The Potential Value Statement:
Customers aren’t interested in meeting with you to learn more about your company and your new cool technology (especially decision makers). Yet salespeople are typically armed with little more than information about their business, products, and services. How are they to gain access to key Decision Makers?
Your Potential Value Statement (PVS) provides the foundation for outbound Sales Scripts, outreach emails, Marketing messages and more. It arms the salesforce with a message that key Decision Makers want to learn more about. A clearly articulated PVS fits on one page and explains:
- What we do in one or two sentences
- Outcomes important to Customers, their frustrations, and desired future Outcomes
- Relevant “Proof Points” of previous Outcomes we have delivered (Past Value Delivered)
- Unique aspects of our Products and Services (How) that support delivering those Outcomes
How well armed is your salesforce?
The Irresistible Value Proposition:
The reason Customers decide not to buy from you is they don’t see the value of your offering. Therefore, an Irresistible Value Proposition is critical to getting the Customer excited about doing business with you.
The first step in creating your Value Proposition for this Customer is ensuring you are pursuing the “Right Deal.” Based on the Customer’s desired Outcomes and the Outcomes important to you, what are the right Deal Levers that should be in this Deal? Deal Levers are comprised of Solution Levers (products, services, et.); Contractual Levers (contractual framework, key T & Cs, etc.); Commercial Levers (discount, volume, payment terms, etc.); and Strategic Levers (reference account, introductions, Customer Value Reviews, etc.). Does your salesforce always know the “Right Deal” to pursue?
Can we Win this Deal is a simple yet contentious question – yet it is critical to qualifying an opportunity. You can only expect to win if you can provide more Value than the Customer’s Most Likely Alternative. It’s that simple. But you must understand that Alternative and its Impacts to the Customer. Customers have three theoretical Alternatives to doing a Deal with you: 1) Go with a Competitor; 2) Do Nothing; and 3) Do it Themselves. Each Alternative requires a different selling motion and typically results in a very different Value Proposition. Does your salesforce really understand what they are competing against?
Your “Value” to any Customer is based on the context of their current situation and is incremental to their Most Likely Alternative. It is only the “incremental” that is the Value you provide. For a Customer to find your Value Proposition irresistible, it must:
- Clearly be linked to one or more Priorities of the key Decision Makers
- Highlights the “incremental” value you provide
- Is presented in the Customer’s language (their success metrics)
Taken together, these answer what is your relevance, what they can expect in terms of Outcomes, and Why do a Deal quickly? Don’t expect your Customer to work hard at trying to figure it out as the have a day job and that’s our responsibility as Sellers. Does your salesforce always present an Irresistible Value Proposition?
The Compelling Proposal:
In today’s virtual selling environment, the bulk of “selling” is happening when the salesperson is not present. The selling is being done by your champion. The standard B2B Proposal consists of publicly available “marketing material” surrounding a Price Quote. How well are we equipping our champions to be successful – especially when our Proposal looks like every other supplier?
When structured correctly, your Proposal tells the Customer’s story – not yours. It’s long past the time to rethink the purpose of the Proposal and use it as a strategic differentiator. A well-structured Proposal accomplishes the following Objectives:
- Reinforce Trust
- Set up the Right Negotiation
- Establish Credibility
- Manage the Uncertainty that’s inherent in any complex B2B deal
- Make it easier for the Customer to Sell Internally and to ultimately Buy from us
This can be accomplished with just and handful of slides (6 to 7). How often do your teams present a truly Compelling Proposal that makes it easier for the Customer to choose you?
Past Value Delivered:
The biggest disconnect between B2B selling organizations and buying organizations is that selling organizations are aiming for a closed Deal, while buying organizations are aiming for new and improved Outcomes. Buyers consider everything that has transpired up to this point as a painful necessary evil in their quest for success, while most sellers act as if the sale is the whole game. This is especially problematic in a recurring revenue (SaaS) business model.
To maximize future growth and minimize churn, selling organization must be adept at:
- Selling to Customer Outcomes versus simply a closed Deal
- Negotiating a Great Deal for both sides
- Delivering the expected Outcomes and Value and getting Credit for doing so
- Recognizing and proactively addressing Change within the Customer’s business and on our side
Delivering the promised Value and getting Credit for doing so are the keys to keeping and growing Customers. Yet, these essential tasks are not supported by effective processes and tools in too many organizations. The critical tool required is a Customer Success Plan (CSP) which is created jointly with the Customer and focus on Outcomes, Value Delivered and Changes moving forward. The CSP consists of the following:
- Finalize the Outcomes and metrics for Success (Value) in a Scorecard – Capture Past Value Delivered (PVD)
- Develop an Implementation Plan with Milestones and Responsibilities (both Seller and Customer) – Gantt Chart
- Capture Innovations and Changes that may present risk or new Value Opportunities – Forward Looking
- Establish a Communications Plan to report progress (Weekly, Monthly and Customer Value Reviews)
When Customer Success Plans are coupled with regular Customer Value Reviews with key Decision Makers, your business will become virtually bullet proof. Customers who clearly recognize your Past Value Delivered will become enthusiastic references, renew painlessly, and provide you with plentiful upsell and cross-sell opportunities!
How prepared are your Salespeople, Customer Success, Support and Services teams to deliver the promised Outcomes (Value) and get credit?
A Great Deal:
The Negotiation is one of those pressure points in any business relationship where all the right things you’ve done pay huge dividends – or all your sins you’ve committed come home to roost. To negotiate effectively you must ensure that you are having the “Right Negotiation” and then that you are negotiating the “Right Way.”
If you have been selling on Customer Outcomes and Value, then all along you’ve been framing the conversation and setting up the “Right Negotiation.” However, if you’ve been pushing product, features, functions, etc. then why are you surprised when the Customer has an inordinate focus on the Price of your products? After all, you’ve set it up to be a contentious “Price only” negotiation. No matter how good a negotiator you are, if you are having the wrong Negotiation, you will be sorely disappointed with the resulting Deal. How well do your salespeople set up the “Right Negotiation?”
Negotiating the “Right Way” is simple if you have done the right things throughout the sales cycle. It requires only three simple rules:
- Always bring the conversation back to the Customer’s desired Outcomes and the “bundle” of Deal Levers to support those Outcomes
- Do not ever concede on a single Deal Lever, but rather Trade for Deal Levers you want, or trade Deal Levers out of the Deal
- Remember that nothing is agreed to or “off the table” until everything in the Deal is agreed to
How often do you hear “you’re Price is too high?” Virtually every single time you quote. And yet, most salespeople are not prepared to respond effectively. How crazy is that? How prepared are your salespeople to negotiate effectively?
The goal of any negotiation is to capture that Value you’ve worked so hard to create in not just any Deal (for that will self-fulfilling), but rather in a Great Deal. A Great Deal has the following attributes:
- High value to the Customer as it meets their buying objectives and supports their desired Outcomes
- High value to the Seller as it meets your sales objectives and supports our account / business strategy
- Contains the key Deal Levers that allow both sides to ultimately deliver the Outcomes and Value
How often do your salespeople understand what a Great Deal looks like for this opportunity, much less are aiming squarely at that target and are prepared to negotiate?