by Tamara Schenk
Tamara Schenk is a Research Director for CSO Insights, Sales Enablement Leader, Author & Award-Winning Keynote Speaker
Using value messaging as part of a commitment to implement Customer Value Management can help sales leaders and sales professionals achieve quarter end or year end goals for closing business.
This is part 1 of a 2-part blog series about the struggles sellers face with developing clear understanding of the buyers’ business problems and then effectively demonstrating customer value-based metrics to support the solution for putting everyone on the best path for ongoing growth and success. Stay tuned next week for part 2 of this series which will provide ideas for developing a better value messaging framework.
Selling is all about communication. It’s about communication between sellers and buyers, between people who can solve specific business problems and people who experience these problems in their organizations and have a desire to solve them.
So effective communication between sellers and buyers is not about products, as we found in our 2018 Buyer Preferences Study. Instead, it’s about diagnosing the actual problem and its business impact and communicating tailored and targeted value to the involved buyers and their particular context. That also can be summarized as communicating insights and providing perspectives that allow buyers to learn how to best approach their problem to achieve their desired goals. After all, effective seller/buyer interactions are about impactful business conversations; they’re not about a product pitch at all.
Engaging, enabling and empowering sellers to be fluent and effective in buyer interactions requires sales enablement teams to do a lot of homework.
It’s not only about how salespeople communicate with buyers, but it’s also about what salespeople communicate to different buyer roles at different stages of their customer’s path – and that’s all about dynamic value messaging.
“Isn’t this all about the right value proposition?” No, it is not. Effective value messaging is a lot more than that. In the age of the customer, there is no such thing as one value proposition working in a “one-size-fits-all” manner. If that’s your current value messaging approach, you should precisely check all of your leading indicators at the top of your pipeline in terms of value, volume and velocity. Additionally, you may want to analyze your pipeline for stalled deals; I’m sure you will find a lot of areas for improvement there. The closer you come to the end of the quarter, the more relevant these analyses become, as they clearly show you how much business you will leave on the table.
Organizations continue to struggle with effective value messaging.
On a high level, we learned in our 2019 World-Class Sales Practices Study that only 43% of all study participants consistently and collectively communicate effective value messages that are relevant to their buyers’ needs. By the way, this is the exact same result we had for this practice in 2017, which means the industry is not getting better with value messaging. Not even half of the population gets one of the key areas of successful selling – effective value messaging – right. The more competitive your market is, the more urgent it is to fix this problem.
Only one-third of organizations tailor their content to buyer roles and customer’s path phases and achieve up to 16.6% win rate improvements. That means two-thirds miss out on this potential
Looking at the matter in greater detail, we found in our Fifth Annual Sales Enablement Study that only 35.3% of organizations tailor their content assets to their relevant buyer roles, and only 31.5% align their content to the customer’s path. These two dimensions (buyer roles and customer’s path phases) are the most critical to implement, and here’s why: Organizations that tailor their content to buyer roles and customer’s path phases achieve up to 16.6% better win rates for forecast deals.
Additionally, two-thirds of organizations (64.7%) do not align their content services with their product and value messaging training services. That means two-thirds do implement inconsistency that leads to low performance.
If the value messages in your case studies are not tailored to buyer roles and the customer’s path, and your sellers are not enabled accordingly, you run into a performance problem.
As an example, let’s look at case studies, a content asset that’s often used in the early phases of the customer’s path to establish a shared vision of future success. The above data means that, for instance, only one-third of organizations have tailored and targeted messages in their case studies. That means two-thirds do not. Additionally, two-thirds did not develop their sellers to get to consistent value messaging fluency. And even if they invested in value messaging training, it wouldn’t work because their training services are not aligned to their content services.
The question, then, becomes how to solve this problem and get to these performance levels.
The answer is to implement a dynamic value messaging framework that leads to three things: to effective, targeted and tailored content, to sellers who are fluent in their value messaging approaches in various situations throughout the customer’s path, and to engaged buyers who are more likely to buy from you.
Next week’s blog will provide ideas for developing a better value messaging framework. In the meanwhile, if you would like a free customer value assessment, please click HERE