Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Can a Value Selling / Marketing Program Improve Your Business?

Frugalnomics, borne of the economic downturn, represents a fundamental shift in the way businesses make buying decisions, resulting in a scrutinizing of each investment to deliver quantified bottom-line accountability.

This permanent shift towards frugal buyers has forced B2B vendors to fundamentally change the way they reach prospects and convert them to customers. Leading B2B vendors are implementing value selling / marketing programs, and have received dramatic benefits as a result.

Here are the top six benefits:

1. Cut through the clutter - Buyers are inundated with marketing messages constantly via e-mail, web browsing, direct mail and advertising. With buyers suffering from information overload, how can a marketer break through the clutter and connect? Research shows that customers do not want generic messages or the hard sell, but instead want relevant and consultative tips and advice. Using value marketing tools, users can be presented with tools that help them to analyze their opportunities, and obtain more personalized and intelligent advice. These tools can include interactive white papers, executive self-assessments, benchmarking comparisons, ROI calculators and TCO comparisons.

2. Transform and elevate customer relationships - Helping prospects diagnose their issues, uncovering problems they didn’t even know they had, and creating a best practices roadmap can open up doors to executives and help sales engage earlier in the decision making cycle. Buyers noted a decided change in sentiment post assessment, driving the B2B vendor to be perceived as a strategic consulting partner versus product vendor. Moreover, the executive assessments continually led to multiple projects / product sales at decidedly higher deal sizes. Better competitive advantage was gained by helping the customer set the strategy and agenda, versus involvement later in decision process, such as responding to RFPs.

3. Create an urgency to buy - Frugal buyers are looking for reasons to say “no” to vs. “yes”. As a result, decision makers are requiring quantified business cases for >90% of all projects, first, in order to set priorities of what projects are considered, and second, to get executive signoff/ spending approval. Those B2B vendors who deliver compelling business case are meeting expectations from 81% of customers who expect business case justification, and have proven to be 60% more likely to get the deal, and receive approval >30% faster, than those who leave the justification up to the customer.

4. Connect with multiple stakeholders - large purchase decisions involve more stakeholders than ever, and with varied agendas and pain points. Connecting with diverse purchasing committees is difficult for even the best sales professional. Value selling tools can help to analyze the opportunities from multiple perspectives, helping to quantify the improvements an investment can make from each stakeholders point of view, and create value proof points for all stakeholders involved.

5. Sell value vs. price - Traditional sales professionals focus on price, and therefore leave the discussion open to discounting. Value selling focuses on the benefits and payback of the proposed solution, shifting the focus from cost of the product, to value of the solution. This has been proven to help increase the products and services of a proposal, boosting up-sell / cross-sell potential, and reduce discounting, resulting in 20% higher transaction sizes.

6. Prove best value versus competition – Every buyer today wants a deal, and knows that competition amongst providers is fierce. Even though you may have set the strategy for the project and made a great business case, you can bet that the buyer will seek out other solution providers and pit vendor vs. vendor to reduce up-front costs. It is important therefore to not only prove that your solution can deliver savings and a high ROI, but that it delivers these benefits at a better value than the competition. One way to prove better value is to demonstrate unique benefits and bottom-line impact – tying unique specific features of the solution to unique savings or benefits. Another way to prove value is to prove that the solution has a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) – lower up-front / over lifecycle costs than the competition. With today’s frugal buyer, sales professionals using TCO comparison tools have driven competitive win rates higher by 50% or more.

7. Delivery credibility to Overcome the Skeptics– Frugal buyers absolutely require vendor assistance in diagnosing issues, developing roadmap/plans, and quantifying the value of proposed solutions. However, the buyers understand that the B2B vendor has an agenda - to sell products / services - and therefore remain wary of the analysis and advice. Less than 17% trust vendor provided business cases unless third party research / proof is provided. SiriusDecisions validates that buyers trust analysts as the third party of choice (SiriusDecisions B-to-B Buyer's Survey 2010), and that using third party proof points can help to drive quicker buying decisions.

Want to understand the unique benefits that a value-based B2B selling / marketing program can deliver for your organization? Take 5 minutes to tell us a little about your organization and we’ll quantify the value for you - https://roianalyst.alinean.com/enterpriseroi/AutoLogin.do?d=222693735895213178


Metrics / Research Source: IDC | Alinean 2010

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