects, you’re committing an act of service and doing everything in your power to help your prospects succeed. As Seth Godin says, “Selling to people who actually want to hear from you is more effective than interrupting strangers who don’t.”