Customer Value Management: Filling the Value Gap in CRM Tools

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I’ve always thought that there are two kinds of people in this world—the ones that will tell you that you have a hole in your pants and those that avoid the uncomfortable conversation and leave you to embarrass yourself. As awkward as it can be sometimes, I try to be the former. So forgive me for being intrusive, but I need to let you know that there’s a giant hole in your most essential sales tool—your CRM.

Over the past 20 years, CRM has solidified itself as an essential building block in the sales process. However, according to Gerald Murray of IDC, “As customer contact databases and systems of record, they [CRM tools] have performed. But the larger goals of greatly improving sales rep productivity and effectiveness remain open opportunities.” So how is it that we haven’t seen what’s missing before?

I would argue that it’s not that we haven’t seen that there are challenges with CRM. It’s just that only the most effective salespeople have identified the missing link: customer value. One of the reasons many are blind to the power of value is that, frankly, it’s hard to calculate and share with traditional tools. Have you ever noticed that every time an RFP comes in, your sales and marketing teams are scrambling to create customer success stories that quantify value to include in the response? This, despite the fact that the first or second question salespeople are asked by virtually every prospect is “Who else in my industry uses your solution?” and “What value do they get from it?” The problem is that even with a powerful CRM tool in place, getting to the value answer takes a ton of work using spreadsheets, calculators, and lots of people to pull it together.

Streamlining and automating these efforts is the essence behind customer value management (CVM). Customer value management is the quantification of the value of each relationship you have. Essentially, it is the bridge between the robust information you have in your CRM solution and the presentation of that information in a way that quantifies impact and the value delivered. Whether you use this information for prospecting, cross-selling, or upselling, it is one of the most essential components of a successful sales process. And the truth is, some of your salespeople already get it. Those are the 20 percent that are generating 80 percent of the business. They’re doing the hard prep work to deliver value information at every interaction. With CVM, you can extend the impact of your CRM investments by making value insights available to your entire team.

We all know that selling features and functions is a sales strategy with limited success. Value conversations are the key to unlocking new levels of engagement across your organization. When your salespeople can speak the language of value, they have the ability to become trusted advisers to their customers. And it’s this deeper, more substantive relationship that positions them to win more deals, more often.

For companies looking to build stronger customer relationships, opportunities to leverage value conversations can be found deeper in the customer journey as well. For example, ServiceNow committed itself to empowering teams companywide with customer value management tools to help calculate and share in-depth value metrics. They wanted anyone responsible for customer-facing activities to be able to anchor their conversations, presentations, and materials around the value that ServiceNow brings to its clients. As a result of these efforts, ServiceNow was quickly able to improve its win rate on field-led activities by 1.7 times, and doubled the attach rate on sales opportunities.

CRM and CVM tools working together create a sort of virtuous circle that builds on existing customer success to feed sales prospecting efforts. With value automatically calculated at every step of the customer relationship, organizations have the power to circumvent the case study development scramble. By integrating directly with your existing CRM solution, CVM software can automatically extract the data and insights to create assets that deliver this information in digestible, easy-to-understand visuals and reports. Used in this way, customer value management extends your investments in CRM by translating data into value-based engagement tools that will help you stand out.

The truth is, real sales success is more than just winning the deal. That’s only the first step. Delivering value is a process that continues throughout your relationship with your customer. And quantifying that value is an essential business function that fills that critical gap in your CRM solution. So if you’re ready to patch that hole in your sales process and better leverage your CRM solution for success, customer value management is the answer. And with it, you can move beyond just winning the deal. You’ll have crossed the gap to building customers for life.

Jim Berryhill is cofounder and CEO of DecisionLink. Berryhill has spent more than 30 years in enterprise software sales and sales management, leading high-performance teams at ADR, CA, Siebel Systems, and HP Software with a focus on value selling. He founded DecisionLink with a vision to make customer value a strategic asset by delivering the first enterprise-class platform for customer value management.

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