A lot of sales performance consultants are true experts, but their expertise often stops right where your value culture problems start. The problem? Sales performance falters at many points outside of the sales silo. If your sales performance efforts define “Sellers” as merely “everyone who touches revenue”, you may completely miss weak links in your chain.
An entire industry has formed around the emerging role of sales enablement, which can yield powerful performance improvement inside the sales organization. This is a sound improvement for many companies, but the typical sales enablement function should look even further outward.
Let’s look at some to the areas I’ve seen clients falter.
Sellers, Not Just Sales. Customer Value, Not Customer Experience.
If you are in a business that relies on repeat sales, “after sales” support is really “between sales” support. I talk to many clients who don’t leverage the value their…
- Client success
- Technical support
- Customer service
- Product specialist/product manager
- And probably a few more
teams can provide to upcoming sales. They build trusting relationships all through your customers—relationships that selling roles can never hope to replicate.
Most current sales enablement practitioners consider these roles “out of scope”. This is silo-bound thinking, not mission-oriented thinking.
The recent emphasis on “customer experience” (CX) is a partial step in the right direction. Companies should train and equip everyone touching a customer to deliver a great experience. Too few go any further, though. These roles have a natural vantage point into new/additional value…yet CX initiatives are silent on this opportunity, focusing only on satisfaction with past purchases.
Things inside the Sales Silo Are Different too.
Business development is subtly different, but dramatically more powerful. Business developers focus on building new value, not simply new revenue streams. Value-founded revenue streams are differentiated, more sustainable..and more profitable. Measured value is a leading indicator; profitable revenue streams are important, but are a trailing indicator.
Sales in a value culture is about co-creating value to win business, and strengthening relationships. While most companies I run across claim to do something along these lines, their training, enablement, and KPIs tell the story of a culture about “selling what we have” at whatever pricing can still be approved internally, then trying to make the customer happy with it.
Like net-new sales, existing account management is about the same thing: co-creating value, and strengthening relationships…only writ large. Executive-to-executive relationships are built on value exchanged, not aggregated revenue figures.
Value-based Pricing is Cultural, Not Some Isolated Process.
I’ve worked in organizations who practiced value-based pricing at an elite level. Unfortunately, some contingency-based “pricing consultants” price-increase recommendations last only as long as it takes for customers to find new vendors. Truly value-based pricing is a pan-organizational (wider than cross-functional) capability. Value-based cultures base pricing upon how to form truly win-win value exchanges, preferred by both parties.
Most of today’s sales enablement practitioners don’t even have value-based pricing on their radar. Ironically, they could pursue no initiative with higher ROI. Granted, they would need to broaden their self-limiting “sale silo only” scope, the financial leverage is staggering. Every dollar of additional price is a dollar of profit, while every dollar of new sales is some small fraction of a dollar of profit.
Value-Focused Marketing Alignment.
I’m glad to see that sales enablement experts are really starting to focus on seamlessly facilitating a customer’s journey. Since buyers engage sales people later and later in a typical buying process, messaging alignment is necessary. Thankfully, some marketing automation tools help convey customer insights (from engagement history) into sales at lead turnover. World class sales and marketing alignment is maturing: beyond just having a single definition of the word “lead”, to insightful lead and opportunity scoring. I work with clients to develop persona-specific value content, scored for receptivity to our company’s differentiated outcomes.
What does this mean? Differentiate your offer in a way that helps customers envision unique outcomes. Content about differentiated outcomes is golden: personas engaging with such content have self-identified as prospects likely to value your offer differentiation. Score these clicks and opens higher than clicks and opens for non-differentiated outcomes.
The trick is to work with your sales and product teams to come up with those differentiators and golden outcomes. Marketing’s messaging expertise and lead scoring can really be value focused at this point.
Is A Value Culture Worth Your Energy?
I know that culture change is hard. Value-focused culture is a straightforward, intuitive culture change, though. It is expressly created to give every worker in your company a direct line-of-sight to customer outcomes. That’s a powerful motivator and unifier. It helps all of your employees derive meaning and significance for their role in customer outcomes.
Value cultures and the people who grow them are going somewhere. There is a tribe of like-minded practitioners out there, and I’d like to assemble them. We have a lot to offer the corporate world, and I’d love to work together.
Comment below, and/or contact me if you’d like to learn more.
To your success!