Thursday, April 03, 2014

A Failure to Communicate Value

By Mark Schlueter & Tom Pisello

It's the responsibility sales and marketing, not the customer, to prove the value of your proposal.

If you provide value proof in the form of a few marketing slogans, you won’t win the deal, as IDC indicates 95% of B2B purchases now require formal financial justification.

If you wait for your customer to do it – the deal likely stalls, as IDC reports that 65% of buyers don’t have the knowledge, research or tools needed to translate your proposal into value impact.

If you allow your competitors to drive the value conversation they will frame the value to their advantage, as Forrester indicates 3 in 4 deals going to the vendor establishing the buying agenda and value framework (as opposed to 1 in 4 to the vendor winning the “bake-off”).

So be provocative.  Step up and lead the value discussion with your prospects:
  • Change the conversation from your product, features and price to a focus on the customer value you can deliver.
  • Illuminate issues and quantify the cost of “do nothing” to create a sense of urgency to ignite the buyer’s journey.
  • Quantify the benefits uniquely for each stakeholder, as more stakeholders are involved in each decision, and each decision maker has unique pain points and perception of value.
  • Quantify the ROI / payback and total cost of ownership (TCO) from the differentiating features that separate you from the competition. 
  • Communicate this all as a visual story for today’s “short attention span” buyer.

Although this all makes perfect sense, and seems obvious to the best performers, unfortunately, only 1 in 10 sales reps have evolved to selling with value (Forrester).  

And this is having a significant impact, with 60% of buyers disengaging with sales reps because they don’t understand their challenges and can’t communicate value (Qvidian).

The challenge is significant, to create the right messaging, insights and quantification.  To enable sales reps and partners to evolve to better value-focused conversations and proposals.  But if you don’t take the challenge, who will? Hopefully it will be you, before your competition.

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