Selling value is more widespread than most think…and at the same time, more narrowly practiced than it should be.
“Selling Value” isn’t just the domain of sales methodologies containing that term in a training course title. Most selling methodologies I’ve ever come across implicitly sell value whether they use that term or not. Any “needs satisfaction” approach helps sellers connect their offer to a gap experienced by a customer. Full disclosure: I work with Miller Heiman Group.Their offerings are excellent at building a value connection with a customer’s solution image throughout the selling process.
As effective and widespread as selling value is, it falls short. I learned the concept of building to customer value first. As a Product Manager, I developed new products to provide specific unique value to customers. I obviously had to collaborate with sales professionals to do it. The corporate culture I learned this in provided a formative experience for me. Everyone (not simply sales, not simply those who contacted customers) maintained focus on what each customer valued, then worked hard to provide it. My takeaway: a wider corporate lens on customer value yields a powerful result.
Here’s the Mind Shift
When I say that selling value is almost always performed too narrowly, I mean:
Stop “selling value” only as a sales approach.
Especially in today’s complex B2B world, the arc of the customer experience gets slivered into contacts with a multitude of organizations/roles in your company: Marketing, sales development, inside sales, outside sales, application engineering,/technical sales, underwriting, account management, implementation teams, customer success managers, account managers, customer service, technical support, billing/accounts receivable…and more, I’m sure. Every touch point with your customer represents a human connection with some possible customer value. As a sales performance professional, I can guarantee you that your sellers have only a tunnel-vision view into the full range of customer value that your company creates with any customer.
Knowing this, how crazy is it to assume that your sales force is the only group whose job it is to gather information on value..and then sell it?
It gets worse. How crazy is it to only sell value outward to customers? Think of the untapped value in carrying value insights from customers back to those in product/service design, product management, shipping, servicing, manufacturing, logistics, purchasing, scheduling, etc. I have lived a corporate culture where customer-perceived value is a pervasive mantra. It’s a powerful ethos that drives sustainable competitive advantages, growth, and more defensible businesses. This isn’t “voice of the customer” management. This is “the mind of the customer” insight sharing, and it has a profound effect on corporate performance.
The Good News
With today’s sophisticated sales enablement tools, It’s not that hard to channel value insights throughout the organization. The same sales force automation that monitors and reports effectiveness can monitor and report customer value insights. Your sales methodology probably already emphasizes them. Not only that, but there are people all over your company eager to creatively add value for your customers. All you need to do is give them those customer insights.
Similarly, it’s now easier than ever to provide a common language and toolset to capture and channel value insight. Every function in the company can learn and adopt these tools easily…as long as the tools themselves are simple and intuitive.
A Shameless Tease
I know there are such tools out there. I also know how effective, and how culture-impacting they can be when organizations implement them. My tools can be integrated with just about any modern sales methodology, although I have extensive experience with one company’s. My upcoming book will describe these tools in more detail. Some are described in past posts on my website and on LinkedIn. Alternately, you can contact me to learn more, or learn how to integrate these tools with your sales methodology.
To your success!