This requires a shift from old sales tactics, messages, and approaches focused solely on offerings and a commitment to making the customer the center of your sales process. Driven largely by the pandemic, which has transformed business paradigms in every industry, a staggering 87% of high-growth companies now take a value-based approach to sales.
Read on to explore exactly why your company should adopt value selling now, plus 5 tips for executing it successfully.
- Value-based selling demonstrates the unique value your offerings can deliver to each individual prospective customer.
- Highly informed B2B buyers and a rise in remote interactions have made value selling more critical to sales success than it was in the past.
- Nearly three-quarters of B2B buyers chose their winning vendor because they showed stronger knowledge of their specific company and its needs.
- Interactive training and strong sales enablement materials are essential to equip sales teams for value selling success.
- Value-based selling requires thorough customer research, and innovative mindset, and high levels of customization from sales reps.
What is value-based selling?
Value-based selling focuses first and foremost on how a product or service can deliver business value for the customer. While this may sound obvious, it’s quite different from traditional sales approaches, which emphasized features and benefits without necessarily connecting them to the actual customer.
For senior sales employees accustomed to these traditional approaches and/or new sales reps who have been trained with traditional principles, value-based selling can be challenging to adopt. It requires a different kind of sales message — one that often doesn’t sell so much as it demonstrates potential value and guides (rather than convinces) buyers to make the best decision for their organization.
But don’t mistake value selling for soft messaging. When done right, it’s quite compelling, especially given that it aligns with the types of interactions buyers want and expect from B2B sellers today.
What has caused the shift toward value selling?
A perfect storm of factors have emerged in recent years to drive a shift toward value-based selling in today’s B2B environment. First, search engines like Google have altered the B2B sales landscape permanently in that buyers no longer have to depend on sales reps for information.
Company websites, marketing content, industry best-lists, online reviews — these resources and more can all be found with a quick Google search. Buyers are now fully informed before they reach out to a single potential provider. In fact, B2B buyers complete most of their research (on average) before ever talking to a salesperson.
This means traditional sales pitches focused on product and company are now redundant — buyers already know this information, and they want to skip right to how you can add value and meet their needs.
Second, the pandemic brought on the rise of remote work, which now seems to be permanent for many organizations. Remote meetings, events, and interactions have replaced many of the in-person opportunities salespeople once had to build connections with potential customers.
Instead, salespeople are fighting for attention on digital channels not limited by geography or to those who put the effort in to showing up for events. The landscape is more crowded, and sales reps that can demonstrate clear value are the ones who manage to stand out.
As these gradual shifts have taken place, customer expectations have evolved alongside them. Today’s B2B buyer isn’t pleasantly surprised to experience a value-based sales process — they expect it. Industry research reports that nearly three-quarters of B2B buyers chose their winning vendor because they showed stronger knowledge of their specific company and its needs.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to shift your organization toward a value-based selling strategy. In the next section, we’ll walk through 5 best practices for doing so successfully.
5 Tips for Successful Value-Based Selling
Train your sales team
It takes more than just telling your sales team about value-based selling — you need to show them how to do it. This requires interactive training from experts in the field (either those from your own organization or outside consultants).
Equipping your sales team with the right training, coaching, skills, and knowledge to execute value-based selling allows them to do so with confidence and a higher rate of success.
Prioritize sales enablement
Personalized, value-based approaches do not have to equate to reinventing the wheel for every client. Know your ideal customers and create strong sales enablement materials for each one — resources that can serve as a starting point for your sales employees to customize each buyer experience.
For example, presentation templates that cover how your offerings deliver value to a specific customer segment can then be personalized for an individual buyer. Searchable content libraries allow reps to find and share the content most relevant to each unique prospect.
Great value-based sales enablement materials provide the foundation for sales reps to create highly-customized buyer experiences without having to start from scratch every time.
Hire innovative thinkers
Since value selling is about more than product features and benefits, it requires a creative mind to make a compelling case for every new prospect. As a sales leader, you should prioritize innovators who naturally enjoy coming up with fresh ideas that resonate with buyers. Sales reps should be willing and able to craft exciting, relevant, customized messages that emphasize how your offerings can make the buyer’s organization better.
Add value to every interaction
It’s okay to think about value in general terms to start, but you should also drill down to specific interactions and determine what value looks like in each given scenario.
For example: Value delivered via phone call looks different than it does via email. The former is an opportunity to have real-time discussion and respond immediately to buyer questions and concerns. The latter provides the chance to share valuable content assets like videos or ebooks.
These are just a few examples. The takeaway is to design every interaction in your sales process with the intention of maximizing its potential to demonstrate value.
Know your stuff
Don’t get caught off guard by buyers who expect you to know about their company and needs (and most of them will). Great value-based selling includes extensive buyer research that connects the dots between your offerings and their specific company, needs, goals, challenges, and more.
Be sure that through research and discovery is part of the process for every sales rep so they’re prepared to demonstrate value for each unique prospect.
Over to You
A comprehensive Strategic Sales Management platform like Xactly’s empowers you to know how your value-based sales strategy is performing — from a holistic organization-wide view down to individual rep performance — and take the right measures to maximize its success.