How things have changed. Back in the late 90s, when the practice of assessing potential value was first getting traction, the focus was on calling out solution efficiencies and savings related to total cost of ownership. However, that institutionalized approach has led to significant value leaks from customers’ potential, originating in the sales cycle.
Sellers must both discover value and build buyers’ confidence that potential value will become real value
Value assessment tools are typically introduced late in the sales cycle even though buyers define value throughout their evaluation process. And buyers know value is not confined to total cost of ownership or solution efficiencies. The value proposition must extend beyond actual operational improvements to include incremental impacts to financial statements. This lack of alignment between buyer evaluation and seller strategy is resulting in significant value leakage.
On average, 70% of the evaluation process is complete before first contact by sellers
The Seller-Buyer Paradigm Shift
With a shift of control moving to buyers, sellers must respond with adequate alignment of their sales methodologies and processes to the buyers’ journey. It’s not enough to use general value propositions based on results from other companies (case studies and testimonials) to establish a framework for sales engagement. Value must be defined beyond antidotal evidence from other companies.
Buyers now expect collaborative engagements that include education about solutions with value insights throughout the entire buyer lifecycle. They also want insights from benchmark data along with industry experts’ knowledge about financial models. Other buyer expectations include:
- Identification of the optimal solution for each buyer’s unique business environment
- Quantification of the potential impact the solution can bring and qualification of the expected impact to the buyer’s business
- Establishment of a reliable solution validation program to ensure the buyer realizes full value from the solution after it is implemented
- A culture that is obsessed with customer intimacy and customer success
It is critical to understand and execute a buyer enablement program that focuses equally on value insights and value delivery throughout all buying-selling stages.