Joanne Moretti, Chief Marketing Officer, DecisionLink
30+ years of B2B sales, marketing & product experience
For months I’ve been talking about value-based selling, and more recently, value-based marketing. These practices deliver ultimate differentiation because feature/function battles generally end up sounding very “me-too’ish” and leaving prospects underwhelmed, often resulting in price discounting or indecision. I’ve noted that the best way to differentiate yourself is by concisely articulating the business value and outcome that your solution delivers and doing so in the buyer’s terms. Typically, he or she who best clarifies value in the customer’s terms, wins!
I’ve also suggested that in today’s world, beyond just differentiating and winning deals, you must strive to win customers in order to create profitable growth. In the case of customer retention and expansion (i.e. “Customers for Life”), I believe, yet again, that value plays a critical role, and he or she who clarifies the value realized during QBR meetings and alike will hold the ultimate leverage during contract renewals and cross-sell/upsell motions. Let me take you back in time with a quick story and explain why:
I grew up selling perpetual, on-premise software licenses back in the ‘90’s and at that time I was also responsible for renewals as well. I often wished my software was smarter.
Smarter? “How,” you ask?
Well, I wished that somehow our software would generate true utilization data and the financial impact it delivered – ticker-tape style across an administrator’s screen! I remember being at a user conference and users suggesting this recommendation as well. Users wanted it as much as us salespeople did because it would give us all a sense of confidence.
One example – I wished that our CA Single-Sign-On tool would report this daily:
- 2,000 help desk calls for password resets avoided in past 24 hours
- Daily Savings: $30,000
- YTD Savings $2.7M
- Over Lifetime of Agreement you have saved $19.8M
Not sure if you ever dreamt of such things, but I did a lot, especially at renewal time when my customer’s procurement team was breathing down my neck suggesting they were only willing to pay half of my renewal fees because, according to their records, only half the users licensed were actually using my tool – and telling me that my competitors were chomping at the bit and had already submitted unsolicited bids to replace me!
With no leverage in hand, and a merciless sales leader waiting for a contract in New York, the dance began. I would literally sit and wish for a miracle because I had no way to quickly or easily defend my position and gain any leverage in the negotiation. Users were under strict gag orders and weren’t allowed to talk to me, and even qualitative examples were out of reach. And of course, the three other deals I was working on with the customer were all put into a holding pattern until we completed the renewal negotiations. Ultimately, I was at the mercy of the procurement person who had me over a barrel, and my only recourse was to discount, then wrap and roll in some of the new products we had been presenting to them, at the same ridiculous discount level.
This is a true story. I’ve lived it, breathed it and suffered through it. That was me, wishing for smarter software that would give me the keys to the kingdom, so to speak.
Fast forward to the year 2021, and that daydream of having leverage is no longer a dream. It is reality. Everyone is a seller, per Gartner, and I am thrilled to announce that DecisionLink’s ValueCloud® platform now empowers every commercial team member to have value-based engagement, including Value Realization reporting and insights.
DecisionLink believes that Value Realization is an extremely important practice within a broader Customer Value Management program, and if your value tools don’t deliver this type of on-demand intelligence and power, it’s time that you start looking at digital platforms that can empower you in a way that goes beyond a point-in-time ROI report to “always-on, real-time reporting”. A Customer Value Management platform that helps you establish and communicate your value, at any stage in the customer journey – automatically and at scale – is a CRO and CEO’s dream, because it helps from customer acquisition to customer retention to customer expansion.
On top of the field-level benefits of value-based engagement, product managers and marketers FINALLY have a source of benchmark data and intelligence that helps them decipher exactly how much value customers as a whole are realizing. Finally, we can price products and solutions based on the real value being delivered and then position them with confidence.
Value Realization – it’s real, it’s here, and indeed it is the ultimate leverage.