B2B Sales Tip: It’s Never Too Early to Start Talking About Value

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Editor’s note: A version of this post originally appeared on Playboox’s Prepare to Win! Blog.

Research shows that best-in-class companies — top-performing firms in terms of quota attainment, average growth, and deal size — consistently implement value-based selling practices at a far higher rate than average.

Although the economy is improving, B2B buyers have become conditioned to be more austere. Plus, the buying process has gotten increasingly complex with more people involved in evaluating and making purchase decisions. With almost every deal getting closely scrutinized by the CFO office, value selling has evolved as a critical skill. To optimize the impact of value selling, it’s essential that your salespeople establish the basis for it very early in the sales process.

How to Succeed at Value Selling: Here’s How We Do It

Our salespeople are trained to on the second call with a qualified prospect to conduct a discussion around KPI’s that drive growth by sharing ones we’re seeing other sales leaders track and then asking the prospect questions like:

  • Which metrics are you MOST trying to improve to drive achievement of quota/growth targets?
  • Which of these are you tracking on your dashboards?
  • Are you bonused on any of these?
  • Which does your CEO most care about?
  • Have you established targets for any of these that you can share?

Once we understand these, we try to learn what’s getting in the way of where they are versus where they want to be for a given metric. We then ask what they have done or are doing to try to improve performance for that metric. In other words, what initiatives are underway or planned to drive improvement for the target metric.

Next, we dig a little deeper to get a sense for which stages of the sales process prove most challenging based on which stage-to-next-stage conversion rates are below expectation. Inevitably, we uncover an important opportunity for improvement we can impact.

Here’s How We Ensure We Do it Consistently

We provide a coaching tip in our sales playbook app that puts the metric-related questions front and center at the discover stage to make it easy for our salespeople to (consistently) conduct intelligent KPI discussions. We also make it easy for the salesperson to capture the prospect’s responses in our app to make sure metric questions are not just asked, but that responses are also captured, so the salesperson can refer to them throughout the sales process and set up the basis for a discussion regarding financial justification.

Documenting the key metrics the prospect cares about most and making it a core topic during deal reviews also sets up sales management to be able to coach their salespeople on how to best advance the opportunity.

Another important benefit of having a discussion around metrics early on is that it helps you better gauge the prospect’s motivation to change. If they have not yet given consideration to the potential economic impact of implementing your solution category, then, in all likelihood, a buying decision is not imminent.

Bottom Line: Zeroing in on Value Sooner is a Win-Win

Value selling is an important, but potentially difficult, skill to master. It doesn’t have to be. With a little training, consistent reinforcement, the right tools, and by making it an integral part of your sales process and deal reviews, your salespeople — including new-hires — can more successfully understand the value outcomes their prospects seek and demonstrate how your solution can get them there.

The sooner you start helping your reps conduct KPI improvement conversations and the sooner in the sales process they start doing so, the better for everyone concerned, including your prospects.

What are you doing to institutionalize value selling in your sales organization?

Image by Todd Shaffer