The Five Pillars to Business Value / ROI Selling Success

A business value / ROI sales tool can be a fantastic foundation to business value selling success, but to elevate to greatness, you need more.

From our extensive client experience, we have found that implementing best practices from the following Five Pillars can be the key to reaching new heights with your business value-selling program:

1)  Deliver a superior user experience – Do your sales reps and channel partners love using your business value / ROI tools? They should.

Your business value / ROI sales tools should be simple, easy and fun to use, all while providing credible analyses and results.  Spreadsheets don’t cut it, and financially heavy interfaces present an immediate barrier for sales reps that don’t have degrees in accounting or finance.

The fact is that your sales reps and channel partners are spoiled by easy to use consumer applications, and expect every program they use to be visually stunning, intuitive to use, and not require any training or instructions.

A modern interface is critical, think interactive infographic or Powerpoint, engaging for both reps and prospects. It should have a mobile first mentality, and enable use on laptops for easy group presentations and on-line meetings, as well as tablets / mobile devices, for sitting next to prospects and engaging one-on-one.

If your user experience is traditional and financial, it may be time to rethink and retool.

2) Integrate with workstream– Do your sales reps and channel partners know where to find you business value selling tools?

Your users need to know where to find you business value / ROI sales tools, and moreover, the tools should be placed right into the sales rep / partners’ normal workstream. This means providing:
1)   Authentication using their normal corporate or CRM single-sign-on identification, removing a barrier to access while still securing your IP
2)   Access to the tool and integration within the CRM, recommending use of the value / ROI tools from within the account and opportunity views
3)   Recommendations for the value / ROI tools from within the sales / channel enablement portal, setting up rules to recommend the tool for use early and often in the sales process, and providing a link for direct access.

With so much content available to your sales reps, the key is promoting direct and easy access, guiding users as to when best to use the business value / ROI sales tools in each unique engagement.

3)  Provide education and support – Do your sales reps and partners have the knowledge and skills to effectively use the tools in their engagements?

Even if you’ve made your business value / ROI sales tool so simple to use that it really doesn’t need any instructions, it doesn’t mean your sales reps and channel partners know when and how to use the tools in engagements, and how to best present results.

It is therefore important that your sales reps and channel partners are enabled with the 3 C’s: Competence, Confidence and Credibility.

To accomplish this, most of our customers first implement an introductory training program with us, a short training session / video to help show the sales reps and channel partners when best to apply the tools in sales engagements, illustrating the typical flow, showing a typical method to engage and present results and addressing the typical questions. 

Second, a Value Expert certification program is recommended, where users can use the ROI tool in a mock engagement, submitting to or recording a presentation to demonstrate and be graded (with feedback) on their capability.  

Subsequent to the mock engagement, first line managers or value consultants can sit in on one or two live engagements to provide meeting support as well as guidance to further refine the tool use can follow this up.  And the support shouldn’t stop there. You need an “ROI deal desk” of value specialists to help answer rep / partner questions, guide use and support engagements /presentations, to supplement and support rep / partner led value engagements.

With sales rep and channel partner turnover, it is vital that your introductory and certification programs aren’t just one time affairs, but continuous, educating the 10-20% of new reps / partners on-boarded each year.

4) Keep current – How up to date are the product / services info, benchmark metrics and pricing data in your business value / ROI tool?

If you’re not maintaining your sales tool content, metrics and pricing, your sales reps and channel partners figure this out pretty quickly (and don’t use the tools as much as they should as a result).

Your sales tool program should include regularly scheduled refreshes, recommended quarterly, to keep the product / services information current, adjust pricing and sizing modules, and refresh benchmark metrics / defaults.

With each release, the user base should be made aware that the tool has been updated and is being kept current with the latest content and metrics.

5)  Measure business outcomes – Is your business value / ROI program delivering the tangible results you anticipated?

Every aspect of your business is under constant scrutiny, so it’s vital to provide tangible measurement on each investment’s success. Your business value / ROI sales tools are no exception.

You should be proactively providing your executives with measurements on usage and adoption, and statistically proving that the tools are driving key sales performance metrics (to assure they don’t think these results can occur in other ways, perhaps without investing so much in your value / ROI program).

First it’s important to measure that your awareness building and education programs have worked, tallying and tracking the number of users and their activity (number of analyses and reports).  This should include reporting on the percentage of sales reps / partners adopting the toolkit, the number of business cases developed / delivered each month, and the percentage of opportunities towards which the tools are being applied.

Second, it’s vital to tie the program to “move the needle” metrics, tracking how the value / ROI analyses are driving key sales metric improvements, including:
1) Improved deal size / reduced discounting
2) Increased win rates (less competitive losses / deals ending in “No decision"
3) Reduced sales cycle duration
4) Number of reps meeting / exceeding quota
5)  Quota achievement
6) New rep ramp up time (time to effectiveness).

The Bottom-Line

Along with your investment in a solid business value / ROI selling toolkit, implementing best practices such as these Five Pillars are required to have a greater impact on your ROI from your tool investment and organizations sales performance.

It is for this reason that we have implemented formal Customer Success Workshops, led by Dave Stachura, the latest addition to the Alinean team. Dave leverages his expertise to help measure and drive program improvements for each Alinean client, formerly running AMD’s sales enablement programs and implementing a variety of successful sales tool, training and certification programs and most recently developing / delivering content enablement services for Accent Technologies.

For each Business Value / ROI Tool client, Dave and his team engage in an interactive quarterly review session with your value team, to collaboratively track performance and progress, and implementing various dimensions of the Five Pillars to Business Value Success.


Review the Five Pillars of Value Success webcast with Dave Stachura and Tom Pisello:

Checkout the slide deck here:

Learn more about these five pillars and program success from an Alinean customer: David Caradonna from Splunk

See what leveraging these five pillars could mean from this Smart Selling Tools article: Taking your Value / ROI Selling Program from Good to Great


Popular posts from this blog

Gartner: Buyers Demand Less Pitch, More Value-Story

On-Demand Webinar - From an ROI Business Case to a Value-centric Case for Change

Forbes Insights: Value First