Value Selling is a Team Sport
Bringing together the right people and processes to overcome uncertainty
With increasing talk of recession, ensuring you have a strong sales advantage will be key for virtually every company. That’s where value selling comes in. In this new economic order, it’s key that this emphasis on value isn’t something that only sales professionals are focusing on. Across every department, every prospect and customer touchpoint, customer value management will be the key differentiator in the coming years. That’s why we hosted a panel with leaders in sales, marketing, and customer success to dig into these ideas. We wanted to uncover how centering their organizations on value has changed the game.
Centralizing value to fast-track impact
One of the key benefits of anchoring sales efforts in value is empowering customers to make an apples-to-apples comparison while sales teams can better qualify opportunities—at scale. According to Tom Rose, Vice President of Technical Solutions, Knowledge, and Training at Nasuni, “We found ourselves building lots of Excel spreadsheets, working every deal custom with every sales rep and solution architect trying to figure the value equation out. We went searching for a solution that would automate that and make the whole process more scalable.” With DecisionLink’s ValueCloud®, they now create a strong value case for every deal before it can move into the next stage in Salesforce. This ensures that the team does not spend too much time on a deal where the customer doesn’t have a clear understanding of the value equation.
An immediate advantage of this is that Nasuni now only invests in a proof of concept (POC) when the prospect understands the value they can offer. This has reduced the investment in POCs for greater sales efficiency and helps avoid situations where deals stall out because the use case was unclear or off target. Likewise, Ken Grohe, Chief Revenue Officer at Taos has seen similar benefits. For his team, focusing on customer value management has empowered customers to champion Taos solutions versus other budgetary demands. And according to Michael Connery, Vice President of Solutions & Value Engineering at BetterCloud, “Since I also own solutions engineering, I’ve very protective of our POC time. Focusing on value first helps the POC be more successful because the feedback we get from the initial value hypothesis highlights areas we want to focus in on during the POC.”
Expanding deal size and upselling opportunities
For the team at BetterCloud, emphasizing value has helped them build stronger understanding for prospects of where their solution fits into the tech stack. Connery notes, “Instead of reinventing the wheel with every single deal, we have taken a more focused approach with ValueCloud®, which has resulted in a deal size that’s 50% larger.” At Nasuni, the marketing and sales teams are closely aligned to ensure that feedback from the field is built into the organization’s value propositions. The deep interactions with customers have given them a much clearer understanding of the competitive landscape and brought the sales and marketing teams in closer collaboration to win deals.
Likewise, BetterCloud has brought this collaborative spirit into the handoff to customer success. Connery adds, “Internally, we call this handoff from pre- to post-sales the golden thread. Our goal is to use all these data points gathered presales to tee up a roadmap for our post-sales team to ensure that every interaction is driving to the value we mutually agreed upon during the sales process.” This has made upselling a significantly easier conversation and has facilitated creation of case studies from quarterly value review conversations that can then be used in the sales cycle.
Focusing on security and savings
Everyone on our panel agreed that there are two recession-proof offerings that will need to be at the center of value messaging moving forward: security and savings. This points to the need for value propositions and messaging to center on clear security advantages and hard cost savings with other benefits that a product offers like efficiency, productivity, or collaboration used as complementary value drivers.
For these three companies, having strong customer value management practices across their organizations means that they likely won’t have to pivot significantly as economic pressures shift. Rose states, “Maybe we’ll to shift the emphasis to focus more on the hard cost savings and then use the other benefits to push us over the edge.” Connery adds, “We’ve got savvier buyers than ever. They want value. They don’t want to be sold to. That’s not necessarily tied to this recession. I think that’s just a trend that’s happening generally.”
Winning the long game
One of the key benefits of an organization-wide focus on value is the impact on renewals. For BetterCloud, the renewal process starts as soon as the deal is signed. Their customer success teams prioritize ensuring that the time to value is quick and that the value delivered directly correlates with what the customer signed up for with the initial value proposition. According to Connery, “Our teams know exactly what is going to move the needle for our customers early in the lifecycle. By having consistent, honest conversations with clients, our account managers know what they need to execute against.”
In addition to streamlining the renewals process, this allows fast action if every there is a misalignment between what was promised and what has been realized. This enables a validation and checking process that benefits both the customer and the company. Grohe indicates, “The extensions, the upgrades, the upsells, the renewals kind of automatically happen because you have a validation point.”
Inspiring the value team
No matter the titles of the people on their value teams, one thing was clear for everyone on the panel, value-added selling cut across their organizations, demanding collaboration and a centralized approach to make the most of the opportunity. As Grohe elaborated, “When it comes to value, everybody in the company oversees it. Everyone should know how to do it. And for us this has meant higher average ticket size, more new customers, decreased qualification cycle time, and faster mean time to close.”
For Connery and the BetterCloud team, the implementation of a unified approach to value is a virtuous circle. “By listening to our customers, we let their experiences with our product inform what goes into our model.” By creating an environment of constant value improvement, all of our panelists have taken value based selling to new levels. And it’s this focus on value that will help them and others weather the uncertainties of what’s to come. Together, we can advance further with value!
To hear the full power of a robust value team approach, check out the complete Value Selling is a Team Sport webinar.
Get to know our panelists:
Tom Rose is Vice President of Technical Solutions, Knowledge, & Training at Nasuni.
Ken Grohe is Chief Revenue Officer at Taos.
Michael Connery is Vice President of Solutions & Value Engineering at BetterCloud.
Steve Durkee is the moderator of our panel and Senior Director of Sales at DecisionLInk.