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.
Creating value with our customers has never been more important than it is now. Our customers face issues they have, probably, never had to deal with in the past. The safety of their people, restrictions on how they operate, profound shifts in their markets and with their customers, possible supply chain management issues, and the list goes on.
Some customers are in areas critical to our current health and economic crises, they are struggling to respond to critical needs from their customers. Some are struggling to be important to their customers. Some are restricted in their ability to do business, for example, hospitality, travel, and many small businesses.
Our customers, as are we, are struggling – individually and organizationally. Their jobs, their businesses, their markets are all disrupted. They are focused on those things most critical to what they face now.
As a result, our value propositions must be sharper and more focused than in the past. We, not only, have to present business justified solutions, but we must present our value in the context of what’s most important to them now.
Some things we have to be focused on:
- Our solutions and value will no longer just be evaluated against alternatives. Our solutions will be evaluated against all other things the organization is considering. For example, projects in other parts of the business will be competing with our solutions. Alternatively, people’s jobs may be impacted. Decisions will be made based on what is most critical to the company now.
- Time to results becomes more critical than it has been in the past. Time to results is always important, but those things that accelerate the ability for the customer to achieve the desired outcomes are critical.
- Risk is critical, but risk in the context of today’s crises may be very different than “business as usual” risks. Can they even make things happen, given current restrictions and market circumstances?
- Customer implementation risks/challenges. Can the customer even implement the solution? Given the WFH environment many companies are in, physical proximity, and other challenges, have we helped to enable the customer to implement the solution under current circumstances?
- Personal risk and value. Traditionally, we’ve always looked at value propositions in the context of the impact on the organization or enterprise. Too often, we fail to recognize the risk/value to those making the decision and implementing the solution. In the best of times, people can lose their jobs if they make a poor decision. Today, people face heightened anxieties. We must make sure we help them understand the value of our solutions in the face of their concerns right now.
- Can we deliver on our commitments? Many companies face huge supply chain challenges. Others have solutions that require people to work in close proximity. Just like our customers face restrictions in what they can get done, so do we. Making sure that we can deliver on what the customer is buying in the time period they expect is critical to their success and ours.
Customers are buying, but they are only buying solutions that address their highest priorities for the business and individually. If we aren’t building value in the context of their new priorities, we are wasting both their time and ours.