Forbes Insights: Value First

Although helping sales reps consistently find the right content for each selling situation is deemed important and is garnering much attention / investment, it’s not the top way to create higher performing reps and drive the most revenue.

A recent study by Forbes Insights indicates that top performing Sales Enablement organizations are distinctly different in their ability to:
1) Create content that is relevant to the needs of the customers they call on (67%)
2) Communicate the company’s value story (63%).


Because it is easier for buyers to research online before they meet with a rep, salespeople are ever more challenged to go beyond the easily available content and have high-value conversations, to help the buyers on topics they haven’t already learned on their own. 

As a result, the report indicates a distinct Value Gap between a typical sellers’ standard product pitch, and buyer expectations to have consultative guidance in uncovering challenges, getting competitive advice and understanding the unique value of proposed solutions.

“A key characteristic of a high-performing salesperson is an attitude to create value for customers,” says Tamara Schenk, research director at CSO Insights. “It’s a mindset. High performers have a need and desire to help a customer solve a problem, to create value for them. The business follows from that approach.”

In this new environment the research is clear: top performing sales reps are enabled to connect with buyers using more personalized content, to help interactively diagnose and assess challenges, and communicate and quantify differentiating value

“Content has got to be used to build credibility and open up a rich and meaningful customer conversation,” says Dan Smoot, executive vice president of market readiness at Salesforce.com. “If you are heavily competing, you want to be aggressive. But you fail if you are just talking about yourself. Customers want you to understand them.”

In the Forbes Insights study, over half (52%) of top performers say that “working closely with marketing to better support value selling with content is the top way that sales support (sales operations) can drive sales productivity”.


The research highlights the importance of value consistency, where sales enablement can have a big impact with tools and certification. “Value messaging and value conversations have to be consistent from end to end, so the salesperson tells the same story as marketing, but tuned to the buyer’s needs,” says Stephen Diorio, chief analyst, Forbes CMO Practice.


The Bottom-Line

When developing your Sales Enablement plans, don't forget that it's not just about helping Sales find the right content and investing in Sales Asset Management (SAM), but having better content and tools to help guide sales to better communicate and quantify your unique value.



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