Predicting the Power of Value in 2022

In 2020 and 2021, we gathered panels of top CROs and organizational leaders to discuss the current SaaS landscape and make industry-informed predictions about what is to come. One thing has been consistent—the sales landscape is always evolving and changing to optimize the customer and business experience. Our panel of influential leaders and visionaries are providing insights on value selling and customer lifetime value for the coming years. In comparing what we heard in 2020 and 2021, there are some strong consistencies, but an evolution is clearly in the works.

2020 TO 2022: KEEPING VALUE ALIVE IN AN EVERCHANGING MARKET

When we think back to 2020, the shift to remote interactions was not something anyone could have predicted, and yet, it had a seismic impact on SaaS sales interactions. Companies were forced to quickly transform and reposition their sales approach. Leveraging a Customer Value Management (CVM) platform was an invaluable asset that allowed organizations to continue building relationships even when without face-to-face connection. With remote all the rage (and the necessity), the digital user experience became increasingly crucial.

The pandemic put value front and center and today’s elevated expectations are keeping it there. As we move into 2022, our experts see value as an essential ingredient at every stage of the customer journey from pre-sale and initial engagement through to renewal, upselling and cross-selling. Over the past two years, reduced revenues and uncertainty resulting from the global pandemic forced organizations to be more cautious with their resources. Every investment had to be accounted for and justified, which has made clear value communication a critical way to differentiate and drive close rates.

That need for justification isn’t just part of initial adoption. Continuing to prove and demonstrate business value realization over time is now expected. Organizations that focus on and lead with value in every customer interaction have a clear advantage. This has made having a Customer Value Management platform that can provide quantifiable value metrics at scale operationally indispensable.

EMPOWERING MORE PEOPLE WITH VALUE
What 2020 and 2021 taught us, and what we are seeing as increasingly valuable going into 2022 is value selling’s expansion of customer touchpoints and the meaningfulness of insights shared at every interaction. With access to quantifiable value data, clients can share the benefits of a product or service with other stakeholders at any time. With proactive Customer Value Management, you are essentially empowering champions within your customers’ organization.

Likewise, Customer Value Management has proven itself as a way to up-level the impact of your entire sales team. Traditionally, 15-20% of sales professionals are top performers who consistently sell at higher levels by focusing on value (and doing all of the legwork). With a CVM platform in place, you can give your entire sales team this not-so-secret weapon. With value as their North Star, your team can elevate performance and sales success across a broader range of deal sizes. As the divide between top performers and the rest of the team disappears, sales success makes a dramatic leap. Customer Value Management is the game-changer.

VALUE AS A CHANGE AGENT
Over the past year, the “new normal” of hybrid work environments has evolved. As in-person interactions have slowly returned, our industry experts agree that value has continued to serve as a transformative opportunity. Alignment around value has ensured that everyone is using a common approach, language, and measures when communicating with customers. In fact, value puts the customer at the center of every interaction, which will be key to continued success in 2022.

The concept of customer lifetime value became a broad focus in 2021 and promises to anchor organizational alignment into 2022. Companies that have gone all-in on value and integrated it into their marketing, sales, and customer success methodologies have a decided advantage. Building customer lifetime value into your company’s culture means that closing the sale is no longer the measure of success. Customer lifetime value— from first engagement and acquisition to retention and expansion—becomes the broader objective. This means your relationship-building must be focused on earning credibility and creating partnerships and engagement for the long-term in a way that is beneficial to both parties. Sales leaders are capitalizing on this by placing talent in the right roles to trigger data-driven strategies and by encouraging their teams to fully dive in and use the metrics available to them from their value management platform.

SEGMENTATION AS A VALUE STRATEGY
In 2021, we saw organizations finding new ways to meet customers where they are by using segmentation. Instead of broadly applying businesses cases, sellers are uncovering customers’ pinch points and desired strategic outcomes. Simply concentrating on being the best is no longer enough. The aim now is to identify how a given product can be leveraged to solve customers’ specific real-world problems. Demonstrating how quickly buyers can get the promised benefits is key, which is wholly dependent on data from your CVM platform. More than just securing a customer, this demands a continuous focus on retaining them. By looking at broader issues, sellers can streamline processes for buyers, enable them to go to market faster, help them create efficiencies, and grow revenue faster. This kind of specificity and customer-centric care will be the winning strategy in 2022.

GET A GLIMPSE INTO THE FUTURE
At the beginning of a new year, every organization is asking themselves if they are ready for what is to come. Watch our panel discussion and gather more expert insights into the year ahead. When it comes to being customer-centric and aligning your team in support of your organizational goals, value is an essential ingredient. The trends continue…

GET TO KNOW OUR PANELISTS:


Ty Flippin
Head of GoValue Solutions at DecisionLink.


Michael Hubbard
SVP, Customer Success, Services, & Support, Smartsheet


Chris Jones
Head of Global Field Operations, BetterCloud


Pete Mansel
SVP, Sales (Americas), Accruent


Joanne Moretti
CRO, Fictiv

Understanding the Importance of Sales Teams being Equipped to Connect with Customers Successfully

Professionals are looking for different ways to be innovative while still keeping their company values a priority. With the way companies are trying to please their customers, standing out from your competitors can be a challenge. In the business world you must adapt to change, whether it’s with a new product, marketing strategy, or gaining prospective customers. Figuring out what works best for your company will take research and a little bit of trial and error. You never know if concepts or ideas will or have work(ed) if you aren’t willing to try. 

Sales teams have become more comfortable with the use of technology and gaining customers through platforms. It seems easy to grasp a prospect’s eye but it takes a little more to keep them engaged, especially when there are several marketing tactics to attract prospects. It is important to have a sales team that is willing to connect with prospects and comprehend what their wants and needs are from the company. Success within a sales team starts with training your team to acknowledge the value of reaching customers. 

Train your sales team to listen to the customer and allow a relationship to be formed. The key to building a relationship is just as important as completing a sale. With the shift of mostly everything going digital customers may have a hard time adjusting to the changes. Be the sales representative that doesn’t “just sell”, but be helpful during the selling process as well. Sales reps may think this isn’t what keeps customers engaged, but it will.  

Training sales representatives is a major element to keeping up with customers. It is important to have training sessions to keep sales reps motivated and up to date. Sales training shouldn’t just involve sales.  It should involve a solid marketing strategy and tactics and lots of research. Studying other companies and what they offer can open opportunities for new ideas within your company. There are a ton of different tactics that will benefit customers and sales training will help identify them. 

Dive into valuable content that will have your prospects wanting more or that will make them want to explore your company. Having personalized content from sales teams is something that will gain attention. Take advantage of using customer value management platforms, such as DecisionLink’s ValueCloud®, to better understand what your customers are looking for. Sales teams should be trained on the newest technologies and what they can improve to attract customers. 

Sales teams need structure in order to successfully be trained. That means getting ideas from within the team itself. Getting an understanding of how each team member executes their sale could potentially open the door for other sales reps to use in their selling process. Getting ideas from other departments of the company will be helpful as well. There are things that customers and other stakeholders may see that could be helpful to the sales team. 

The sales world has changed dramatically in recent years. The business world is constantly changing, and sales teams need to stay on their toes to always be prepared. Sales training should occur often within a sales team. It will take time but it will assure the team members of the changes happening in the industry and keep the flow of retaining prospective customers.

A Deep Dive into the Customer Value Proposition Map & Understanding the Canvas

You know that defining and solidifying your unique value proposition gives you an essential foundation to stand out among your competitors. But simply knowing the overall concept of a unique value proposition doesn’t mean you’re ready to jump in and start creating one for your business. Working through various steps with a customer value proposition map will help you narrow your focus to identify the factors that make your business distinctive so you can effectively market to and connect with customers. 

DecisionLink value proposition template showing how to craft your USP by matching up your value map with your customer profile

A value proposition canvas helps you assess various customer needs. These needs are complex, and some needs might oppose others. A value proposition map lets you identify and prioritize customer needs you can fulfill. It also helps you narrow your focus on product development, marketing, and branding so you can concentrate on your highest priorities to solve customers’ needs. 

This article will introduce you to the value proposition canvas and walk you through the process of creating your own. Learn how to identify your unique value along with the ways you can use it to create value realization for your clients.

What Is a Customer Value Proposition Map? 

A customer value proposition map is a tool you can use to visualize the features and benefits of your product as they relate to your customers’ pain points. The value proposition canvas results from your value map compared with a customer profile.

Your unique value proposition results from where these two visualizations overlap. When you have identified how your product or service alleviates customer pain and meets their wants and needs, use it to create your value proposition. This lets you improve every part of your business, from sales and marketing to client relationship management. It gives you a better understanding of your customers to engage them and keep offering helpful solutions. 

How to Create a Value Proposition Canvas

Create your canvas to help you better understand your customers’ needs and develop a foundation for value selling. 

Start With Your Value Map

To develop your map, break your product into its individual features and define how they offer solutions to common customer problems. Then create a customer profile identifying their wants, needs, and frustrations. 

Next, describe how a customer would benefit emotionally from your product or service. Then, define how your product solves client needs differently than your competition and brainstorm unique solutions that only you can offer. Finally, discuss your customers’ common pain points, frustrations, and fears, and identify how your products solve them. 

Then Create Your Customer Profile

You might have customers whose wants and needs are different — and maybe even conflict with one another. Create your customer profile using your most significant customers or look for similarities between your consumers. 

First, identify their pains. Identify the common solutions your product provides for each of its customers. Even if your top customers work in competitive industries, there are still likely issues that plague all of them consistently. Figure out these needs. Ask these or similar questions: 

  • How does your product offer solutions to common customer problems? 
  • What challenges are your customers facing? 
  • How have your competitors’ products not met customers’ needs? 

When creating your customer value proposition map, identify as many pain points as you can. Make a separate column for those that impact most of your customers to help set your priorities. 

Next, define your clients’ wants. When your customers are businesses, you might be tempted to overlook emotional wants. While you won’t focus on emotional needs like a sense of belonging or appealing to safety, you can focus on others, including trust and confidence. If your product allows your clients to serve their customers better, it can help them meet these emotional wants.

Questions that can help you identify your customers’ wants include:

  • What emotional needs does your product fulfill? 
  • How does your client use your products in their job? 
  • How does your product make life easier for your clients? 

Finally, assess your customers’ needs. Identify how your product lets your clients’ employees do their jobs better. Perhaps your software as a service (SaaS) platform enables your customers’ employees to communicate more effectively and simplifies their daily responsibilities. In this case, you could identify productivity as one of your customers’ primary needs.

Questions that can help identify your customers’ needs include:

  • What does your customer expect from your product?
  • How do you meet and exceed these expectations? 
  • What benefits does your customer experience from your product? 

If you’re planning on using your CVP map to focus on value marketing, you can make more than one canvas to help create targeted messages. You might have some clients who use certain features of your product more frequently than others. Create various customer profiles to identify universal pain points and others you can use to create targeted ads and content. 

How to Use The Value Proposition Canvas

Your value proposition canvas will help you identify your specific competitive advantage, which you can use to create your unique value proposition. This will help you more accurately differentiate yourself from competitors in branding and advertising. 

How to use the customer value proposition canvas map

It is also a key component of customer value management. This tool lets you:

  • Clearly communicate your value throughout a customer’s time with you from discovery to the final sale.
  • Identify every stage of your customer’s journey from marketing to client relationship management.

Not only can you tailor your marketing messaging to focus on clear benefits, but you can also regularly check in with customers to refine your products to further meet their needs. Here are ways in which you can use your customer value proposition map. 

Focus On Your Value

Throughout your daily responsibilities, it can be easy to lose focus on your company’s value. You might be tempted to develop new products or add new features without determining how they add to your value. 

Developing a value proposition canvas gives you and your employees a guide for everything from marketing to research and development. When you know the value you provide to your customers, you can make sure any new products or features contribute to this value. 

Tailor Marketing Outreach

You can use your unique value proposition to create marketing messages on all platforms. Whether you’re focused on advertising, creating content, updating your website, or any other marketing function, you can highlight your distinctive place in the market.

Even in B2B marketing, buyers are constantly exposed to advertising, and value selling helps you stand out. Selling your product or service on its potential merits means you are more likely to pull customers into your business.  

A customer value proposition canvas also lets you target your outreach. You can use your insights to create different messages for different customer segments. When creating your customer profile, highlight different wants and needs you can use to create marketing messages that appeal to these segments. 

Better Client Relationship Management

When you know how your product provides client solutions, you can better interact with them throughout the relationship. You can solicit feedback to see how your products are working to solve customer pain points and develop modifications or new products that can help better meet these needs. 

Value-based client relationship management is more engaging and can lead to greater customer satisfaction. Your clients will have the chance to feel heard, and they are more likely to trust you than if you just came in with an aggressive sales pitch. 

Mitigate Potential Client Fears

Fear of change is a common barrier to landing a sale. Using a customer value proposition map and canvas gives you and your sales team a better understanding of potential benefits. 

Because your value proposition canvas is based on real results and metrics, your sales team has a stronger point from which to pitch. They can more easily anticipate potential objections and answer questions in the initial sales presentation. By allowing the sales team to set realistic expectations, your prospects might be less resistant to change and more willing to try something that will provide tangible benefits. 

Entering New Markets

If you’re planning to enter a new market or target new customers with your existing products, a value proposition canvas can help you assess which ones to target. Since you already have an idea of your product’s benefits from your value map, you can create new customer profiles based on the new market.

This exercise gives you a better sense of potential success in a new market. You can use it to identify solutions you can offer. You can also use it to eliminate potential markets. When developing your value proposition canvas, you might find that your offering is not as strong as existing competitors. In this instance, you might decide not to enter that market or tweak your products so they’re more competitive.

Getting Started On Your Value Proposition Canvas

Understanding your company’s benefits helps you streamline every part of your business, from sales to product development. It lets you cultivate deeper client relationships based on needs and solutions.

DecisionLink can help you with your value proposition canvas, giving you the tools you need to generate better leads, refine your marketing, and refine your products. Contact us today if you’re ready to clarify your unique value to tailor your messaging and improve your revenue.   

Customer Lifetime Value: The SaaS North Star

In the digital age, there are metrics and KPIs that are tremendously important to any business. I could provide a list of them, but they are readily available on the Internet. In the SaaS business in particular, customer lifetime value is by far the most critical one. And the term itself contains the words that are essential in making sure a business is profitable and sustainable over the long run.

For those who are not clear on what customer lifetime value is, here is a quick refresher: “Customer lifetime value (CLV or often CLTV), lifetime customer value (LCV), or lifetime value (LTV) is a prognostication of the net profit contributed to the whole future relationship with a customer. The prediction model can have varying levels of sophistication and accuracy, ranging from a crude heuristic to the use of complex predictive analytics techniques.”1 Let me explain why this one metric should be the “North Star” for any SaaS company.

  • Customer-centric: CLTV truly focuses on customer behaviors, purchasing patterns, quality of relationships, and true profitability. It is a representation of what the customer represents for your organization, how loyal they are, and how much more you can exchange with them.
  • Value-centric: CLTV also connects the value you create and share with your customers to the value your organization gets from them. Your entire customer value proposition delivers value to your customers and your goal is to capture your fair share of it.
  • Future-centric: CLTV provides the right balance between the past and the future. Your organization’s aims are increasing CLTV by delivering superior value propositions and greater outcomes.
  • Outcome-focused: The more outcome you deliver to your customers, the more likely they are to stay with you for the long term, to renew contracts, and to increase their transactions with you.
  • Data-centric: Lots of data are needed to conduct a deep analysis of CLTV and to develop a robust predictive model. It does require great systems and the ability to extract customer data.

5 Customer Lifetime Value Statistics 2

  1. Just a 5% increase in retention rates yields at least a 25% profit increase.
  2. New customers cost between 5 and 25x more than existing customers.
  3. You have a 60%-70% chance of converting an existing customer.
  4. Current customers spend on average about two-thirds more than new customers.
  5. Customer Lifetime Value is an important financial concept for 76% of companies.

10 WAYS TO USE CLTV
Focusing on CLTV can change the way your business operates and can also provide a tremendous boost in your go-to-market approach by:

  1. Developing customer segmentation based on CLTV: It is essential to know where customers are very profitable and provide long-term economic value. You can use CLTV and other metrics to further understand your customers and find the core profitable group. Other metrics can include quality and duration of the customer relationship (High/Low) or past LTV versus Future.
  2. Tracking your CLTV to CAC ratio: Once you have performed a CLV analysis on all your current customers, you will know how much it makes sense to invest on acquisition. You will also know which acquisition channels produce the highest value customers and can repeat the strategies you used to find them. You can set targets of LTCV vs CAC at various times of your organization’s journey.
  3. Securing future customer VIPs: Once you have a solid data profile of what characteristics your VIPs have, you can use predictive analytics to get a strong idea of which new customers will be future VIPs and focus on these customers with personalized campaigns and offers.
  4. Using CLTV as a predictor of value prop resilience: CLTV is a future projection of your customer profitability and your ability to extract pricing and value from them. Therefore, your value proposition and your offers must resist the test of time and reflect external dynamics. Is your product roadmap rich in the possibility to upsell and extend customer relationships?
  5. Evaluating your most effective and valuable marketing channels: CLTV can also change the way CROs think about sales enablement & marketing in terms of creating loyalty objectives or focusing spending on underutilized areas. Prioritize marketing channels to acquire the most valuable prospects.
  6. Thinking about short-term and long-term strategies and tactics: CLTV analysis helps CROs find balance in terms of short-term and long-term sales goals and demonstrate a better understanding of financial ROI. That includes the right balance of investments, the right pricing strategy, and a relentless focus on customer value management.
  7. Designing future-forward customer growth: The process of designing a partner matrix in the digital age is an essential component of a sound strategy. Growth comes from technology and product roadmap coupled with an aggressive customer success strategy.
  8. Embracing the right CLTV-related metrics: The most profitable customers can be selected for special retention efforts (duration of the relationship, loyalty levels, quality of relationship for examples). They can be grouped into segments based on their CLTV and the segments can then be profiled using various drivers of CLTV: relationship duration, future profitability, historical profits, the cost to serve, and share of wallet.
  9. Embracing an ROI mindset: CLV allows CROs to measure the monetary impact of sales & marketing campaigns, initiatives, and other activities. When you know what drives CLTV and reduce churn, you can be laser-focused on your marketing and sales enablement campaigns.
  10. Balancing your pricing strategy with CLTV: From trials to renewal, pricing strategies and tactics must reflect CLTV-based strategies. Pricing professionals need to price for long-term retention, contract renewal, upselling and cross-selling, and not just for short term acquisition. They also need to develop pricing models that match customer outcomes and generate important levels of pricing satisfaction.

“As a rule of thumb, expansion is advisable as soon as the estimated CLV exceeds the CAC by a multiple—even if profitability has not yet been reached. In practice, mature digital business models should display CLV-to-CAC ratios ranging between at least 2:1 and up to 8:1 or more. At this level, CLV can also be used as a metric to measure and improve the performance of organizational units.”3


HOW TECHNOLOGY CAN HELP
You cannot rely on simple software and manual processes to adopt a robust CLTV-based approach. Today’s marketers, data scientists, leaders, and other professionals now have a powerful tool to help them calculate and utilize customer lifetime value — a customer data platform (CDP). A CDP serves as a central hub for all your critical and relevant customer data, collecting it into individual profiles for each customer. A CDP is an excellent tool for calculating CLTV since it has all the key ingredients of the formula in one place. Some CDPs even offer CLTV as an out-of-the-box metric at a click of a button. At DecisionLink, we go a step further. We propose that SaaS companies should embrace a Customer Value Data Platform (CVDP) to connect all the relevant customer data, to all the customer value management data, and to other platforms such as ERP, CRM, sales enablement. The heart of CLTV is customer value for the customer and for the enterprise. ValueCloud® is the latest innovation in customer value management that can do that. Powerful customer value analytics can be connected and integrated with your CLTV analysis. Be bold — join the customer value management revolution. Watch On Demand!

 

  1. Wikipedia 2021, Customer lifetime value – Wikipedia
  2. How to Calculate and Optimize Customer Lifetime Value [Infographic] — Business 2 Community
  3. 2021 McKinsey: customer-lifetime-value-the-customer-compass.pdf (mckinsey.com)

 

GET TO KNOW OUR PANELISTS:


Ty Flippin
Head of GoValue Solutions at DecisionLink.


Michael Hubbard
SVP, Customer Success, Services, & Support, Smartsheet


Chris Jones
Head of Global Field Operations, BetterCloud


Pete Mansel
SVP, Sales (Americas), Accruent


Joanne Moretti
CRO, Fictiv


Bio

Dr. Stephan Liozu (www.stephanliozu.com) is the Founder of Value Innoruption Advisors (www.valueinnoruption.com),  a consulting boutique specializing in industrial pricing, digital business, and value models, and value-based pricing. Stephan has 30 years of experience in the industrial and manufacturing sectors with companies like Owens Corning, Saint-Gobain, Freudenberg, and Thales. He holds a Ph.D. In Management from Case Western Reserve University, and has written several books, including “Dollarizing Differentiation Value” (2016) and “Value Mindset” (2017).

CROs Must Choose CVM Technology with Three Goals in Mind

CROs are the drivers of the growth engine. They need great technologies to enable their teams and must ensure their technology are embraced and adopted by other CROs. They are both the target and the adopter/executor in the SaaS world. We see three primary goals of focus on for CROs to be successful in the context of greater technology availability, greater requirement for speed, and greater needs to technology impact. Let us look at them separately.

Process Automation

In 2018, McKinsey reported that only 31% of the firm’s sales process is fully automated. They report antiquated sales practices and too much manual work in the sales value chain of the organizations they researched[1].  With that in mind, CROs should keep these three considerations in mind:

  • Focus on much more than pure headcount additions to grow: Should you focus on headcount, or should you invest more in technology? In the customer value management (CVM) space, finding and hiring a new Value Engineer might take twice as long and could cost close to $300,000 in annual costs. So again, you should ask yourself: “Should I focus on hiring, or should I invest in some platform that can be deployed in 90 days?”
  • Focus on professionalizing your current sales and marketing teams: The goal in customer value management is to position all participants to operate successfully on the same level and to provide them with the right skill sets to succeed. New concepts like account-based marketing (ABM) or customer value management might challenge current talent levels, but they are necessary. Upskilling and reskilling current teams to work better, faster, and on the right programs is a productivity boost.
  • Remove all manual processes: CROs need to focus on removing all unnecessary and legacy complexity out of the process. They must design their organizational blueprint and processes without manual processing and without silos. Technology can help. Embracing the right SaaS technologies can accelerate internal productivity. But CROs need to keep in mind that adding technology is not the end goal. The end goal is to improve customer outcomes and to produce an amazing experience.

Systems Integration

Process automation is a must have. But automation must be part of an overall mapping exercise that focuses on customer outcome and internal productivity. Most companies will use an ERP and a CRM solution. Around these pillars, they might anywhere between 3 to 7 additional software or apps to improve efficiencies[2].   What is the right number of apps and solutions? That is hard to say. But there is a limit to the integration and adoption of SaaS apps.

  • Think platforms instead of individual apps: CROs need to elevate the discussion and consider platforms instead on individual solutions. This is the main reason why SaaS sales are softening in comparison to PaaS sales[3]. There is subscription fatigue and the reluctance to deploy solution after solution that might distract teams from the game. The future of PaaS and other marketplaces is bright in that context.
  • Acquire apps and software tools that integrate in your existing app ecosystem: The number one preoccupation of IT teams should be the integration of new apps and solutions in the current IT ecosystem and to stop adding solutions that cannot be easily integrated or connected. For that CROs and CIOs need to work together.
  • Select technology vendors that can accelerate your business outcome and velocity: Integration within the current ecosystem reduces the friction in the CRO team. CROs must select the right partners and do an apple-to-apple analysis between the solutions. CRO must focus on integration, simplification, and ease-of-use!

User Adoption

With the current number of apps in the CRO scope of work, teams are going crazy learning and adopting new app on a regular basis. This negatively impacts productivity and the ability to deliver required outcome.

  • Evaluate your current sales efficiency tools and their existing adoption and impact: With 58 sales-related apps on average per organization, CROs must do an inventory of their current solutions and evaluate the adoption and engagement levels. How many licenses are activated, used, and how proficient are the sales team in using the solutions? What is the impact of every app deployed in the sales organization? What is the impact of each app? And this is not just for sales. The same analysis can be conducted for all functional areas.
  • Require vendors and providers to deploy adoption development programs: Focusing on multi-functional apps is a priority to remove frictions and functional silos. Cross-functional apps encourage collaboration and communication. That, combined with customer centricity, is a powerful force in accelerating productivity and impact. CROs need to ensure adoption and utilization rate over 80% at the very minimum to see impact. How can vendors guarantee such an adoption rate? Are there guarantees or programs they can offer in their implementation plans or as part of their professional service offering?

With automation, integration, and adoption in mind, CROs can focus on transforming the mindset inside and outside their organization. A value mindset is a set of routines, rules, norms, beliefs, and behaviors, that place customer value as the number one priority. Every functional area and every individual understand their role in creating, quantifying, delivering, and realizing value for customers. They speak and breathe the customer financial objectives. Selecting the right technology that can deliver on these three goals can make or break a go-to-market strategy.

[1] The automation imperative,” McKinsey & Company, September 2018, McKinsey.com

[2] 2021 SaaS AE Report, The Bridge Group

[3] The State of SaaS in 2022: Growth Trends & Statistics – BMC Software | Blogs

Bio

Dr. Stephan Liozu (www.stephanliozu.com) is the Founder of Value Innoruption Advisors (www.valueinnoruption.com),  a consulting boutique specializing in industrial pricing, digital business, and value models, and value-based pricing. Stephan has 30 years of experience in the industrial and manufacturing sectors with companies like Owens Corning, Saint-Gobain, Freudenberg, and Thales. He holds a Ph.D. In Management from Case Western Reserve University, and has written several books, including “Dollarizing Differentiation Value” (2016) and “Value Mindset” (2017).

How MarTech is Changing the Way Customers Perceive Their Experience with a Product or Service

With all the continuing changes happening in the world, there are soon going to be changes in the way customers perceive their experience. Customers are wanting more from companies in regards to what they can offer. MarTech is marketing technology that is a range of software and tools to achieve marketing and sales objectives. The buyer journey has certainly changed over time and companies are trying to keep up. Buyers have more access to things than ever before. By using technology, buyers can search and find data related to their desired company. Buyers are spending more time researching than the time they actually spend with potential suppliers.

Focus on what’s important to the potential buyer. They don’t want to know about the great deals being offered or the old school sales pitch. Getting down to the basics immediately is what the customer wants, which will allow them to let sales representatives know what they need from the company. MarTech allows companies to market in a smarter way. It will take pressure off of what marketers and sales representatives to endorse during the sales process.

Customers are not looking for content that addresses their pain points and the solutions to solve said pain points. That means they want to actually see what is being executed with products and services provided. They want to see proof on why they would buy from one company and not the other. The luxury of having a face to face meeting about products is no longer available or comfortable for people. Making sure the buyer is satisfied with their needs is a priority that companies have to understand in order to exceed expectations. Having digital representation is a benefit, seeing that most buyers research a company before doing anything else.

With MarTech, concepts are technology-based and that means that the software invested has to be reliable and competent. Companies can collect all the data and important information they need, but if the software isn’t up to brand standards that could cause issues. Data is the most important aspect when it comes to marketing, and especially in MarTech. The usage of the data will give companies tools to use to execute their goals. Tools such as marketing automation, customer relationship management, SEO optimization tools, and more will help sellers communicate what they can offer.

Marketing and sales can be supported by MarTech and the tools provided. With the use of AI and marketing tools, a lot of data can be collected and analyzed in order to assist sales. Everything trickles down to the amount of data and how it can be used to benefit the customer for a successful experience. MarTech can help with the streamlining workflows and potentially taking a lot of pressure off of sales representatives. MarTech allows marketing and sales operations to have more control over their individual team.

Companies have to adapt to the way buyers’ purchasing and behavioral patterns are ever changing. The customer will always be important just as much as the goal they’re trying to achieve. Adapting to change is something that companies will have to always keep top of mind in order to meet the customers’ needs. Things are constantly changing in the B2B industry, and customers see the change first hand.

How to Successfully Execute Personalizing Customer Experience in 2022

Personalizing the customer experience is about catering to your customers and understanding all of the elements they need to be successful with the product or service being offered. Customers have the luxury of clicking a button and just buying a product. When that happens they are not getting a personalized experience when it comes to buying a product. Personalizing customer experience all starts with marketing and sales alignment, developing customer profiles, and developing a positive customer experience that will keep customers coming back. 

Sales representatives have to be equipped with knowledge to make them successful when facing customers. Customers shouldn’t feel pressured or uncomfortable during a sale.  Training sales representatives will be the best way to execute a relationship between customers. When selling a product you want to do more than just sell. Get to know your customers and recognize what they want from the company; not specifically the product, but what they will gain from the experience overall. Gaining as much knowledge from the customer as possible will allow sales reps to customize their experience. Data is a big part of this process. The more data that’s available from the customer, the better the experience will be. 

Effectively selling to your customers is getting more complex. Selling just isn’t about closing a deal and satisfying your customer. It is about the overall experience customers gain throughout the selling process. Businesses always stress the importance of customer satisfaction and how to persuade them to purchase a product. The best way to successfully complete a sale is to make the experience personable. Understanding the bases of what the customer goals and how you can help the customer use the product or service. 

Feedback from the customer will be one of the most important things a customer can do. When a company is willing to take feedback from customers, that allows them to see things they can work on. Feedback can be positive or negative for a company but it will help them improve in the future. Some tactics may not work for every customer, and that is why it is important to analyze every customer to understand their needs. 

Making the experience personable is the overall goal for the future of selling. Making your customer relationships a priority will continue to set you apart from other companies. Meeting your customers’ needs by aligning sales and marketing to make sure the customers are getting the best service is vital. Companies attract and retain customers when they have a plan in place to accomplish this goal. Having sales and marketing aligned will better the customer experience overall. Sales representatives are unable to sell to customers without a solid plan. Marketing is a big part of personalizing the customer experience.

Throughout the selling process you want to make sure your customer goals are being met. Making sure sales representatives are getting the job done while being personable is the biggest factor. You have to make your customers feel like they are getting everything they need, and not just the product they’re buying, but an experience that they will always remember. The main goal of personalizing customer experience is to understand the purpose of why the customer needs your product.

The Future of Value-Based Selling – What Customers Want to Hear

In today’s selling world, customers are more advanced. They know what they want from businesses and how they want their product. Customers no longer care about the different ways companies get their attention. Their only focus is to get the most value out of the product or service they buy. Customers are more intrigued with the amount of value companies put into the product versus how they sell the product. 

The B2B industry is seeing a change in the way customers are taking in the sales approach. The industry has taken a big change and customers want more than just a sales pitch – selling a product and showing off the fancy features and accessories can only take your product so far nowadays. Customers want to know what the product can do for them and what value it holds. The number one goal of value selling is to make sure you’re putting the customer’s needs first. If a customer sees that you are just trying to sell a product to close a deal, more times than not that will turn them away. Being able to explain the direct benefits and value of the product is what customers care about. 

The value of a product is more important than how you sell it. Sales pitches are great but customers don’t care about that. Building a reputation is how you start your foundation with value selling and to figure out the actual value of your product, as well as being able to answer any questions that the customer may have. When selling your product put yourself in the customer’s shoes. What would you want the sales representative to say to you that would convince you to buy that product? Once you understand what a customer needs it will be easy to sell them your product. 

When selling your product you want to teach your customer rather than sell to them. Teach them what the product does, how it will benefit them, and why they need the product. Helping a customer understand why you need their product will allow the customer to see that you care for them. When customers see the level of care a sales representative has then they will start to build trust and that is how a good reputation is built. Be personal but still professional when selling to a customer. You want to know as much information that they’re willing to share in order to execute what the customer wants. 

Don’t just add value to the product that you’re selling. Add value to the overall selling experience. Make the customer want to come back again and again and again. Knowing the right ways to make a connection with customers is beneficial to completing a sale. The experience of a sale will keep customers coming back and it will ultimately benefit the business. 

Customers want to see that businesses care about the product they’re selling and not just trying to make money. Understanding the key points such as understanding the product, getting to know the customer, and knowing why they need the product will position your business for success. Don’t overwhelm your customer with a big sales approach.  They could care less about the deals that are offered. Value is what will keep a customer coming back and expand your brand and your product awareness tenfold.

Insight-Led Selling: Optimizing a Value Framework for Customer and Personal Goal Realization

Today’s buyers are more educated than ever. In fact, most product research happens long before talking to a salesperson. That puts pressure on sales professionals to have the tools and skills that allow you to be concise, direct, and sell in a compelling way. In this webinar, Dr. Stephen G. Timme, Founder & President of FinListics Solutions and co-author of Insight-Led Selling shares his framework for selling to the C-Suite. He’s joined by sales enablement leaders, Karen Heatwole, VP, Value Advisor at iCIMS and Donna McCurley, Global Sales Enablement expert, as they discuss tips and observations for empowering and building a successful sales team.

Whether you’re a seasoned seller or just getting started, insight-led selling is a practical approach that impacts not only your customers’ growth potential but also your selling potential.

THE VALUE OF UP-LEVELING YOUR SALES PITCH
While in the field, sellers face a number of challenges. In his research, Dr. Timme found that even when they’re aware of customers’ and prospects’ goals, 50% of sellers struggle to align their solution to those needs. That’s why 31% are still promoting features and functionality. For Donna McCurley, this is a sales enablement problem because sales teams may not have the appropriate metrics. Likewise, elevating the conversation can be intimidating, particularly for sellers with a nonfinancial background. However, regardless of their financial acumen, sellers need to be able to confidently have a conversation with an executive.

As buyers are flooded with proposals, sales professionals have to find ways to distinguish themselves. Executives are hungry for new insights (not what they already know). Unfortunately, 70% of them feel that sellers don’t understand their business. To address this, sales professionals need to address business outcomes and financial benefits so customers can make fast & accurate decisions that they feel confident will add value in the long-term. By understanding executives and key stakeholders, sales professionals can leverage that information in the buying cycle. This is where insight-led selling comes in.

UPGRADE YOUR SALES BY UNDERSTANDING EXECUTIVE BUYERS
The ABCs of insight-Led Selling offer today’s sales professionals a powerful framework that delivers results.

A — Adopt an Executive Mindset
To put yourself in the shoes of your prospect, you have to understand their goals, financial performance, and how they are evaluated. This is ultimately what they value. It includes earnings per share, sales volumes, return on investment, and a variety of other metrics. A lot of these details can be drawn from reading an organization’s annual reports and letters to shareholders. These include valuable information like the company’s vision for the future, key strategies, and the initiatives they are undertaking to get there. Connecting these insights to your solution is key to your success.

B — Building Credibility
Dr. Timme emphasizes that a big part of building credibility is knowing the industry. Trends in a given industry are often indicators of how a business is operating. For example, revenue growth and profitability can be linked to market changes. Karen Heatwole recommends having a team dedicated to learning and disseminating industry-specific knowledge. At iCIMS, she has a group focused on industry insights to provide sellers something unique that customers may not know. Learning about an industry means you may be able to provide previously untapped information—especially because you have the advantage of having an outsider perspective.

C — Communicate with Impact
Showing how your product delivers business outcomes consistent with customers’ goals is powerful. This requires individually tailoring your message and presenting the value of your solution in the context of that prospect’s expected business outcomes. Doing this helps deepen your relationships and even identify additional clients. Dr. Timme advocates the power of a 1% change conversation. This involves focusing on how a 1% change can impact an enterprise’s customer base, cost of operations, productivity, or any other value metric important to that organization. Seeing the small results helps bring the big picture into focus.


“The best sellers are those that are utilizing all the resources of their organizations and are coached by great leaders.”
KAREN HEATWOLE


IMPLEMENTING VALUE-SELLING IN THE REAL WORLD
How does insight-led selling transform sales enablement in practice? In sales, we are very often focused on transitioning team members from sales training to sales enablement. For McCurley, one of the biggest keys in sales enablement is partnering with and leveraging subject matter experts across the organization, including sales, marketing, legal, and others. Additionally, bringing in KPIs is an important aspect of this process. Heatwole adds that it’s about using metrics to tell a simple but compelling story that resonates with executives and key stakeholders.

The goal is to use our experts and resources to help us get better. She adds that having a platform like DecisionLink’s ValueCloud® makes this process straightforward, replicable, and scalable. It has allowed her enterprise to dig in, uncover variances, explore differentiators, and provide individualized business case studies. With real-world value metrics, prospects and existing customers can more quickly see the impacts of their investment. Those insights are some of the most powerful available.

Discover all of the tips and guidance shared in the session. Our panelists talk in great detail about the lessons they’ve uncovered around insight-led selling and building industry-specific knowledge into the process. Tune into the webinar.

GET TO KNOW OUR PANELISTS:


Ty Flippin is Head of GoValue Solutions at DecisionLink.


Dr. Stephen G. Timme is the Founder & President at FinListics Solutions and co-author of Insight-Led Selling: How to Adopt an Executive Mindset, Build Credibility, and Communicate with Impact.


Global sales enablement expert Karen Heatwole is a VP and Value Advisor at iCIMS, a recruiting technology platform.


Donna McCurley is a 30+ year global sales enablement expert and experienced sales leader.

 

 

Take Advantage of Your Company’s Content Alignment

When being involved with a company, it requires a solid foundation. Having a solid foundation means having important elements like credibility, authority, and visibility that are all a part of industry ownership and creating a solid foundation for a company. Making sure all elements flow together is important to the company and the customer. The more structured the foundation is the more efficient it will be to better align the elements to stand out in your industry. 

Industry ownership does not just appear out of the blue.  Iit takes time and structure to make sure everything is aligned correctly for the company to be successful, and part of that is strategically creating content that will successfully pull engagement from prospects. The content that is produced and showcased is important because that is what customers will see and what will attract them. Companies will be successful if they have teams that produce high quality marketing content that boosts sales and and grows revenue. 

Companies will experience their providers taking more ownership of the products they produce. Companies who produce the product want to show off the products they have and what they’re worth instead of having other outside companies promote their product. This relates to influencer marketing.  Everyone is interested in the world of influence but people want to be influenced directly by the company and not by one specific influencer. In the future, customers will want companies to sell their products instead of having paid influencers give insight about a product or service. 

Consumers look to support companies who partner with nonprofit organizations. Companies can definitely partner with many different organizations that value the same morals and missions as them. If companies were to partner with these nonprofit organizations, it can bring potential and opportunities for the company to grow. Not only should companies partner with a nonprofit charity, but they should also include and focus on goals, such as corporate sponsorship, affiliate marketing, product placement, and the percentage of sales donations. All in all, partnering with nonprofits can make a company stand out to a number of consumers.