6 Practical Tips for Value-Based Selling
Value-based selling is an approach that has gained widespread attention in the B2B community over the years. The problem is that a large percentage of the articles, webinars, and conference sessions dedicated to the subject treat value-based selling as an ideology, without explaining how businesses can actually apply the approach within their sales organizations on a day-to-day basis. Here, we’ll aim to provide tactical advice to help you get started.
Defining Value-Based Selling
Before we dive into the practical application of value-based selling, let’s define it: In the most basic terms, value-based selling is a sales approach that focuses on understanding and reinforcing the reasons why your products and/or services are valuable to the buyer. In contrast to common sales techniques, value-based selling focuses on the goals and objectives of the buyer, connecting the dots between your offering and the buyer’s desired outcomes.
Even if they are trained to do otherwise, sales professionals tend to fall into the habit of spending their energy on prospecting rather than focusing on the needs of potential buyers. In a market where buyers have more options than ever before, one of the ways to set your business apart is through value-based selling. By showing how your products and services can provide value in a way that is specific to your prospects’ business goals, you’ll stand out from competitors and set yourself up for success down the road.
Applying Value-Based Selling
In practice, being successful in value-based selling all comes down to doing your research and putting the needs of potential buyers before your own. Keep these six lessons in mind when implementing the approach.
1. Do your due diligence. To build trust with a potential buyer and start to prove your value, you first have to understand the buyer’s pain points as well as its goals and objectives.
Before your first meeting with a prospect, use the resources available to you to gain a better understanding of the company, its products and services, its competitors, and the industry it’s in. Start with the company’s website and then move on to review sites, analyst reports, quarterly earnings calls, partner content, and whatever else you can find. By gaining a full understanding of the company, you can start to map out the specific ways your products and services can provide value.
And your discovery shouldn’t stop there. In your first call with a prospect, make sure to ask hard-hitting questions about the company to further your understanding of what that buyer is looking to achieve. The more precise you can be when first positioning your value, the better your chances of closing the deal down the road.
2. Keep an open dialogue. Sales professionals can sometimes fall into the habit of using the same pitch no matter who the buyer is. In order to adopt a value-based selling approach, the dynamic between the supplier and buyer has to be conversational with a lot of give and take. Communication is the key to success.
When first meeting with a prospect, go into the meeting with a plan (based on your aforementioned research), but ask frequent questions and don’t be afraid to pivot when necessary. During every interaction with a prospect, continuously gauge the needs of their business and fine-tune your understanding of their desired business outcomes.
3. Prove your impact. In a world of constant promotion, B2B buyers are more skeptical than ever before. Your strategy can’t just be to say your product provides value. If you truly want to break through to prospects, you have to be able to prove how your product directly relates to the achievement of their goals and objectives.
When you show how your products and services can be applied to a particular use case, you’ll start to build a solid reputation and, ultimately, move deals forward.
4. Educate instead of sell. During every interaction with a prospect, your goal should be to educate, offer guidance, and lend your expertise. If a buyer views you as a valuable resource and confidant, you’re more likely to build a solid foundation for an ongoing partnership. As in life, the relationship between a supplier and buyer has to be mutually beneficial to have longevity.
Once you’ve proven your dedication to helping a buyer succeed, the sales process gets a whole lot easier. When a buyer has already experienced value from you through past exchanges, it’s not as far of a jump to believe that the product you’re selling can also help them succeed and achieve their desired outcomes.
5. Add value in every interaction. When a deal has stalled, it can be tempting to reach out to the buyer and ask for an update. In reality, that does nothing to move the deal forward or create a positive relationship dynamic. Instead, try offering value by sharing informative content, industry news, and relevant opportunities that you know are applicable to the prospect’s business. By making the buyer feel heard and supported, you’ll start to build trust and create a positive long-term customer experience.
6. Coordinate handoffs post-sale. Once you’ve positioned your value in a way that a prospect understands and moved the deal across the finish line, it can be easy to disconnect. But that’s the wrong move if you’re playing the long game. The post-sale handoff often begins the unraveling of a previously successful partnership. Here, many suppliers experience a collective memory loss as the closing plan doesn’t translate into a lasting success plan. Consequently, the customer is left waiting for the promised value to accrue … while everybody else seems to have moved on.
It is in your best interest to make sure your implementation and success teams understand a new customer’s desired outcomes. Make sure to document their goals and objectives during the sales cycle and create a tight process around the internal handoff. By doing so, you can accelerate post-sale value realization and lock in future growth.
As you gear up to approach new leads, instead of going in with your typical sales pitch, ask yourself how you can provide value and help your prospects succeed. You may be surprised to start experiencing higher win rates and happier long-term customers.
Kolby Tallentire is a product marketing manager at MetaCX, the pioneer in a new outcomes-based approach for managing the customer life cycle by transforming how suppliers and buyers collaborate and win together. Tallentire holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and an MBA in international business from University of Indianapolis. For more information on MetaCX, please visit www.metacx.com/, and follow the company on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.