What is Value Based Selling?

Like ROI, the term Value Based Selling has some baggage, or folks have preconceived notions for what exactly it is.  We define Value Based Selling (VBS) as simply aligning the areas your prospect is focused on improving to the value of your solution.  The key for how to do this is focusing on learning rather than presenting.  And the key twist is to quantify - early and often - that alignment.  It would be prudent to make it simple and easy for sales reps to learn, align, and quantity value.  One way to accomplish that is by applying a mix of technology, methodology, and focus.

The notion of Value Based, or Complex, or Solution, or Diagnostic – pick your flavor - selling is obviously not new in the world of complex expensive sales.  Even for those who still practice show up and throw up, they inherently know that learning about the customer’s situation and assigning value to their solution is important, even if they’re not playing an active role in doing it.  There’s not a Sales VP or Manager we’ve talked to who doesn’t agree that a diagnostic, value based, approach to selling is optimum.  But surprisingly almost every one of them – in the same breath - admits their teams are doing a terrible job of it.  Why?

Because it’s hard. 

And you can still get results – usually mediocre - the hard way.  You, or someone you know, ever tried snowboarding after a lifetime of skiing?  Pretty hard.  Some voice inside you is saying, “I can get down this hill just fine my way.  What the heck am I doing this for?”  There are clearly a few folks who gut it out and learn how to do something new, but they’re a small minority.  “Teaching” a new selling methodology has the same challenges.  Ask any sales trainer who’s willing to be honest with you, and they’ll tell you only a small number of the folks they train retain and really continue to practice that new approach to selling.  Because it’s hard.  And they don’t have good reinforcing mechanisms.

The problem is even bigger because many sales people aren’t skiing downhill.  They’re tumbling!  Thus, a new sales methodology isn’t just asking them to tweak how they’re doing things.  It’s a radical change.  Many sales reps are getting off the ski lift and tumbling down hill, not really having a good idea what they’re doing at all.  So asking them to go from Demos to Value is a big change.  Worse, their managers are saying, “hey John, on the next tumble try to avoid the big poles and trees,” or “Sue, as you’re sliding uncontrollably downhill next time, put your legs out for some balance.”  In other words, “Do more calls.”  “More meetings!”  “More demos!” Or, some other version of just tweak this, or do more of that that.  No real focus on sales effectiveness.  Just efficiency.  Really. 

So we have a two pronged challenge.  1.  We know there’s a fundamentally better way, but 2.  It’s really hard to get people – novice or veteran, manager or rep – to change their ways.  What do you do?

Make it simple.  Make it easy.  Hide the vitamins inside the ice cream.  But make sure it’s still effective.  Snow plowing, in a V, all the way down the hill, as graceless as it might feel is still a lot better than becoming your own one man snow ball.  In the same way, learning just a few things about your prospect and building a simple, initial, KPI driven value case – even one that includes lots of assumptions - is better than endlessly retelling your elevator pitch or aiming to do a demo.   A simple service or tool that helps reps along this path seems like the easiest and most effective way to drive a more value based selling approach.

Value based selling will:
  • Drive you to LEARN about the opportunity.  This includes understanding key business drivers and initiatives, uncovering unrecognized pain points, and otherwise understanding what the prospect is focused on.
  • Give you a more powerful way to QUALIFY where and how you spend your time.  Qualify based on opportunity instead of budget, pain instead of relationship.
  • Empower you to ALIGN what your prospect told you he’s focused on - what he cares about, his goals, his pains, his “agenda” – with the value of your solution or product.
  • Put weight behind your case when you QUANTIFY the value of your solution.  We’ll help you deploy your mobility initiative faster, is good.  We’ll help drive $2.5MM in additional revenue through improved sales cycle times, while improving the effectiveness of your Mobility Initiative, is SO much better
  • Give your champion the currency and language to share your value when you ARM them with a case built on your aligned and quantified value that uses what you learned about your champion, his organization, and his situation.
  • CLOSE becomes more a result than an action verb.  Sure, you’ll still need to drive a process to get the deal signed, but the more quantified and aligned the value you’ve “sold” is, the more urgently the prospect will act.