Taos recently participated in a webinar hosted by DecisionLink, centering on: “The Value of Selling as a Team Sport.” The session brought together Tom Rose, VP of Technical Solutions, Knowledge and Training at Nasuni, Ken Grohe, SVP, Chief Revenue Officer at Taos, an IBM Company, and Michael Connery, VP of Solutions and Value Engineering at BetterCloud. As the webinar title suggested, the discussion revolved around how value selling in the B2B realm has truly become a team sport that must involve people across the organizational spectrum.
B2B buyers are interested in clearly seeing the direct outcomes and value of the solutions that they’re purchasing or subscribing to, and the job of doing so isn’t just relegated to sales teams any longer. As competition increases in technology sales, every company must be laser-focused on both identifying and communicating the value that its products or services have to offer. Siloed sales approaches just aren’t sustainable.
Companies must work together to ensure that customers see the economic impact of their solutions. Only then will sales efforts be effective for the long term.
Traditionally, sales teams would have to invest a lot of time creating customized sales deals and propositions, and didn’t have ways to automate the value pricing process with any scalable approach.
Now, Chief Revenue Officers like our own Ken Grohe recognize that every opportunity must have a value proposition established before it can move to the next stage. A lot of time cannot be wasted on pushing a sale through if there’s a poor value equation—or one that just doesn’t make sense to the buyer.
Go faster…by going slower?
As Grohe stated, “As a CRO, about 49% of what I do is buying things, and 59% is selling things…I tend to think like a VC. What’s something I can invest a small amount of money into that I can get a bigger bag of money out of quicker?”
Grohe also pointed out that companies that are willing to invest in upfront value research and development will be able to gain the competitive advantage over those who aren’t willing to wade through the data. As he put it, “Those who are able to master the process of determining the highest money flow options will rule, while those who don’t will just constantly think their pricing is wrong.”
Several people agreed with the idea that a company must “go slow to go faster” when it comes to preparing sales proposals. A team must delve into its data, take the time to analyze it across all stakeholders, across change management, risk analysis, and so on. You can’t just try to push a sale through based on whether someone in the customer’s company likes your sales rep or not. There must be tangible demonstrations of the value being offered.
Sales cart before the horse
In a similar fashion, the sales process can’t be rushed and will only progress in a reliable fashion if elements like proof of concept and technology validations occur after a clear value equation is established for the customer.
Even if a team reaches the end of the sales funnel, conversions aren’t likely to happen if the buying rationale hasn’t been established in real value. So taking the time to do this is essential because it also shows a real investment in understanding the customer’s business and pain points through concrete use cases. This approach also helps a team demonstrate that it has the expertise and experience necessary to deliver on the value being offered.
On top of all this, if you don’t provide a value prop for the customers, they’re going to have to do it by themselves—or it won’t happen at all. By saving them time and effort and having that work done upfront, your team can build deeper trust and a more worthwhile, profitable relationship with the buyer.
In the end, it was wholly agreed that value selling has become a job for the whole company, from executive buy-in to the sales or marketing teams to IT and beyond. Nor should a value prop be treated as a static document. It must be constantly iterated and revisited throughout the course of the sales process to determine if it’s delivering top results for both the customer and those involved in the sales effort.
Above all, a concrete value proposition gives the customer something that can make the sale for you when you aren’t even in the room. And what’s more efficient than that?