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5 Ways to Collaborate with Your Customers and Drive Sales Success

The days of “selling to” someone is long gone. Instead, the best sales professionals ensure their customers are an active part of the process—and provide them with tools to become your internal champion in the process. Use these five steps to facilitate more proactive and effective collaboration with your prospects.

Prepare for Collaboration

  1. Do Your Homework
    Before starting the sales conversation, understand the realities of your prospective customer’s business, their strategic priorities, and the obstacles in their way. Start with public sources such as the company website, social media accounts, or financial reports. The DecisionLink sales team uses a template called the Business Value Framework to collect this key information. By understanding your prospect’s goals, areas of investment, and metrics of success, you have essential information for productive conversations to uncover your greatest opportunities.
  1. Speak in Business Value
    Understanding and sharing the business value of your product or service is key to successful selling. Your customers aren’t buying your features and functionality. They are buying outcomes. This is the heart of value selling. Build up your value vocabulary and fluency by deepening your understanding of the financial and operational metrics that organizations are focused on.
  1. Tailor Your Message
    Keep in mind that value means different things for different people and prepare your message accordingly. In the C-suite, economic business outcomes are key, while at other levels, functional area metrics may take greater focus. It is essential to speak about the value most relevant to the audience you’re addressing at the time. Shape and prepare value-driven messaging to reflect each audience’s situation, needs, and priorities.

Partnering with your Prospects

  1. Collaborate on a Cost/Benefit Analysis
    Once you’ve laid the foundation to communicate the value you bring, work with your prospect to build the business case for your product. Collaborating to create a value hypothesis is a powerful conversation driver. Share what you have learned and prepared, but invite them to challenge your assumptions, identify missed opportunities, or question your logic. The business value hypothesis is about working together to build a thorough analysis for your prospect’s specific context. With this level of engagement, when you land on a final business case, it will be something they can own – and champion.
  1. Prep your Champion for Success
    Ultimately, your prospect needs to be able to justify the investment in your product. After building a business case together, you become a coach for your prospect. As your internal champion, they will likely be presenting the case and gaining buy-in with peers and approvers. Help prepare them for budgeting meetings and presentations by reviewing the business case and role playing to address questions and respond to objections.

Looking at the sales process as an opportunity for collaboration, conversation, and engagement promotes customer value even before the initial meeting. Anyone can give a one-sided presentation about features and functionality. Focusing the conversation on value that is specific to the client’s situation sets winning sales organizations apart.

To learn more about building a more collaborative sales process, read the whitepaper. And discover what value selling can deliver for your organization at