Value is Not a Destination

David Brock is the Author of “Sales Manager Survival Guide,” CEO of Partners in EXCELLENCE and is a ruthless pragmatist. View David’s original post and read more of his work on his blog, Partners in EXCELLENCE, here.

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Too often, when sales people talk about value, it seems it’s some sort of fixed outcome customers should expect if they buy the sales person’s solution. Corporate web sites and sales people talk about, “Our value proposition is…..”

In all honesty, when in my early years in selling, I tended to position value as the endpoint customers would achieve if they bought the products I sold.

It’s a pretty antiquated view of value. The reality is that we must be creating value with the customer for the entire life cycle of our relationship. From their very first digital engagement with us, through every interaction, through their experience of buying, implementing, and utilizing our offerings, we need to be attentive to the value being created in that relationship.

For all sales professionals, this concept of value offers us tremendous ability to differentiate ourselves and compete more effectively. We are no longer limited to winning based on having the lowest price option, or to having more features and functions than the alternatives. We have a much broader basis from which to help our customers, to build a relationship, to support our customers’ aspirations and grow with them.

The relationship becomes less about what we sell, but how we achieve our shared goals.

The concept that value is not a destination, but something we continue to build throughout our relationship with the customer. We have data that customer loyalty and growth is driven by our ability to continue to create value and to help the customer innovate and change. The data tells us that limiting ourselves to defending and maintaining the value we have created in the past is a limiting strategy. We have to look back to that first purchase–the customer bought because we helped them think differently, to change, to innovate in some way. Continuing to do this is what customers most value.

We lose a tremendous opportunity to grow and expand when we limit our thinking to value as a destination.

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Download the IDC Perspective that shares their perspective on why ‘value selling’ is something that needs to be an ongoing process throughout a customer’s lifecycle to ensure you’re delivering the value post-sale that is promised pre-sale.

Why ValueCloud® is the Solution to Outsourcing Sales

Outsourcing is a common method throughout business. It is something that helps companies complete the process of a sale. Companies will reach out to a third-party and delegate certain tasks. This allows sales teams to have flexibility when completing a sale. Businesses consider outsourcing for a number of reasons. Budget restraints, small teams, new markets, and task overload. Those are all things that companies have gone through while completing sales. 

Budget restraints are one of the main reasons that companies pick the choice of outsourcing. It allows sales teams to execute the sale while staying within the company’s budget. Companies can reach out to third parties that will get the job done as if they were being helped by top sales talent. By doing so, companies can focus more on making strategic decisions within a sale. When sales are made there are a few steps before someone closes a deal, especially if the stakes are high. Flexibility is one thing that is highly used when it comes to outsourcing. Flexibility is what sales teams need. Not just when making sales but within the company everyone needs it. 

Businesses can avoid the usage of outsourcing with the use of ValueCloud®. Everything that is achieved with outsourcing sales teams, ValueCloud® can execute the same tasks. One of the main reasons companies can benefit from using ValueCloud® is to improve funnel performance. With ValueCloud®, customers see an increase in completed sales, increased customer retention rates, and improving recurring revenue. The approach for the platform is to lessen the stress of the sales team or sales representative. It provides one platform that can replace the use of outsourcing. 

The use of ValueCloud® is convenient for companies because it allows the organization enterprise-wide to grow. The platform is self-service, and gives companies full control on how they want their business to run. Each department has a platform they can use that will be a benefit. Companies can save profit by investing in ValueCloud® instead of having to reach out to a third-party for each sale. Companies can use the platform of ValueCloud® to get the task done. The one main benefit from ValueCloud® is the improvement of engaging with prospective customers and to establish the importance of value. 

Companies should consider the use of ValueCloud® instead of outsourcing sales. It is more effective because you can have control over the platform and understand how it will affect customers and the overall company. ValueCloud® allows sales representatives to establish and communicate the business value of a solution for the customer’s journey. The goal of ValueCloud® is to give the customers what they want without the stress and hassle of outsourcing.

Value-based Pricing and Selling Are Joined at the Hip

For years organizations have tried to bridge marketing and sales functions. One working without the other is a no-go. I argue it is the same with sales and pricing. You cannot design and execute successful pricing programs without having the sales forcefully on board. Similarly, you cannot be successful at sales without clear pricing tactics governed by rules, guidelines, and transparent margin data. I posit that sales and pricing are joined at the hip. That relationship is even more critical when discussing the topics of value-based pricing and value-based selling. Let us consider the following:

Value-based Selling definition: “Value-based selling is the term for the overarching process of presenting your product or service in terms of the value it creates for customers. Value-added selling is the specific selling process during which the salesperson takes steps to provide customers with value at every stage of the selling process”.[1]

Value-based Pricing definition: “Value-based price is a pricing strategy which sets prices primarily, but not exclusively, according to the perceived or estimated value of a product or service to the customer rather than according to the cost of the product or historical prices”. [2]

The connecting element in both definitions is the concept of customer value.

There you have it! Case closed.

Value-based Selling without Value-based Pricing
The goal of value-based selling is to justify and extract a price premium. We enter in value conversations with accounts and convince them of the superiority of our offer and how much value they are going to receive from us. To do this, we must have a clear understanding of what our differentiators are, what incremental benefits we bring versus the competition, and how much financial value we can share with and realize for the accounts. This cannot be done without having done customer value models for the specific offer and the customer segment. In fact, this exercise represents steps 3, 4 and 5 of the value-based pricing processes which counts six steps in total as shown below. Value-based selling without quantifying value might still work. But it loses its power, especially when facing the almighty procurement teams and their bargaining tactics.

[1] (Value Selling: The Ultimate Guide to Value-Based & Value-Added Selling (decisionlink.com).

[2] Wikipedia, 2021

The 6 Steps of Value-based Pricing

Value-based Pricing without Value-based Selling
Similarly, doing value-based pricing without executing on the outcome in the selling process is a waste of energy. Customer value propositions and models might be well defined, but they are stuck in static PowerPoint slides that might or might not be used by sales teams. Customer value is what ties the pricing and selling process together. That specific tie needs to be put in action mode and operationalize in the selling process. When the connection does not exist, sales teams revert to discounting and managing customer requests for concessions.

Practical Recommendation to Energize the Pricing and Sales Teams
I propose seven ways to connect the sales and pricing teams to work in an integrated value-based approach:

  1. Adopt & learn value quantification methods. There are several well-known methods, including total cost of ownership (TCO), return on investment (ROI), business value assessment (BVA), and economic value estimation (EVE®) models. Get started learning about these and ask for help from experts (pricing and value engineering professionals) to put together a quick training module for your marketers and sellers.
  2. Create strong quantified business cases working together. It is essential to focus on jointly creating very strong business cases bringing the hard methodology of value quantification with the soft knowledge from the sellers. That combination of skills is very powerful and extremely customer-focused. So, you build the first models and BVAs together and then you move to a systemic and automated process using the ValueCloud! ®
  3. Understand your differentiation in terms of economic and financial benefits vs. competition. Part of the modeling of differentiation value is to know your competitors and how you compete against them. Here too both sellers and pricers need to work closely together with some help from your friendly competitive intelligence experts. They can agree on basic assumptions, value hypotheses, and core competitive differentiators. The fact that sales and pricing are working together, with possible other functions, can help accelerate the much-needed level of alignment and cooperation.
  4. Focus on tracking delivered value that can measure jointly with customers. Measuring your financial contribution to your customers is part of the selling process. Often, vendors forget that the value needs to be delivered, tracked, and benchmarked against the promises you made. There are tools and methods you can acquire quickly to put this process in place such as Six Sigma, value trackers, and value dashboards. There is software you can deploy to professionalize this step and I recommend against trying to do this manually. (Learn more here via DecisionLink).
  5. Embed hard financial numbers into the value-selling programs. Buyers are well-equipped with numbers, hard facts, and a long laundry list of what went wrong. Sellers must be prepared the same way. Business value assessments and value propositions need to have hard savings and gains numbers. It is hard numbers against hard numbers as we enter a negotiation dance. Pricing teams are wired this way and can coach the sales team to think in terms of quantified value.
  6. Integrate customer and financial value in your key account plan. When you have completed steps 1-5, make sure that all the relevant data is tracked and added to the key account plan template and in your CVM and CRM system. Your sellers need to become value merchants. They need to sell and negotiate on value. You do not have the luxury of waiting six months to put this in place. Now is the time to become a trusted partner in your space and to sell hard customer value.
  7. Train your front lines in customer value messaging and value selling. Like point 1, you must train your sellers on the art and science of value selling and negotiating for value. Part of the training is to get your pricing and value engineering team to spend time on how to calculate value, how to use hard numbers in the value conversations, how to respond to value and price objections, and how to exchange price and value.

Whether you have a pricing team, a value engineering team, or a customer value team, they need to be joined at the hip with the sales team. That connection needs to be strong in the context of value extraction and growth. Customer Value Management is a team sport. Marketing, pricing, value engineering, business consulting, customer success, and sales all have a role to play. The right platform acts as the anchor point to get everyone to engage.

 

Bio

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).

The Obstacles of Selling and Keeping Your Customer Value Management the Priority

In the business world, making a sale is a great accomplishment. No matter how big or small the sale is, the feeling of having a successful sale is priceless. In order to have an outstanding sales deal is to understand the customer and their needs. Having a good sale doesn’t just mean selling the product or service. It means selling the product and making sure your customer is pleased with the customer service and product. A lot of times sales representatives are so focused on selling the products they forget about their customer. They forget to make a connection, or build a relationship so they can have an overall successful sale.    

There are obstacles that sales representatives undergo before they are successful in selling. In today’s world, the research capabilities of customers are outrageous. You can find information about companies within a matter of seconds. This is a disadvantage to sellers. Customers can research the major elements of a product or service. With online research, customers are missing the advantages of speaking with customer representatives and learning key information about the company. Having the ability to research a company is important. It sometimes steers customers away from actually having a one-on-one conversation about what the company may offer. It is beneficial to sales professionals when they make a relationship with their customers, especially during the research phase of buying. 

The buying research process can be difficult for a customer. Sales professionals find that customers are stuck at the research process a good amount of the time. They fear making the wrong decision, or they just want to take their process slow. Sales professionals can step in and assist with that process. It is important to keep the problems of the customer as a priority. Being an aid in helping a customer figure out their solution can turn into something successful. Assisting the customer with helping them find the best product for their needs will open their eyes. It will show customers that you care about their issues being resolved. Sales representatives can make sure that customers know their main focus is not just selling their product but making sure the customer is satisfied overall. 

Cold calling is something that is becoming more and more difficult to execute. A lot of customers are unengaged by what the salesperson is discussing. When sales professionals make cold calls the key is to get as much information to the customer as possible. The main point that needs to be executed is the ability to catch the customer’s attention and keep them engaged. When making a cold call it is crucial that the salesperson gets to know the prospect. Building a small relationship over the phone is what customers want. Customers want to see sales representatives take value in who they are selling to and take pride in making a cold call. Sales representatives should go into cold calls with open-ended questions. Questions that open the floor to conversation. When customers receive a cold call they’re expected to be bombarded with information about the product or company. Instead of that, sales professionals should be open to hearing about the customer, having an open-ended conversation, and closing with valuable information about the product being sold. 

The importance of identifying the challenges within selling is to increase customer value management. When customers see sales representatives being more engaged or attentive to them, it is a great look, not only for that individual but for the company as a whole. It shows customers that they are the company’s main priority and getting their needs met is a company. Sales representatives should make it a priority to get to know their customers while trying to sell their product as well.

The Customer Value Discipline

By Stephan Liozu, Ph.D

Putting customer value at the heart of your organization DNA requires tremendous discipline. You cannot simply adopt a value approach. You design it, you implement it, and you make sure it is assimilated and internalized at the organizational level. That includes integrating value at all phases of your go-to-market process.

A holistic and integrated value approach starts with a value-based innovation process that anchors all process, product, and service developments on creating value for customers and business partners. In that case, value means economic and financial value, i.e., cost savings and revenue generation for example! Every single dollar that is invested in the innovation process is done so to create economic value and a strong positive return for the organization. Innovation opportunities are screened on the basis on how much value they create and how much differentiation they bring to the business.

True value creation in the innovation process includes game-changing discoveries, uncovering of customers’ unmet needs through customer research, and solving customer pains through the creation of unique products, services, or software. This is not an easy proposition. Innovators must adopt and deploy the best-in-class voice-of-customer research methods such as value-in-use analysis, ethnographic research, and user-based design methods.

Creating a value discipline in the innovation process makes the rest of the value management process somewhat easier. Differentiated and value-based innovations can be marketed based on how much economic value they create for a specific customer of entire market segments. Marketers oversee documenting value and creating the value toolbox, which might include value propositions, value stories, value calculators, and a value playbook. Pricing teams support the customer value deployment by enabling value-based pricing strategies and calculating the differential economic value in dollars and cents that can be shared with and captured from customers. Then, sales teams are trained on value-based selling methods using all the value tools available in the toolbox and delivering impactful value messages. At the very end of the customer value approach, value-based negotiations increase the rate of value capture and value realization levels over time.

The alignment of all go-to-market functions is essential in successful customer value management (CVM) programs. But this is not all. In addition to the functional buckets of the go-to-market, there are three steps in the CVM process that overlap with the go-to-market functions as shown below:

First, customer value is created through innovation and marketing activities. Then, customer value is quantified using various methods such as total cost of ownership (TCO), ROI calculators, and economic value estimation models (EVE®). And finally, customer value is captured by suppliers and shared with partners and customers through pricing strategies and tactics. The simple graph above depicts the complex role of a Chief Value Officer or any customer value executive. That person is the guardian of the customer value galaxy, crisscrossing the organizational universe to make sure the customer value discipline is alive and well.

Specifically, there are five things that are critical for customer value journeys:

  1. Developing cross-functional collaboration: That is a given. It is all hands-on deck for all functions that have customer-facing activities. Silos go down and people put the customers at the center of their daily work.
  2. Developing the tools and process that allow for industrialized activities: The goal here is to move away from the manual process of building customer value proposition one-by-one in PowerPoint or value calculations in Excel. There are digital tools that can accelerate the management of the CVM steps and activities. The use of these tools in conjunction with a robustly designed and agile CVM process can do miracles!
  3. Reinforcing the need to focus on customer value in the business through the process: CVM is not just a process. It needs to bring value to the organization and to the business units. So, we cannot just follow the process. It is business impact first, process second. Because value is shared with customers, impact must be delivered and realized jointly.
  4. Ensuring that mindset change is happening and that it is irreversible: Repetition, repetition, and more repetition. For most organizations, CVM is a new muscle that they must develop. To build that muscle, teams need to engage in CVM activities, practice and repeat the steps until it is absorbed into their daily routine. The end goal is to have people discuss customer value each day without having to ask to do so. It should be part of their DNA.
  5. Making customer success the heart of the CVM process: We are in business to succeed. So are our customers. The more in alignment we are with our customer goals, strategic priorities, and outcomes, the better the results are for all parties involved. The more our customers succeed, the more we succeed. It is as simple as that! This is one of the reasons why usage-based pricing is becoming more and more popular in the SaaS world and outcome-based pricing is booming in the service world.

The customer value revolution is real, and it’s here. More software companies are investing in value management and customer success teams. More product companies are adopting and embracing value-based strategies and concepts. Make sure that customer value management is managed holistically in your organization and that the process is managed efficiently and successfully!

Bio

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).

From Trainees to Trailblazers: Celebrating and Honoring DecisionLink’s First Graduates of the Value Black Belt Program

Written by: John Porter, Chief Technology Officer & Co-Founder, DecisionLink

Today, I had the honor and privilege of recognizing and honoring ten of our valued customers on becoming “Value Heroes”, our first customers to graduate from the Value Black Belt (VBB) Program and to obtain a Value Black Belt certificate. These individuals completed the program to transfer the knowledge they’ve learned by implementing ValueCloud® into their systems enterprise-wide, and showcase that knowledge in regards to embracing and effectively and successfully managing customer value. These Value Heroes are the first class to graduate from the VBB Program, and it is truly an achievement to have customers who want to continue to dig deeper and truly develop their knowledge and understanding of their customers’ profiles.  The value and intention of the program is to ensure that our customers understand the real meaning of “value” and how they can have success by becoming experts in customer value management (CVM) to spread that value to their customers and their respective companies enterprise-wide. It is significant that we have Value Heroes who wholly represent what it means to obtain the leverage they need to continue to develop and maintain customer relationships for the long term.  Please join me in recognizing DecisionLink’s First Class of VBB Program Customer Graduates:

  • Ben Allard, Vice President and General Manager, APAC, Apptio
  • Megan Bozio, Senior Director of Global Sales Programs & Enablement, CrowdStrike
  • Greg Cunningham, Principal Business Value Consultant, Confluent
  • Daisha Chung, Director of Global Business Value & Strategy, CrowdStrike
  • Matt Denton, Senior Director of Business Value Consulting, Confluent
  • Chad Dull, Lead Solution Consultant, Value Engineering, Verint
  • Trent Issacs, Regional Vice President, Solution Sales Innovation & Enablement, Verint
  • Hadley Paul, Business Value Consultant, PagerDuty
  • Linda Roach, Vice President of Product Marketing, Planview
  • Gaurav Sharma, Senior Value Consultant, ServiceNow

The Value Black Belt Program is one of DecisionLink’s newest and game-changing initiatives in the world of CVM. The VBB Program is a tool used to ensure professionals are properly equipped and motivated to leverage the ValueCloud® platform. It provides stakeholders with the understanding and skills to unleash customer value across the engagement cycle. The VBB Program also serves as a tracking method that ensures management visibility and company success. There are four different belts that include ten professional roles. Each level is specifically designed to cater to different professional roles and tools that are specifically designed for each profession enterprise-wide. In this program, each belt has a different certificate that professionals can obtain.

The structure of the program is designed to make sure professionals are getting the analytics they need to successfully provide and manage value for their customers from ValueCloud®. All of the belts have subcategories that allow customers to fully understand value in their respective role in their organization, and how to translate that value to their customers, as well as learning how it can be tailored to customers to encourage them to appreciate the true value of the product provided. 

During the duration of the program, there are checkpoint criteria that consist of being able to clarify competencies, courses to be completed, and to be able to achieve a VBB certification, successfully taking and passing the activity readiness test. Those checkpoints are in place to make sure that our customers are understanding the program. The VBB Program teaches our customers to bring forward this transformative knowledge to their organization to shift from just product selling to intentional and strategic outcome-based business value selling.  

These Value Heroes now have an advantage by completing the program and successfully implementing what they learned and transferring it to their day-to-day activities.  Being a part of the first class of VBB graduates is such an amazing and important accomplishment for our customers. Thanks to the VBB Program, our first ten customer graduates have earned certificates at the level of CVM achievement that makes sense for them and their role. DecisionLink was founded on the mission of leveraging technology to bring business value to every customer conversation.  ValueCloud® first standardized how value is communicated everywhere in the customer lifecycle, and the VBB Program ensures that all Value Professionals are properly motivated and prepared to fully and quickly leverage the ValueCloud® platform and its powerful collection of applications.  Congratulations again to our first class of VBB graduates!

 

To learn more about how you can be a Customer Value Management Professional expert through the Value Black Belt Program, visit our website at decisionlink.com/value-black-belt-program.

Why Leading with and Understanding Customer Value Will Establish Lifelong Customer Relationships: Insight from the “Lead with Value, Build Customers for Life” Webinar

In business, value is more than just how much something is worth. It’s the meaning of being critical in what you and your business do to showcase how valuable your customer is to your business, and teaching your customers the same methods and approach when dealing with their customer base to truly understand how to meet the wants and needs of every customer.  Value is something that is critical when it comes to showcasing products and services. Between a buyer and vendor, trying to figure out how to display the actual value of the product or service. Value has to be driven by all parties involved. Both parties drive value by discussing what customers and partners can get out of business.

Being able to track value between buyers and vendors is being able to establish performance indicators, determine who is calling the shots, and build and maintain relationships effectively and successfully. With an established and trusting relationship, vendors can potentially turn into a partner to the buyer. The relationship between a buyer and vendor is important because they are part of giving customers the satisfaction of having great service. Value is an essential part of a product or service that a customer is receiving. A customer expects great products and services from the company they’re purchasing from. 

There is value within any relationship that is built. The reason to value your relationship is to make the customer buyer relationship last a lifetime. In today’s time, customers want companies who not only care about their brand but care about every aspect of their customers and the service they receive. Companies must take value and pride in each and every product they provide for their customers. The key to maintaining a long relationship with the customer is to make sure they’re satisfied. Being satisfied with the customer engagement and the service or product the customer is receiving is beneficial for both parties. 

A good relationship between a customer and partner can open the door for numerous opportunities and have a long-lasting relationship. One amazing sale with a customer can be the outcome of many different things. The customer will feel comfortable and know the company has their best interest in mind. It’s important to keep customers engaged with things that are going on with a company or a product that they’re using. Customers want to see that businesses care about them, about the product or service they’re selling, and how the business carries itself as a whole. Having a stable relationship doesn’t just start and end with a sales deal. 

The relationship will extend from different departments within the company. Having a good relationship between a customer and company can drive a company to have intel about value insights. Companies need customers to give them feedback in order for them to grow and improve within their company. Feedback is needed for companies to know what they’re doing correctly, and what could be changed for the better. 

Value is something companies should take pride in when showcasing it to their customers and implementing it into products and services. The importance of value can take a company above and beyond when it comes to serving customers. It shows customers that the company cares about what they’re selling and how they treat their customers, which ultimately leads to the much desired lifelong and fruitful relationship between buyer and seller.

Perspective: DecisionLink Up-and-Coming Professionals Experienced the True Value of an Internship

Written by Tatum Sims, Ezekiel Fitch, and Eric Powell, DecisionLink Summer 2021 Interns

This summer, DecisionLink had the opportunity to gain interns for their company and allow students to showcase their talents and grow within the SaaS industry. Having an internship during your time in college can be extremely beneficial. It helps with growth, experience, and professional development. Life as an intern can be exciting, overwhelming, and motivating. Working in an office setting as an intern is quite big of a transition coming from college. There are different expectations for everything while being a part of an internship program. Adjusting to office life is something that has pros and cons. Pro: having that hands-on experience in an actual office environment. It’s good to be hands-on and face-to-face, especially after remote work, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, is trending upward more and more these days as the “preferred” way to work by many professionals across many different industries. Even with that, being able to have face-to-face contact with your colleagues is always a plus. You can’t beat that experience and the connection and the knowledge learned from one another. Another pro: being able to observe how people work and operate in an in-person office environment. You get to experience the vibe when a big campaign is being launched, when a big win is happening, when a big deal has been achieved, and also, to be fair when something not-so-good occurs as well. There’s something to be learned from experiencing all of those different ebb and flow.

Here at DecisionLink, the office environment is not like an intern would expect a corporate office environment to be like. After three months of interning here, we now know why – the start-up-tech-SaaS life isn’t like the typical “corporate culture” that we’re still learning about heavily in college. Employees here welcomed interns with open arms, continuously catered to having an open-door policy, and were open to always helping when needed. One of the best things about being in the office is having the ability to communicate with leadership at any point. While DecisionLink is a startup company, the leadership team is always looking for different ways to help. Having a CEO of a company talk to an intern one-on-one is a significant benefit that most interns do not get to experience. Having the ability to have that level of communication made us interns feel comfortable. There is a great sense of community and family in the office environment. Even for the employees who are remote, in Atlanta, in Buffalo, in Florida, in Dallas, and in Salt Lake City still are a part of the company family, and it’s expressed and shown by leadership and the entire employee team constantly. Having to experience the dynamics of work in a startup company really was amazing, seeing how things are still starting up for the company, seeing it grow, and achieving goals along the way.

Networking is something that is key when being in the professional world but is super important while being an intern. The more people and relationships you form with others, the more knowledge you’ll obtain. Being able to network can be challenging if you’re not used to speaking to others or starting conversations. The power of networking is an amazing thing because you never know who you’ll end up talking to or the places you’ll go. Being a new intern is like being the new kid in class. You’re not there alone – you just have to reach out to others and network and create trusting bonds that are lasting and worthwhile.

Obtaining an internship that is in the focus field that you’re looking to spread your wings in and let your talents shine within as a college student/new generation of professionals is an accomplishment because it can set you up for a better future. The experience and growth that is taken away from an internship will last a lifetime. At the beginning of an internship, there’s always a sense of feeling overwhelmed, being overwhelmed with the transition, workload, and how to manage emotional maturity. After the internship, however, interns can leave the company with a ton of knowledge they didn’t have before- the knowledge you learn will take you far and last forever. The experience as an intern is a one-of-a-kind experience that will give young professionals the ability to push their careers to the next level. Internships are for growth, challenges, and exploration. They’re like trial and error, but there will always be takeaways from being in an internship program whether they’re good or bad. The internship here at DecisionLink is unmatched.  The entire team cares about the young professionals and wants to see us succeed at all costs. Even beyond a work level, we’ve learned things about ourselves and beyond. The whole point of an internship is to have the experience that you will take on with you during the duration of your professional career and college career. You will gain a lot of knowledge from everyone in the workplace, especially as an intern, if you truly take advantage of the opportunities and relationships to be built.

Value Wins Again: Making Customers the Winners Makes DecisionLink a 3x Winner this Month

Tim Page, DecisionLink CEO

Helping our customers leverage value to win new accounts and deepen relationships is always the top priority at DecisionLink. One of the greatest things about what we do is that it is wholly designed to facilitate win-win situations. When your customers can take full advantage of your solutions and services to grow, gain, or improve, your company wins at the same time. Our passion for the power of value and all of the ways it can be used to support customers and prospects means we are always striving to get better. When that hard work garners industry accolades—when we score a win ourselves—I try to make sure this dedicated team takes a moment to acknowledge all of the hard work that got them there. Today, we have some huge accomplishments to celebrate!

First, DecisionLink ValueCloud® was named a 2021 Sammys (Sales and Marketing Technology Awards) Product of the Year. Being recognized by an award specifically focused on technologies that help companies connect and collaborate with prospects and customers is truly meaningful for us. We are on a mission to transform value into a strategic marketing and sales asset that can be leveraged at any stage of the customer journey. We have regularly seen the impact for our customers, but it’s always nice to be applauded by the industry and your peers.

We are also incredibly proud to be named to the INC 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in America. Many of the most impactful companies in the U.S. have been on this list—Microsoft, Intuit, Oracle, Patagonia, and so many more. We aspire to continue this trajectory of growth and to follow in the footsteps of these great examples as we expand our reach to a broader customer base. Stay tuned to the official list being released to the public in mid-August!

Finally, we’re very excited to be on the shortlist of finalists for the SaaS Awards for the best SaaS product in sales and marketing. What an honor! While we won’t know who won until late August, being among this list of powerhouses is a big deal. Add to that, our Chief Marketing Officer, Joanne Moretti, being named to Engati’s Top 30 Marketing Influencers to Follow list for this year and, clearly, it’s been a big month and a powerful year for us. We are grateful to be making these kinds of waves in the industry and look forward to even more buzz about how important value is for companies in the coming months.

Why a Solid CX Strategy Consistently Leads to a Solid Customer Retention Rate

Keeping your customers satisfied is one of the few priorities that companies have. Customers drive and expert companies to do more to continuously satisfy their customer experience. Companies need to continuously take value in what customers want, need, and how they can grow positively by implementing their product or service into their everyday lives. It is an important task to gain customers and build and maintain relationships with them to close deals, but it is not easy to gain customer loyalty. The way to keep customers from drowning into your company is to establish a strong relationship. This relationship could be just a business relationship, and perhaps down the line, a personal or longtime friendship. The importance of establishing a relationship is to build trust and loyalty between the customer and company. Again – as a company, you need to understand what the customer wants, needs, and can gain from doing business with the company. 

Receiving and implementing customer feedback is a major key to having a successful company. Customers are the first-hand audience who experience products from the companies with which they choose to engage with – mainly for the perceived value of said products, at least upfront. It is key to receive customer feedback from customers who have had time to use your product and service to have a viable opinion and user experience.  Sometimes, as we all have experienced, customer feedback is not always positive feedback, but any feedback from a customer is good feedback. It is always important to know what the customer is thinking and to have different channels for customers to provide feedback as well. Their feedback can allow the company to grow and think of different ways to fix any concerns that companies have or how to expand on a campaign or initiative that’s doing well. Feedback is beneficial for companies to get information on how to improve retention strategies.

Think about it this way – the first time a company closes a deal with a new or returning customer the customer is excited to have a new product to improve their business for their customers. The customer expects the company to provide the same quality of product every time they make a purchase from them. Advertising your products creatively and strategically to speak the language of your ideal customer can make or break the retention rate of your customers. Customers enjoy when companies make a change in their market, particularly if the change was made due to their primary customer base’s feedback and research. Change shows customers that companies are listening to their feedback and making changes to their approach on products. Making your customers feel comfortable is a key component to obtaining and maintaining your customer retention rate as well. The more comfortable and confident a customer is to the company and its products and/or services, the more loyal they are and will continue to be to the company. 

Here’s the main takeaway here – the main goal of a company is to always keep your customers satisfied.  The management of customer value is paramount. Customers can provide feedback to the company and if they enjoy the product or service then customers will share the company with others. (Word-of-mouth marketing still exists and works quite well. Peers trust peers.) Customer retention rates can simply be analyzed by getting feedback, staying on top of products or services, keeping customers satisfied, and changing up marketing strategies for new and existing customers.