Whether you are working with outsourced sales companies or you are trying to scale your own sales team, how and what you sell matters. But what matters even more is how your prospects and customers feel when they engage with you.
Sales should be more than a series of steps that result in a closed deal. When done right, sales is a way to connect with people and bring authentic value to their lives. From the initial sales calls to signing the contract, sales experts must communicate the value of their solution at every point in the buying process. In today’s competitive marketplace, value-based selling has become a discipline of its own.
What is value-based selling?
Value-based selling is increasingly important for companies looking to differentiate themselves and achieve long-term success. This sales methodology highlights the business values your product or service brings to a customer. Rather than simply spelling out a product or service’s key features, value-based selling reveals the deeper why underlying the feature set. It puts the focus on customer needs and connects the dots between features and desired outcomes. As a result, value-based selling drives bigger deals and generates deeper customer satisfaction.
Value-based sales vs. feature-based sales
Short-sighted sales programs rely on feature-driven communication as they try to connect with prospects and convince them to buy. This often happens because many companies just entering their go-to-market phase are led by product developers. Those leaders tend to set the tone for how the rest of the stakeholders in the company, including sales, talk about the product. It is also a natural byproduct of how customers talk about the purchases they make. Just like salespeople, consumers tend to focus on features and benefits when they explain why they decided to buy a product or service.
As a salesperson, it’s easy to ask, “If customers say they bought our product because of a feature, then why wouldn’t I continue to focus on features in future sales conversations?” In truth, though, your customers buy your product or service because it makes their jobs easier. What you offer brings more value to the work they do and how they do it.
..your customers buy your product or service because it makes their jobs easier. What you offer brings more value to the work they do and how they do it.– Lars Johan Bjørkevoll, CEO, ScaleupXQ
Instead of pitching products alone, value-based selling maps the solution or service you provide directly to your customer’s needs. This brings more benefits to your customers and your company alike.
Benefits of value-based sales
Consider the following benefits of value-based selling:
- Better overcome resistance to change
Anyone working in B2B sales for long knows the greatest competition you face in courting customers is not your market competitors or other solutions. Your greatest rival is simply the status quo.
Your prospective customers don’t like change. Change takes time. Change costs money. In short, change is hard. A feature-driven sales approach alone is not substantial enough to compel change.
With value-based sales, you identify the dissatisfaction with the status quo in the buying organization. Then you help your customers describe their dissatisfaction, seeking to understand their pain. Focusing on how your solution or service brings a dramatic reduction in your prospect’s discontent shows them there is value in changing.
- Give prospects a powerful vision of a positive future
If you are going to ask your customers to spend money with you, you must be able to show them how your solution will help them build the future they want.
Value-based selling requires you to truly know your customers. You must understand their goals and how they measure success. Showing them how your solution will help achieve their objectives, implement their strategies, and keep their company moving forward is more meaningful to them than simply hearing a product pitch.
- Position salespeople as educators and consultants
Changing the sales conversation to focus on value rather than on product features also shifts the way customers perceive your sales team. In a value-based sales relationship, customers come to see salespeople as trusted advisors. Acting as an expert consultant — instead of a quota-driven salesperson — instills greater trust. When salespeople become reliable resources, relationships become more profitable and sustainable.
When salespeople become reliable resources, relationships become more profitable and sustainable.– Lars Johan Bjørkevoll, CEO, ScaleupXQ
- Increase your ability to sell higher and deeper
The better your sales team understands your customer’s industry, opportunities,
and needs, the greater ability they have to communicate the value of your product to all levels of your customer’s company.
Value-based selling links your solution to mission-critical issues in your customer’s
organization. When your sales team can uncover your customer’s most pressing problems and clearly show how your product helps address them, they’ll gain consistent access to the C-suite and other key decision-makers.
Value-selling also fosters cross-departmental conversations. This deepens your deal’s reach within an organization, makes your product more sticky, and empowers your sales team to build stronger relationships with your customers.
- Shorten your sales cycle
The more value-driven conversations you have with higher management and cross-functional teams in an organization, the faster you close deals. Simply pitching the capabilities of your product to end-users just isn’t enough. And relying on end-users to champion your product to someone in their organization with buying power takes too much time. Mapping your solution’s value to all levels of your customer’s company, and effectively communicating that value to the stakeholder at each level, accelerates your sales cycle.
In today’s competitive landscape, companies that close their sales earlier than their competitors become market leaders. How quickly you close your deals can move the needle on your company’s ability to achieve success, especially if you are up against direct competition and small product differentiation.
- Boost deal sizes and upsells
Value-based selling doesn’t just shorten the sales cycle. It also generates product differentiation and price protection. When you focus on the business impacts your solution brings to an organization, you can show your customers greater ROI. Value selling creates an environment where your product (and your sales team’s consultative expertise) becomes invaluable to your customers. As you talk about how much your product is worth, rather than how much it costs, you increase deal size and close rate.
- Build better customer relationships
When you approach someone with a product offering, especially in the B2B space, you are investing time in them — and asking them to invest time in you. With a value-based sales approach, you will naturally get closer to your customers.
Value-based selling invites a collaborative relationship with your customers where you uncover the unique value opportunity your solution offers. It encourages both the salesperson and the customer to win together, and requires and inspires greater trust with your customers, deepening your relationships.
How to implement value-based selling into your sales process
The most successful sales programs spring from companies that embrace a value-driven communication focus across all teams and departments.
Value-driven communication means that all the stakeholders in your organization are consistently speaking about your product and services from a value-added perspective. Creating a culture focused on the value your solution brings to the marketplace positions your sales team to more naturally adopt a value-driven sales approach.
Of course, to develop this culture in your organization, you must have a very clear understanding of your product and its unique value propositions. With that in mind, it is essential to build in time to train your sales team in a value-based sales approach.
Value-based selling delivers results
In today’s current market conditions, value-based selling is one of the most important methods your company can use to accelerate sales and success. Adopting a value-driven sales approach in favor of feature-driven product pitches will help you build a customer base that trusts your offerings and is loyal to your brand. This type of selling takes more time and intention, but it pays off big dividends for you and your clients.