Like the term Return on Investment (ROI), the term Value-Based Selling has some controversy around people. People think they know what it means, but in reality, do they? Value Based Selling (VBS) is simply aligning the areas your prospect is focused on improving to the value of your solution. The tricky part is how to do this by focusing on learning instead than presenting. And the key twist is to quantify – early and often to maximum results. What’s the best way to do this? Teach your sales team to learn, align, and quantify value by applying a mix of technology, methodology, and focus.
The notion of this concept of a selling methodology (Value Based, Complex, or Solution) is not new in the world full of complex sales. Even for those who sales “professionals” who still practice show up and throw up, know that learning about the customer’s challenges and assigning value to their solution is important, even if they don’t do it. There’s not a Sales VP or Manager who doesn’t agree that a diagnostic, value-based, approach to selling is optimum. But surprisingly, most of them admit their teams are doing a terrible job of it. Why?
Because it’s hard.
And you can still get results – usually mediocre – the hard way. You, or someone you know, ever tried snowboarding after a lifetime of skiing? Pretty hard. Some voice inside you is saying, “I can get down this hill just fine my way. What the heck am I doing this for?” There are clearly a few folks who gut it out and learn how to do something new, but they’re a small minority. “Teaching” a new selling methodology has the same challenges. Ask any sales trainer who’s willing to be honest with you, and they’ll tell you only a small number of the folks they train retain and really continue to practice that new approach to selling. Because it’s hard and there are not good reinforcing mechanisms.
The problem is even bigger because many sales people aren’t skiing downhill. They’re tumbling! Thus, a new sales methodology isn’t just asking them to tweak how they’re doing things. It’s a radical change. Many sales reps are getting off the ski lift and tumbling down hill, not really having a good idea what they’re doing at all. So asking them to go from Demos to Value is a big change. Worse, their managers are saying, “hey John, on the next tumble try to avoid the big poles and trees,” or “Sue, as you’re sliding uncontrollably downhill next time, put your legs out for some balance.” In other words, “Do more calls.” “More meetings!” “More demos!” Or, some other version of just tweak this, or do more of that that. No real focus on sales effectiveness.
So we have a two tiered challenge. We know there’s a fundamentally better way to accomplish something, but people resist change.
How to make it easier? Show them the following:
- LEARN about the opportunity. This includes understanding key business drivers and initiatives, uncovering unrecognized pain points, and otherwise understanding what the prospect is focused on.
- QUALIFY based on opportunity instead of budget, pain instead of relationship.
- ALIGN what your prospect told you he’s focused on – what he cares about, his goals, his pains, his “agenda” – with the value of your solution or product.
- QUANTIFY the value of your solution. We’ll help you deploy your mobility initiative faster, is good. We’ll help drive $2.5MM in additional revenue through improved sales cycle times, while improving the effectiveness of your Mobility Initiative is hard to say no to.
- GIVE your champion the data and language to share your value.
Teach and show your sales team why and how to use VBS. Like the term ROI, many people think they know what Value-Based Selling is, but do they really know how to do it effectively? Don’t assume your team knows or can utilize the methodology. Take the time to teach them, show they want it means for your organization and the term really will bring value to your selling…in terms of real revenue.