Is your value management team working as effectively as they could be? This week our post looks at four ways to help you boost your practices to ensure effective value management.
Why value management?
Business value management goes way beyond selling your solutions. It connects your customer’s business needs with your solutions. It’s about looking at the money your solution can bring or save a company, rather than on how much investing in your solution will cost. Value selling brings many more benefits than it appears on the face of it and, when the best practices we shared with you today are followed, it generates positive results. Sales conversations that focus on your product bells and whistles and how much your solution costs are becoming a thing of the past.
Sometimes we see that vendors only get underway with business value conversations and call on value managers for help when they are getting themselves deep into troubled waters with cost-based sales. But when you’re already getting out of your depth, it’s often too late in the day to start value selling. This is because it’s tricky for value managers and their sales teams to step in at the last minute and work with customers to see the all the wonderful benefits that your solution can bring. The money discussions aren’t so tangible, because there wasn’t the time to get to know the target customer’s needs.
Here’s the four pointers we put together to help you ensure effective value management:
1. Talk to the key decision makers (BDMs)
It’s best practice to have your value conversations with BDMs. Because when you reach out to the BDMs in charge of the areas your solution will help, you are more likely to have a fruitful sales story. It’s nice to talk about how great your solution is but you won’t get very far if you aren’t talking to the people who can see the real value potential in your solutions. So, if you’re selling CRM, your value conversation should be with sales, marketing, or customer service stakeholders. And, if it’s a business automation solution that you’re selling, you need to be having value conversations with the stakeholders who oversee operations. In a nutshell, you should be talking to the teams who will benefit from the money you save or the revenues you bring.
How do you do this?
A common oversight in the software industry is to talk with the stakeholders you know in the IT department and ask them to deliver the message to the right people. But this will often lessen the impact of your value story. There will always be an IT influence that comes from reduced total cost of ownership: the IT department always play an important role in any technology investments. However, value selling is much better measured and leveraged by the BDMs who will use and benefit from your solution.
If you haven’t already touched base with the company BDMs, and you bypass your original connections then you could also put yourself in risky situation. And you don’t want to annoy any IT people. So, in this situation, it’s best to talk to the IT stakeholders first. You can ask them for help to reach out to the relevant business departments and BDMs. Then you can sell to the right people.
Connecting with the key BDMs will help you to ensure effective value management and make it a win-win situation.
2. Be consistent with your value management practices
One of the biggest perks of value management is that it helps us to support our customer’s real needs. It helps us to get close to the stakeholders. It also allows us to sustain close relationships with the right people. But to make the most of these sales opportunities, it’s so important to be consistent in your approach. And it is always best practice to have value conversations right from the beginning.
You need to make sure that your business value team stick to your practices. Providing your team with great training will really help to instil all the benefits of value selling. And when your sales team know the benefits inside out and backwards, for both you and your customers, they are more likely to follow your best practices. Making your value selling processes mandatory might be an option to ensure salespeople will follow it, but it may not give you the results you really want.
To ensure consistency, it’s also really helpful to have a system where you carry out regular reviews. To know what is working and what is not. Additionally, it’s a good idea to properly celebrate your wins as a team and show your sales team the value attached to each win. This will also drive home the incentive.
The solution is plain to see:
You must make sure your business value process is consistent and that your whole team are on board. This will require you to train and upskill your team, so they’re able to implement your processes and keep up with your progress and performance. If you need some support with this, outsourcing specialists to help with consistency is also an option.
3. Produce customised sales materials in a factory fashion
Another way that you can ensure effective value management, is by personalising your sales materials. By exploring your customer’s business objectives and understanding their challenges and their pain points. If your salespeople are presenting a message that resonates with your customer’s business plans, they will find it really hard not to be interested in your solution. And when you deliver appropriate solutions that address your target customer’s specific business needs, you will position yourself as a trustworthy partner.
The hardest bit of this, is getting the balance right between enough personalisation and still having a stable process that is not only reliable but also repeatable. Meeting your prospect with a customised proposal will always be better received, and with the personal touch you are also more likely to connect with the right people. Customisation helps to improve your customer relationships and can increase your win rates.
You just need to remember that when you scale up your customised sales materials to allow you to extend your reach to a wider customer base, they might not make such an impact. More often than not, they will pack less of a punch that they will with a fully customised approach. The thing is that fully customised materials will take you so much longer to create. And scalability with customisation really isn’t easy to get right. Our earlier blog gives more info on how to effectively scale your value management.
4. Have all the experts you need in your team
Being able to manage value and value sell successfully won’t just happen by magic. Realising the best practices takes time, devotion and your resources will need to be the cream of the crop.
So, what experts do you need to employ?
Well, your business value team must be specific to your business needs. And all your people need the skills required to do their job. Your people are basically your money. Because value management is a multidisciplinary approach, you will need people with different specialist abilities. You’ll need analysts, creative thinkers, and some good communicators. As well as some staff that are good at taking initiatives and leading and some that are great at working to deadlines. And you’ll also need people with the right kind of industry-specific experiences. For instance, if you’re targeting a technical company, you’ll need some engineers or IT experts! To have business value conversations, you need experts! But just just remember that you’re not necessarily going to find all these roles in a single person. And not everyone makes a good business value consultant.
Another point to make here is that you might feel tempted to surrender some tasks to your salespeople. But you need to be wary of taking that approach because it can make your customers sceptical. There is a lot of well-developed theory behind business teams, check out Belbin Team Roles | Belbin.
To wrap up
These four pointers will send you on the right path to ensure effective value management. A value management team running smoothly and seamlessly to know your customers’ real needs is what you should be aiming for. And consequently, you’ll form closer relationships with your customers.
If you only take a handful of things from our post this week, please keep in mind:
- BDMs are who you need to talk to. But don’t shy out your acquaintances in IT. Value conversations are best had with the right people.
- It’s essential to be consistent in your processes. To be consistent you need to be really sure that your team are on board and that they are trained to follow your methods. And you must also carry out reviews and make sure wins are celebrated.
- Having customisable, but scalable sales materials is also really important.
- And the main thing to take away is that your people are the key to your success. With a great team, great things become possible.
Thank you for your time. If you liked our post, you are very welcome to share it to your social networks. And stay tuned for our next one!
Can we help you?
At The Value Search Team, we can build, operate, and scale your value management practice. At any time, and from anywhere.
Are you value selling or managing value in this world of digital transformation? Do you need any help? If you have any comments or questions about anything we talk about in our blogs, or if we can support you with anything, we are we are here for you. And we always love to hear from people. Please DM or visit our website and use the ‘get in touch’ link to talk with a specialist member of our team.