Customer Value Management: History, Definitions, Process, & Framework

What is Customer Value Management?

At its core, Customer Value Management (CVM) is an approach to managing all aspects of the “value journey” that a customer takes — from initial contact with prospective buyers — whether that is through a web calculator, SDR outreach or a targeted marketing campaign or through the active sales cycle to on-going customer relationship management following solution implementation.

The CVM journey consists of three distinct collaborative stages:

  1. Value Discovery. Both the buyer and seller need a reason to initiate a meaningful conversation. Buyers need a “directional sense” of potential business value: “Given your understanding of our business challenges, what is the potential business value of your solution for my organization?” To respond, sellers need an efficient way to (a) gain unique insights into the buyer’s business needs; (b) reach the Economic Buyer and frame the conversation around potential business outcomes; and (c) quantify an “outside-in” business value hypothesis. The goal: gain buyer agreement to collaborate on a business case to justify investing in the seller’s solution.
  2. Value Delivery. This collaboration consists of first determining the solution benefits that are relevant to the buyer and then quantifying them according to the buyer’s input. The goal: create a transparent business case, transfer ownership to the Economic Buyer, and implement the B2B solution, successfully setting the stage for periodically quantifying value achieved.
  3. Value Realization. Following a successful implementation, value realization measures actual value achieved relative to the original baseline ROI model — helping the customer showcase business value. This stage leads to a satisfied customer, helps lock-in renewals, and opens the door to cross-sell / upsell opportunities. In addition, customer testimonials and case studies along with benefit proof points should be captured and fed back into the value models for continued refinement and enrichment.

By achieving these goals, CVM complements and enhances the traditional Customer Relationship Management (CRM) discipline. Specifically, by adding insights and assets that enable value-centric conversations at each customer interaction touchpoint, CVM helps customers achieve success, which in turn accelerates seller success — a win-win value proposition for buyers and sellers.

What is the History of Customer Value Management?

Awareness of Customer Value Management, or differentiated value selling, has not happened overnight. For people who have been in sales long enough, there has been an evolution leading to the ultimate goal of Customer Value Management, as illustrated in the figure below.

customer value management journey illustration

The evolution began with Technical Product / Feature Selling decades ago — when there was a relatively

straightforward way to map a product capability to a specific problem.

As problems became more complex, buyers and sellers increasingly relied on Solution Selling to define and scope requirements and design more sophisticated solutions.

As competition stiffened further, a Generic Value Selling framework appeared — where sellers provided buyers with generic examples of the value achieved by other organizations. But these generalized value propositions were not specifically relevant to each organization; they did not always account for industry, geography, size, or use case variations.

This led to Specific Value Selling methodologies that enabled value to be quantified and customized for each opportunity.

Agile Customer Value Management completes this evolution. Specifically, CVM brings organizations to the level of Differentiated Value Selling — where value is quantified for a specific project including differentiation from other alternative uses of budget such as direct competition or alternative uses of capital.

Why is Customer Value Management Important?

Businesses today face great challenges from global competition, mergers and acquisitions, technology advancements, digital transformation, rising consumer expectations, and cybersecurity threats. The need for cost-effective B2B solutions to deal with these challenges has never been greater. As a result, horizontal and vertical competitive B2B solutions continuously enter the marketplace at an astonishing pace, leaving buyers with the tough decisions: “Why buy? Why now? Why from a specific provider?”

However, in a seemingly paradoxical convergence of interests, buyer and seller expectations are precisely the same when it comes to justifying investments in these B2B solutions. Both parties recognize that their key to success is an effective business case to justify investments and the ability to measure and showcase business value after the solution is implemented.

Typical enterprises have a long list of potential projects to fund. So, buyers and sellers need a credible way to “rack and stack” investment priorities. After all, it’s not just a question of convincing decision makers that your problem is worth solving. It’s a question of “hurdling” other projects in the queue and moving up the funding priority list.

In fact, industry analyst research reports that 90 percent of buyers require quantifiable evidence of business benefits before investing. Yet two-thirds of buyers confess that they are poorly equipped with knowledge and tools to create a credible business case, while over four-fifths of buyers look to their suppliers for assistance in quantifying value.

On the seller side, CSOs and CMOs understand that quantifying and selling the business value of their solutions is critical to their success. After all, if only 10-15 percent of deals have a compelling business case, how much money is being left on the table? A lot!

What Does a Great B2B Buyer-Seller Experience Look Like and How Can Customer Value Management Enable That?

Buyers desire to engage in initiatives that will help them achieve their organizational and personal objectives and sellers seek to help buyers buy. However, both parties often find it difficult to overcome the allure of the status quo. So, what does a great seller-buyer experience look like?

The seller experience should seek to achieve four goals: gain the attention and support of a Champion and Economic Buyer; establish credibility with the decision maker and influencers; build a defensible business case, and lock-in a longer-term relationship as a Trusted Advisor.

These goals can be achieved by three key actions:

  1. Grab attention with a provocative Value Hypothesis. Based on your account research, internal account team knowledge, and industry benchmarks, a Value Hypothesis provides the Economic Buyer and Champion with a “directional sense” of your solution’s business value. The objectives of a value hypothesis are to: (a) pique the buyer’s curiosity enough to continue a meaningful dialogue and (b) gain agreement to collaborate on refining the value hypothesis into a defensible business case. Consequently, the value hypothesis provides a strawman model to drive a business case working session.
  2. Build a credible, transparent business case. The same methodology used to build the value hypothesis is used to engage the buyer’s team with a non-intrusive process leading to a defensible business case. The objectives of the business case modeling exercise should be to: (a) gain buyer team consensus on the metrics required by the Economic Buyer to justify investment; (b) provide complete traceability from the ROI and payback calculations down to individual pain point-value statements pairs that comprise the business case; (c) help quantify the cost of delay, and (d) move the seller solution up the investment priority stack.
  3. Lock in an on-going relationship as Trusted Advisor. The final business case model also serves as the baseline for periodically measuring and showcasing value realized following solution implementation. This part of the seller experience is critical to locking in renewals and setting the stage for expanded implementation through cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.

This seller scenario also contributes to a great buyer experience. Specifically, the Economic Buyer and Champion leverage a proven, rigorous methodology to: (a) justify budget and set funding priorities that support their current decision-making process and (b) provide evidence that their current investments are achieving the original ROI expectations.

It’s a win-win situation: the buyer gets the solutions needed to achieve their business objectives and the seller achieves recognition as a Trusted Advisor. Sounds straightforward. But there are some challenges that sellers and buyers must overcome to achieve this great experience.

How Do You Quantify Customer Value?

Value model development and validation is a stage of CVM Program implementation. Specifically, there are two interdependent use cases to consider.

  1. Value Model Content Development / Validation. This stage is about developing the Value Data Model and validating it with customers. It includes precisely defining the universe of benefits associated with a B2B solution — focusing on the underlying “pain point–value statement” pairs and the factors required to quantify them. The initial “strawman” value model should be developed by capturing the collective knowledge of people internal to the B2B solution organization – across the sales, SE, marketing, and product management teams. For this activity, Excel serves as an excellent “rapid prototyping” tool. The result of this stage can then be used to validate the strawman Value Model and outputs with “friendly” customers.
  2. User Experience (UX) Validation. The next stage of validation requires assessing the best way to implement the value model and associated assets in the steady state. Can the delivery of the Excel-based Value Model be scaled? Is it easy for the sales teams to use it? Does it support iterative refinement as you move through the sales cycle? Will customers accept the transparency and quality of the resulting deliverables? Can these outputs be quickly and efficiently regenerated during the business case refinement process? Here is where Excel falls short and a CVM platform makes a tremendous difference.

The Solution Value Model is the collection of benefits that constitutes the content foundation for a CVM Program. It is critical to every stage of the CVM journey – creating a value hypothesis with your internal account team; building and refining a defensible business case with the buyer team; measuring value realized post-solution implementation, and creating persona relevant assets along the way.

Sellers often struggle with the challenge of connecting their buyers’ challenges (pain points) to the business value of their B2B solutions. Inability to do this may lead to a credibility gap — providing numbers without context. Overly simplistic ROI Calculators fail to bridge this gap; in fact, they may widen it. While calculators may be a provocative way to open the door and generate leads, they fail to provide the rigor required to justify an investment in a B2B solution.

Thus, the challenge is: how do you build a value model that can both be used to generate interest (with a provocative value hypothesis), then move on to refine the hypothesis into a compelling business case, and finally close the loop by using the baseline model to measure value realized.

The answer is: build a rigorous Value Data Model – a collection of benefits that constitute the baseline financial model to be used and customized by sales reps in building a unique business case for each customer. It provides Economic Buyers with the ability to assess alternative scenarios from worst to best case — performing sensitivity analyses, observing the impact of possible risk factors, answering “What if?” questions, and projecting a variety of financial factors (e.g., ROI, NPV, payback, etc.) for a proposed investment.

What Are the Important Ways That Value Enablement Impacts B2B Businesses?

Over the past few years, books have been written and significant research has been conducted on the

benefits of selling business value.

  • The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson emphasizes that sales conversations must be tailored to align with each buyer’s economic value drivers.
  • Reed K. Holden, in his book, Negotiating with Backbone, argues that the “game” of selling is actually a test of sales rep confidence in solution price and value.
  • Miller Heiman, in its 2018 CSO Insights Study, reports some eye-opening statistics on the buyer-seller experience as shown in the table below.
Buyer Experience Seller Experience
  • Only 8% of customers say their sales reps exceed expectations
  • Only 23% of buyers look to “Vendor Salespeople” as a top-three resource to solve business problems.
  • 92% of buyers want to hear a value proposition EARLY in sales cycle
  • Only 9% of buyers feel there is significant differentiation from one vendor to the next
  • 70% of customers have already defined needs and have decided to purchase something before they engage salespeople
  • Only 53% of sales reps achieved quota in 2017 down from 63% in 2011
  • Sales leaders feel that only 50% of their team members can do a proper needs analysis and only 46% of their team members can create an ROI/Cost-Benefit analysis
  • Only 7.5% of Sales Leaders feel their team members have established themselves as Trusted Advisors with clients

More recently, IDC published a research report noting that value-selling at a cloud-based software company led to a 70 percent improvement in close rates with net-new accounts, along with improved upselling close rates from approximately 70 percent to 75 percent. IDC’s recipe for success includes producing scalable, sharable, and reusable models that can monitor value delivery post sale along with an automation platform that supports economic value analysis for every rep.

In April 2020, Dimensional Research conducted a value management survey5 of 203 qualified individuals working at B2B SaaS companies with more than 50 sales reps in a sales, sales enablement, or value consultation leadership roles. The findings noted that 82 percent of customers ask for value tools beyond what these organizations are capable of providing. Not surprisingly, they also reported that more than 90 percent of sellers report that they struggle with value management.

It’s important to realize that the significance of the above metrics to a business depends on where it is in stage of growth and business maturity. For example, early stage enterprises are most likely interested in value differentiation — to ensure profitable revenue growth. These enterprises measure success in terms of improved marketing campaign conversions, lead conversions to sales qualified deals, close rates, discount reduction, and deal velocity.  A late stage business may want to focus on protecting margins and renewals, thus achieving reduced customer churn, while increasing opportunities for cross-sell / up-sell are important performance metrics.

Regardless of stage, it’s helpful to frame the benefits of your CVM program in terms of its value to the end-to-end marketing and sales processes:

Marketing Campaign -> Marketing Qualified Lead -> Sales Qualified Opportunity -> Forecast -> Close Deal -> Customer Success

How Are Companies Leveraging CVM Today?

Many companies today are leveraging CVM is an analog, offline way, relying heavily on error-prone spreadsheets and limiting the ability to have a repeatable, scalable process for delivering value to their buyers and customers. This analog method is labor-intensive, expensive and results in a slow turnaround and low output. As a result, only the most strategic or at-risk deals are supported by value analysis. In customer success organizations, there is a blind spot for success because there is no seamless handoff from the sales team to the implementation team for why the customer bought and what outcomes they expect to achieve. This impacts the ability to measure and quantify the value achieved by the customer that is necessary to continually justify the investment (especially in SaaS scenarios).

Companies that have transformed their value management processes have learned that they need a scalable, SaaS-based solution to serve as a system of record for their prospects and customers. Those that are leveraging value across their customer journey realize improvements across the funnel — from marketing to sales and customer success.

chart: what does best in class look like for customer value management?

What Departments Within an Organization Can Benefit From CVM?

CVM offers significant business benefits to stakeholders across the organization — sales, marketing, product management, and customer success. The Chief Revenue Officer (CRO), as a typical executive sponsor, will likely want to enlist their support for the program. Hence, the leaders of these organizations should be part of your network of advocacy. So, you need to know who these stakeholders are, how CVM will help achieve their performance goals, and properly set expectations.

The figure below suggests that there are a number of players who have a stake in CVM business outcomes:

Stakeholder Benefits of Customer Value Management
Executive Management CVM helps the C-Suite of an organization to increase profits in their net new sales division by reducing discounts, growing their deal size, and increasing the deal velocity in their pipeline. In the existing base, CVM helps leadership teams to achieve a higher Net Retention Rate, which generates profits and shareholder returns.
Sales Management CVM provides the technology that “lifts the long tail” in sales, creating more quota achievers by enabling their teams to clearly articulate the economic value of their solutions in a scalable, rapid, and easy way. CVM enables leaders to reduce discount levels, improve win rates, accelerate deal velocity, and increase deal size while differentiating from the competition and elevating conversations to the C-Suite.
Sales Reps A scalable CVM process ensures that sales reps can deliver consistent, high-quality and value-based analysis to every deal in their pipeline. Whether they’re working with a Value Engineer on a strategic deal, or they’re working in a self-service fashion for their deals, they have the capability at their fingertips to deliver the value analysis that their buyers need to justify a purchase. In turn, they will be able to reduce discounts, increase deal size and velocity, and create strategic alignment with customers around their business challenges.
Sales Engineers CVM enables Sales Engineers to deliver true quantified value to their sales teams through assisting in the value hypothesis development and business case development, and automating their RFP processes, which are very manual and arduous tasks.
Sales Enablement Deliver impactful value selling resources to sales teams with real, quantified proof points from customers. Empower reps to generate personalized, branded, value-based assets in real-time from a central repository that can be easily reused for future opportunities.
Marketing CVM helps marketers generate more sales-ready leads with a higher propensity to buy, resulting in improved conversions throughout the funnel. Additionally, CVM provides value-based insights to develop compelling content, web copy, brochures, ads and other important collateral. It also allows Customer Marketing teams to automatically generate Case Studies with quantified value proof points based on actual customer outcomes, thus ensuring case studies are credible and relevant to each buyer.
Product Management Product Managers benefit from CVM because it ensures product pricing is established with value in mind. CVM programs provide visibility to economic value achievement, providing a fact-based process for effective product pricing and packaging. It also can help identify when to revise or exit products if they are not delivering the value promised.
Customer Success CVM provides visibility to the promises made in the sales cycle to ensure that value is managed and constantly monitored in order to ensure product adoption and satisfaction. Value achievement metrics can serve as powerful proof points to ensure renewals and reduce churn.
Professional Services CVM helps Professional Services teams to quickly understand the business case and value promised to customers in the sales cycle, understand the promises made, and can capture and input value achievement metrics to ensure customer retention and repeat business.
Partners CVM provides Channel Teams and Partners the ability to truly differentiate from the competition by using the total economic value impact of their solution with an easy-to-use interface that reps can easily leverage to articulate the products’ unique benefit. CVM allows channel partners to preserve their margin, win more deals, and ensure retention.
Buyers + Customers Buyers want fewer and more strategic partnerships and are streamlining the vendors they work with. Today, buyers seeking to move to strategic partners know how to quantify and deliver value. Being sold to with a value-based sales approach helps buyers to be more confident of their purchase. It helps them become stronger champions of the project because they believe in the impact it will have on their company and their personal careers.

How Does CVM Act as a Competitive Differentiator For a Company?

Establishing an Agile CVM Program is a transformative change for an enterprise – leading to competitive differentiation and more profitable revenue growth. Agile CVM reinforces the concept of becoming a “Trusted Advisor” for each opportunity — bridging the gap between buyer and seller expectations.

Specifically, CVM brings organizations to the level of Differentiated Value Selling, where value is quantified for a specific project, including differentiation from other alternative uses of budget, such as direct competition or alternative uses of capital.

CVM enables salespeople to challenge the status quo and push for alternative ways to move the needle. Productivity measurement can be applied to any form of capital or human resource and knowing how productivity efficiencies align with competitive advantage and bottom-line results should be where the conversation starts.

customer value management journey illustration

What Are Some Critical Success Factors For CVM?

An effective CVM Program is a win-win proposition for both the seller (your internal stakeholders from sales, marketing, product management, customer success, and others) and the buyer of your B2B solutions (the accounts for whom you build business cases and conduct value realization assessments).

Buyers need help in justifying investments and measuring value realized. Both parties recognize that their keys to success are: (a) an effective business case to justify investments and (b) the ability to measure and showcase business value post-solution implementation. Sellers need to be prepared to deliver it to them in a way that satisfies their business goals of profitable new deals, license / subscription renewals, and increased cross-sell / upsell opportunities.

The opportunity for you, as a Trusted Advisor to both parties, is to ensure their mutual success. Your success in achieving this goal will likely be measured by answering the questions in the following table. Addressing these questions requires formalizing and sustaining your relationships with all parties, making sure that you are properly managing expectations, and showcasing value.

CVM Program Success Measures
Customer Satisfaction Stakeholder Satisfaction
Are Buyers’ investments in your solutions achieving the expected value and ROI?

  • What evidence do you have of value realized (the perception as well as the reality)?
  • Are customers willing to collaborate on ROI Case Studies and provide testimonials?
  • Have you considered using Net Promoter Score (NPS) to gauge customer satisfaction?
Is the CVM program satisfying your internal stakeholder advocacy network?

  • Are sales teams adopting and using the CVM models and assets as expected to close more and bigger deals faster? Have you achieved the ROI projected in the original business case – quantifying (for example):
    • Improved Conversion Rate opportunities to forecast
    • Reduced Sales Cycle Time and Effort
    • Improved Percentage Close Rate
    • Improved Average Sales Price (reduced Discount Rate)
  • Has Marketing leveraged CVM-generated assets for targeted account-based marketing leading to:
    • Higher Marketing Campaign Response Rates
    • Increased Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) generated
    • Higher Conversion of MQLs to real opportunities
  • Has Customer Success achieved their goals of renewals and account expansion?
    • Improved Retention Rate
    • Reduced Churn
    • Increased Cross-sell / upsell

How Does CVM Align With Sales Methodologies and Frameworks Like Challenger, MEDDIC, etc.?

There are many popular sales frameworks used by organizations to get across the importance of selling business value: MEDDIC, Sandler, Miller Heiman, and the Challenger framework are some examples of prescribed approaches. Customer Value Management complements all of them and can be leveraged in conjunction with any sales methodology, as it reinforces the steps for the salesperson, creates consistency in the messaging and execution and ensures that every step is considered throughout the sales cycle. Regardless of the prescribed approach, it’s important to connect the dots between the CVM engagement model and these frameworks.

Below is an example of what it looks like to align MEDDIC to a customer value management framework:

customer value management framework and meddic alignment

How Do CVM Applications & Software Work?

A comprehensive, scalable CVM platform will contain a collection of benefits that constitutes the content foundation for the value program. This foundation is critical to every stage of the CVM journey – creating a value hypothesis with your internal account team; building and refining a defensible business case with the buyer team; measuring value realized post-solution implementation, and creating persona relevant assets along the way.

Sellers often struggle with the challenge of connecting their buyers’ challenges (pain points) to the business value of their B2B solutions. Inability to do this may lead to a credibility gap — providing numbers without context. Overly simplistic ROI Calculators fail to bridge this gap; in fact, they may widen the gap.

While calculators may be a provocative way to open the door and generate leads, they fail to provide the rigor required to justify an investment in a B2B solution. Thus, the challenge is: how do you build a value model that can be used to generate interest (with a provocative value hypothesis), then move on to refine the hypothesis into a compelling business case, and finally, close the loop by using the baseline model to measure value realized. The answer is: build a rigorous Value Data Model with the ability to abstract data to suit a variety of needs. Let’s explore the practical implications of this statement.

The Value Model is a collection of precisely-defined benefits that constitute the baseline financial model to be used and customized by sales reps in building a unique business case for each customer. It provides Economic Buyers with the ability to assess alternative scenarios from worst to best case — performing sensitivity analyses, observing the impact of possible risk factors, answering “what if?” questions, and projecting a variety of financial factors (e.g., ROI, NPV, payback, etc.) for a proposed investment.

So, what is a precisely-defined benefit? A benefit is the fundamental building block of a value model. Think of it as the “atomic unit” of business value that provides the buyer and seller with the wherewithal to assemble a customized business case for a B2B solution. A well-defined, reusable benefit consists of the following elements:

  • Benefit Name. A label that communicates how a specific driver’s improvement is quantified in terms of its business impact. For example: does it reduce costs, improve productivity, mitigate risk; etc.?
  • A narrative that provides: (a) context for the benefit by characterizing the nature of pain and (b) a brief value statement communicating specifically how business value is quantified. For example, will it reduce the time and effort associated with a given activity (e.g., problem resolution); displace software license costs; reduce customer churn?
  • Describes the use cases or specific features of a solution offering associated with the value statement claim.
  • Proof Points. Specific evidence that supports the value statement claim, typically in the form of either” (a) first hand customer experience (value realized) with the B2B solution capability and / or (b) industry analyst benchmark data.
  • Value Calculation. Three factors are used to quantify each value statement, including:
  • Driver Factor. A key measure of business success or business risk that the solution contributes to or mitigates. For example: Number of Security Incidents; Number of IT Staff; Number of Software Licenses.
  • Financial Factor. A value that monetizes the calculation — typically expressed as a Labor Rate, Unit Cost, or Unit Revenue.
  • Improvement Factor. A range of expected improvement associated with the Driver factor (Conservative – Probable – Aggressive) which may be expressed in percentage terms or absolute numbers.

With the Value Data Model as the “center of gravity” for the CVM Program, the buyer engagement process is illustrated and described below.

customer value management program buyer engagement pie chart

  1. SELL IT requires engaging a buyer (or existing customer) to gain agreement on collaboration. As we shall see in Part 3 of this book, there is some homework that you’ll need to do in advance of engaging the customer to properly open the door to the Economic Buyer and set the stage for the collaborative value modeling exercise.
  2. FRAME IT involves selecting the subset of benefits from the value model that you feel resonates with the buyer. Keep in mind that the value model represents the “universe” of potential benefits for a solution. Usually, a subset of benefits will suffice for a specific customer business case.
  3. MODEL / REFINE IT reflects the idea that building a business case is an iterative process. First, the Value Data Model is used to build a strawman Value Hypothesis with your internal account team. This version of the model is then used as a provocative way to gain buyer attention and agreement to collaborate on refining the model. It demonstrates that you’ve done your homework and are ready to have a meaningful value conversation. This Value Hypothesis is then refined with the buyer’s team to reflect their data and assumptions. Typically, this exercise involves a group of “decision influencers” on the buyer’s team and requires a number of iterations to generate a final, compelling business case.
  4. PRESENT IT involves packaging the final business case for presentation. Ideally, getting your Champion to co-present the business case with you makes it clear to the Economic Buyer that there is team consensus on the result. The goal of this step is to transfer ownership of the business case to the Economic Buyer, getting their agreement to recommend the investment to their governance board.

An effective CVM automation features a self-service, secure, software-enabled platform that:

  • Promotes scalability, repeatability, maintainability, and consistency across the full customer engagement life cycle
  • Provides a “single source of truth” with respect to communicating business value
  • Aligns with your prescribed sales process (including frameworks like MEDDIC, Challenger, Miller Heiman) and go-to-market strategy
  • Provides a predictable / efficient engagement model that allows customers to “critique” rather than “create from scratch” required deliverables – minimizing the time and effort required for buyers to engage, validate, and take ownership of the output.

What Tools Are Available to Manage Customer Value?

The figure below highlights the key attributes and considerations involved in the Excel vs. automation platform debate:

comparsion of customer value management platform vs using Excel

In summary, Excel is useful as a helpful model prototyping tool to initially load the baseline value model into the automation platform, and to provide financial types with visibility into the quantification logic for a business case. However, it does not pass the test of a secure, industrial-strength, sales self-service enterprise-scale application to support value selling in the steady state.

The chart below provides a checklist of CVM automation platform capabilities that elaborate on these requirements:

CUSTOMER VALUE MANAGEMENT PLATFORM CAPABILITIES AND FEATURES
Responsiveness Any connected device supported, Mobile, Tablet, Desktop, etc.
Localization Any language, currency, and number format both UI and Content/Assets
CRM Integration Salesforce.com Sales Cloud, Microsoft CRM Dynamics, and more
SSO Integration SAML 2.0, VMWare Workspace One, Okta
Data Integration Universal Data Approach with standard integration with reliable sources
LMS Integration Access to prescribed Learning Management System
Logging & Reporting Full analytics, logging and auditing for administrators and users
Dynamic Content Assets Quickly, easily, dynamically create fully branded MS Office or PDF assets
Sharing Share solutions with partners. Share positions, props and realizations with customers
Cloning Clone solutions, positions, props, and realizations to support unlimited scenarios
Best Practice Libraries Solution Models, Content / Assets Templates, etc
Internal and Community Forums Collaborate and share best practices with other value sellers
Contextual Help Quick access to explanations and assistance to drive more effective adoption
SOC Compliance Compliance with American Institute of CPAs Service Organization Control reporting platform
API Programmatic access to all aspects of CVM Platform
Value Models
Solution Differentiation Differentiate your solution(s) and the benefit(s) you provide
Solution Combinations Combine multiple solutions together to support real-world selling situations
Standardized Benefit Formulas Straightforward, standard calculation approach that allows sellers and buyers to get on the same page fast
Multi-Dimensional Situations Change you value profile based on customer industry, location, use case, audience, etc.
Supporting Collateral Links Link to collateral like pitch decks, analyst reports, and other marketing materials
Embedded Case Studies / References Defend your value with materials in your sales library
Advanced Calculations All the flexibility of a spreadsheet without the danger of “formula fatigue”
Value Insights
Data Aggregation and Analysis Data pulled from web, paid, primary, and algorithmic sources
Data Visualization Peer performance comparisons and automated balance sheet analysis of prospects
Value Positions
Guided Discovery Steps to effectively capture the customers pain and drive toward solutioning
Quick Value Hypothesis’ In a couple clicks create an “outside-in” perspective of your value for any customer
Account Based Marketing Support Leverage Value Positions in outbound marketing campaigns with tailored value
Value Propositions
Supports Real-World Selling Scenarios Leverage all your internal knowledge and dynamically apply it simply and dynamically
Supports All Major CFO Hurdle Rates Total Benefits, ROI, NPV, IRR, Payback Period, 3 Month Cost of Inaction, TCO, and more
Supports Total Cost of Ownership Facilitate the simplest of ROI conversations by comparing current costs to “after” costs
Benefit Phasing Consider customer current state and gradual realization of value over time
Internal and Customer Notations Capture notes and context during engagement with a customer
Adapt to Customer Conversations Add benefits and change the naming / descriptions to reflect customer preference
Differentiate from Alternatives Support the fact that most customers are not “green field” opportunities
Value Realization
Measure Expectation vs. Actual Survey customers monthly, quarterly or annually for their perspective of value achieved
Facilitate Course Correction In areas where value is not up to par, suggestions of potential changes to get on track
Capture Case Study Content Capture quotes and other case study data to make your value case stronger going forward
Automatically Inform Value Models Based on customer perspective, revise and refine your Value Models

 

What Should Be Considered When Evaluating Customer Value Management Platforms?

There are a number of considerations that should be kept in mind when evaluating Customer Value Management solutions. Below, are different considerations for evaluating or comparing value management platforms:

User Experience Attributes Key Requirement Considerations
Customer Engagement Process Support Full support of customer engagement cycle: Value Discovery - Value Delivery - Value Realization A CVM platform supports the full customer engagement cycle. Spreadsheets are typically geared to building a business case. They add little or no value to the Value Discovery or Value Realization stages
Scalability Efficiency of refining / customizing business case through numerous iterations

Support for any language, currency, and number format in both UI and Content/Assets

With Excel, making changes to a model during customization of the business case with the buyer requires time-consuming rework (hours to copy and paste from Excel to PPT and Word documents). A platform:

  • Automatically regenerates high-quality sales assets in seconds
  • Supports multiple language, currency, and number formats in both the UI and outputs
  • Captures and associates case studies with Benefits
Single Source of Truth Single master repository of value knowledge With Excel, an enterprise loses control of the message as different people end up with different iterations of the original spreadsheet and no one gets the latest information. A platform featuring a single repository of value is continuously updated.
Flexibility / Adaptability Support variety of sales situations accounting for geographical, industry, use cases, and organization size / scale variations

Seamless integration of business value across multiple solution models

Ability to quickly adapt to business changes caused by adding new solutions; product enhancement; acquisitions, etc.

With Excel, dozens of spreadsheets are required to support variations.

A platform configures deal-specific ‘situations’ in a single value model — permitting configuration and customization of the value model for each unique customer — accounting for industry, location, use case, and target audience variations.

Business cases accounting for the integration of multiple solutions that may have overlapping benefits can be created to support real-world selling situations

Usability Usable by all sales reps with basic business acumen for all qualified deals in the pipeline

Contextual Help to promote adoption

Credible and transparent with customers; easy to refine and validate business case; clear on ‘where the numbers come from’

Spreadsheets typically rely on skilled Value Practitioners with deep understanding of the value model mechanics. Consequently, use of the spreadsheets are often constrained to the largest, most strategic deals.

An automation platform is specifically engineered for use by sales people – providing quick access to explanations and assistance to drive more effective adoption. Moreover, ‘guided discovery’ provides an efficient way to align benefits in the value model with business objectives and strategy

Security Full SOC Compliance; ensure security of all customer data Spreadsheets are generally difficult to control and risk exposing proprietary customer data and organizational IP to unauthorized access

A CVM platform provides the ability to leverage organizational IP and customer data in a secure manner and is accredited for full SOC compliance

Visibility across the enterprise Executive access/ dashboards & measurement provide tracking usage and adoption information Keeping track of who and how spreadsheets are used is cumbersome – requiring a separate tracking process, or not done at all.

An automation platform provides full visibility of adoption and usage by sales team members. A dashboard shows all business cases in process — highlighting sales team members that need guidance or further training

Value Realization Measurement Periodic assessments of value achieved relative to the ROI baseline An automation platform provides a value realization methodology as an integral part of full CVM life cycle support
Integration to other enterprise apps Integration with other processes and tools in the sales ecosystem (CRM, Customer Success) An automation platform provides APIs and is fully integrated with the current sales ecosystem including CRM, SSO, LMS, and other tools

What is Value Engineering?

Value Engineering is a practice that is critical for a business to achieve higher close rates, increased average deal size, improved customer retention, and increased account growth through cross-sell and up-sell. To begin, it’s important to understand that the role of Value Practitioner is referred to in a variety of ways by different organizations – Business Value Consultant, Value Expert, Value Engineer, Value Analyst, Cloud Economist, and Business Analyst to name a few.

Regardless of label, there are a number of Value Practitioner roles depending on personal goals and strengths. Generally speaking, these opportunities fit into two broad categories:

  1. “Field-facing” Value Engineers work directly with the field sales teams to engage prospects and existing customers in value conversations throughout the engagement process leading to: (a) a business case that justifies investing in a B2B solution and (b) an assessment of value realized post-implementation. Individuals who enjoy customer contact and working on the front lines to help close specific opportunities typically follow this career path.
  2. “Back-office” Value Engineering support is essential to achieve the goals of scalability, repeatability, and consistency of high-quality deliverables. This role involves largely, but not exclusively, working behind the scenes with internal stakeholders (sales, sales operations / enablement, marketing, product management, and customer care organizations) to create and maintain reusable content that the field sales teams need to engage prospects and customers. This content typically includes: value models, customer ROI case studies, proposal boilerplates, deal success stories, and enablement training courseware. To achieve this goal, two key processes must be formalized: (1) an internal collaboration process for understanding the expectations and “demand” of your stakeholders and (2) an external customer engagement process that clarifies how and when to use sales assets and collateral. Success in this role requires aligning content with your go-to-market strategy and supporting your organization’s prescribed selling approach (g., Challenger, MEDDIC, Miller Heiman, etc.).

How Does Customer Value Management Support Sales Enablement?

Once implementation of your CVM program is complete, it’s time to give the sales team members the confidence to carry on effective value conversations throughout the customer engagement process.

Sales enablement content can be packaged and delivered in a variety of ways – including recorded sessions on a Learning Management System; formal face-to-face venues like sales roadshows; Sales Kick-off events; onboarding events, and one-on-one coaching sessions. The table below suggests different assets that value engineers can prepare for value management enablement:

Enablement Asset Description of Asset (Format, Goals, etc.)
CVM Sales Playbook For internal-use-only, provides CVM Program context, key concepts underlying the Value Data.

Model, and sales team roles and responsibilities for the customer engagement process. References and links to the key sales assets previously developed; specifically:

  • CVM Elevator Pitch
  • Customer CVM Program Data Sheet Handout
  • FAQ Documents: (1) Objection Handling and (2) Responses to Economic Buyer During Presentation
  • Customer CVM Program Introductory Briefing (PPT)
  • Value Statement Checklist and Discovery Questions
  • Business Case Presentation Template (PPT)
CVM Program Quick Reference Guide For internal-use-only, a one-page summary of the CVM engagement process and sales assets.
LMS Voice-over PPT: Value Conversations that Matter Recorded training in the CVM engagement process and playbook, including how CVM aligns with the sales process, related sales frameworks like MEDDIC, Challenger, Miller Heiman, and your go-to-market strategy. Possibly used as prework for a major sales event (e.g., SKO).
LMS Voice-over PPT: Language of Business Value Selling Recorded training introducing the metrics Economic Buyers use to make investment decisions (e.g., ROI, IRR, NPV, Payback, TCO) along with the advantages and disadvantages of each metric. Possibly used as prework for a major sales event (e.g., SKO).
Face-to-face PPT decks for sales events Formal presentation used to introduce the CVM Program to sales teams at key sales events (e.g., SKO or roadshows); generate enthusiasm; explain rollout plan, and clarify expectations with a call to action.
Case Study A domain-specific customer case study used as prework for a role-play workshop at major sales event.
Model Reference Catalogue Fact sheet for each solution value model describing what and how to use the models — including a list of benefits, descriptions, factors used, and discovery questions to ask.
Library of Proposals / Business Cases Perhaps redacted or organized by industry or solution type, the library describes what was done with a specific company to get the deal across the finish line. Ideally, this would be followed up with a value realization assessment showing what the customer actually achieved relative to the baseline ROI business case.
Value Model Quick Reference Sheet Standard Reference Document for sellers that shows the benefit category, name, benefit description and factors.
Value Modelling 'Cheat' Sheet Early sales cycle engagement cheat sheet with questions to help reps through early discovery process leading to meaningful mid stage conversation and get prospect buy-in to collaborate on a business case. Essentially empower sales reps to execute a ‘deal desk’ process: validate sales situation; determine initiatives; prioritize benefits.
Deal Success Stories For internal-use-only, brief (1-2 page) write-ups highlighting deal successes attributable to the CVM-generated business case – featuring best practices, sales team testimonials, and key deal attributes (size, time to close, etc.)
Customer ROI Spotlights One or two-page customer-facing write-ups documenting the business value a specific customer has realized implementing the B2B solution.

 

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