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Making the Most out of Your Value Prop

How to adapt your core value proposition to each client

A strong value proposition is the foundation of a successful business case. When you clearly understand the value you can provide different types of clients, tailoring the message to fit their unique situation is easier. Our most recent webinar tackled this essential topic—how to make that work to go the extra mile as you approach new clients. Joined by experts, Dr. Stephen Timme, Founder & President of Finlistics Solutions, and Justin Honaman, Head, Worldwide Retail & Consumer Goods Go-to-Market, Amazon Web Services, DecisionLink’s Ty Flippin led the conversation that shared actionable tips on everything from working with multiple stakeholders to gaining insight on an organization’s key initiatives. 

We’ve pulled some key takeaways, but you can also watch the webinar in full here.

Use industry standards to guide your initial value proposition

Your prospects’ email inboxes are flooded with pitches. Sellers must find a way to cut through the noise. The way to get prospects’ attention is to differentiate from the competition. That means thinking about what your product could do for the prospect—and backing up those promises with evidence.

“It’s all about making an educated guess,” said Justin Honaman. The technical features of the product may be interesting, but prospects need to know what’s in it for them. “Don’t get sent down the hall to IT when you're really trying to sell into the business,” he added. Instead, reference key business drivers and how you’ve delivered on those for other customers. 

Your initial effort to tailor your value proposition for that specific client doesn’t need to be correct. In fact, it only needs to be slightly correct to get the buyer’s attention—40%, to be precise. “The value prop is never going to be perfect, so don’t be afraid to be wrong,” Ty Flippin said, “40% correct earns you the right to have that conversation.” Buyers will respect that sellers have done the work to understand their business, and it’s much easier for them to correct sellers in an initial conversation than to rework the calculations themselves.

Bring the value prop into every conversation

Value propositions have a place in every conversation with buyers, including the first call. According to Ty Flippin, keeping the focus on value is essential to building trust in the relationship. “If you try to sneak a value prop in at the last minute, your champion will never fully engage you on it,” he said. But if sellers provide a common thread of value, all stakeholders will hear a consistent story.

It’s important not to over-promise and to give proof of the product’s value in other similar cases. Stephen Timme emphasized accountability, “It’s like borrowing a million dollars from a bank,” he noted, “If you go back and ask to borrow another million, they’ll ask, ‘Did you pay us back?’ If you can’t show that you did, they won’t bet on you again.” To get clients to take a leap of faith by investing in the product, it is best to give concrete examples of comparable successes.

Map elements of your value prop to specific business initiatives

Learning more about specific initiatives within the target organization gives you the best chance to show the ways your solution can help them achieve their KPIs. Once a seller has shown how their product aligns with specific business initiatives with one client, they can adapt this pitch to other clients in the field, since, as Stephen Timme said, initiatives tend to be shared within industries.

To gain more information on what’s happening inside a company, Stephen Timme recommended reading letters to shareholders, annual reports and 10-Ks and using personal connections to get in touch with company leaders.  

Companies frequently have opposing mission statements--for example, growing revenue and saving money, or innovating and remaining stable. By showing how your solution can help bring those missions together, sellers can demonstrate a fine-tuned understanding of the client’s business model and positively impact multiple bottom lines.

Put relationships first

At the end of the day, selling is about helping others achieve their goals. Approaching every interaction with this mindset can breathe new life into deals. For example, when speaking with internal champions of your product, think about how their goals align with yours. Ambitious people want the product to be successful so that they can gain more visibility and accelerate their career. “If you can help them see the bigger picture of how their success is linked with yours, they become a champion for life instead of a champion for a deal,” Flippin said.

“Many buyers are looking for trusted advisors as much as new technology,” Honaman added. Having multiple points of contact within an organization helps to seed this trust. He suggested matching several people within the sales team to contacts within the target organization to build support on multiple levels.

Need more tips on making the most of your value prop? Check out the complete webinar here.

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Get to know our panelists: 


Ty Flippin is Head of ValueCloud Ignite Solutions at DecisionLink.


Dr. Stephen Timme is the Founder and President of FinListics Solutions

Justin Honaman is the Head, Worldwide Retail & Consumer Goods Go-to-Market at Amazon Web Services.