Handling Objections to Starting a Customer Value Management Program
A Customer Value Management (CVM) program uses metrics to ensure high levels of value are delivered to every customer based on their needs throughout the life of the relationship. Managing customer value as a practice and with an enabling application allows enterprises to treat customer value as a strategic asset and win business and retain customers more often; decrease discounting, accelerate deal cycles, market and showcase value, price more effectively and reduce churn.
One of the biggest challenges, especially at organizations that are just dipping their toe into formal customer value selling, is push back on “why do we need this?” and “can this wait?” This flies directly in the face of almost every sales methodology which says aligning your solution and value to customer initiatives is imperative in:
- Reducing loss to no decision
- Minimizing deal erosion, via discounting, at the negotiating table
- Speeding up the sales cycle
Why all the push back? And what do we typically hear:
- My sales people are not ready to have these conversations
- Our customers are not asking for this
- We are in the middle of rolling out a formal sales methodology
Let’s take each one of these in context…
My sales people are not ready to have these conversations
It is true that today, in many cases, only the top 20% of sellers are ready, willing and able to have these conversations confidently. Coincidentally, they are almost always your top performers. If you can, through a Customer Value Management Program, bottle the DNA of these top performers and make it available to others, you could double or even triple the number of top performers in your organization. What would that mean for sales leaderships and your company’s success? To that end, the right time is yesterday not tomorrow.
Our customers are not asking for this
Your prospects/customers may not be directly asking for a business value assessment or business case, but they are going to be lucky if they get funding approval from the company for this quarter without one. In reality, most of your “buyers” have not bought your type of solution before, they are not experts in the value it brings and what differentiates it from, not only competition, but also “do nothing”. By leaving this in their hands you have effectively removed any control you have over the sales / buying cycle. Additionally, there is no better way, within the buyer, to figure out who has to get involved and what steps are needed to sign than to start socializing a business case for changing the status quo.
We are in the middle of rolling out a formal sales methodology
Let’s face it, the #1 reason sales training and methodology implementations fail is because two days after the training everyone forgets what they have learned and ultimately reverts to the prior habits. A Customer Value Management Program, at its essence, is a way to reinforce most of these sales methodology and training investments through tooling and support. Now the investment in making your people successful can be reinforced in their daily deal engagement.
When it comes down to it, selling value offers many benefits and delivers results that improve sales performance across the board. There are always excuses to put things off, but the faster the process begins, the sooner the benefits are enjoyed.