Who are the mid-market?
In this instance, the “mid-market” tells us about a company’s size. Across industries worldwide companies come in many different sizes. It is the size of the company that decides which market segment they fall into. The middle of the market, or mid-market segment is made up of companies that have typical deal sizes that, roughly speaking, span from a low five-digit amount to a high six-digit amount.
In this blog we will discuss how to aim for companies in the mid-market using value selling. The mid-market has always been a challenge for vendors. Target customers in the mid-market still need standard communications but, because of their size, they also call for a customised sales approach.
Typically, software vendors launch “campaigns” that are followed up by accounts teams to home in on the mid-market. These campaigns can mean looking after 50 to 100 target companies at a time. Vendors will often target the mid-market with vertical-specific solutions or with standard horizontal solutions, that they can market vertically.
The questions here for vendors are:
- How do you currently engage mid-market customers?
- What methods do you use to persuade your target customers, beyond explaining the functions and features of your offering? How do you launch an effective campaign?
- And can you scale easily if your campaign is successful?
Value selling can help you reach mid-market customers with winning campaigns. It can also help you to scale!
Stemming from our experiences in value selling, here are five things to ponder:
1. “Value” is the heart of your sales pitch
We love value selling! Our past posts talked about how significant it is to focus your sales approach on the benefits you can bring to a customer. Your products functions and features might be great, but what else do people need to know? How do you show your target customers what they will get from your solution? In other words, how can you really “help” their business? Does your offering boost sales, cut costs, better processes etc.? – if so, how? (Take a look at our earlier posts if you missed them!)
So, how do you put value at the centre?
It is easy to show value all the way through the sales process when you know how. To focus your sales pitch on value, you need to show your potential customers the benefits of your products and solutions. With case studies, benchmarking reports, outside-in analysis, and then a business case that spells out and proves the economic benefit, you can keep value at the heart of your sales.
When you can focus on value right from the word go, it helps you to create a really sound starting point. And from there, you can have a much more compelling sales conversation with your target customer.
2. You can deliver, working together
Your sales team need training in value selling. All of them! Great training means your sellers can deliver great results. Everyone in your sales team should be able to build and present a value-based business case, with confidence. They need to answer customers if they have any questions. They need to be able to argue the benefits of your offering.
Are your sales teams trained in value selling? Do they all know your value? Can they talk confidently about key scenarios? How do they show that they understand your target customers’ needs? Are they able to think about specific business needs, and individual customer viewpoints, to ease any concerns?
In our experience, working together gets us great results. Our best wins come when our sales teams create business cases with the customer and each other. Our focus on our work is united.
When all your sales team can all deliver, your target customers will turn into customers – because everyone can understand the real value of your offerings.
3. Speaking your customers’ language
By this we mean, you literally need to speak your customers’ language. Getting to know your target customers’ needs using a value and benefits approach, helps you explain the value and benefits of your solution, in a way they can understand.
Unless your product or solution is unique, pretty much impossible to copy and the next latest thing, you have to find more ways to get noticed! Do your sales teams get to know your customers’ challenges and strategies? Do all your sales team understand how your products and services help businesses? They need to! Your sales reps’ job is to show the benefits and value of your offerings to your target customers.
Your sales teams need to get to know your target customers’ business well. This means you get involved! Then you can fully understand how you can meet their needs. It is so important to show customers you know all about their company, industry, market and competition. But how do you get to know this without asking them some questions? When you get fully involved you learn from your target customer. And when you can show customers you know their needs, you will get their attention. Customers will trust you when your offerings are backed up with your knowledge.
4. Being able to scale, easily
Being able to scale, in other words, means that you can grow your sales practice. When you can scale you can create top-quality sales materials, such as outside-in presentations, case studies and business cases, on time, time and again, no matter how many you need to build at once. For this to be doable, you need standard, simple and automated sales materials. And these need to be put through a thorough quality assurance process.
Scaling is not easy. Let’s say you have a horizontal solution. Can you apply that solution vertically, across different companies, sectors and industries?
Yes, you can. The answer is in “industry adaptation” and “customisation”. Your sales materials need to be based on current market trends and your target customers’ challenges and strategies. And your sales delivery needs to be customised too! This is “scalability with customisation”. It creates more interest. With custom-built sales materials your target customers will know they have your extra attention. When we personalise our sales materials, our customers are more interested in us, because they feel like more than a “generic” target.
Now to the how’s:
- How can you customise your sales materials well?
Well, to do a good job of this you need to go beyond the company and industry insights. You need to give your target customers some references. These references “prove” to your target customers that you will bring their business more value. To back up your claims, you need to share your actual figures–measurable data from similar sales (quantitative data). And you need to share your observations too–for example, your customer success stories (qualitative data). The references you use must link with your target customer’s business challenges and opportunities.
- How can you scale your customised sales materials?
Take our word for it–to customise and scale is hard–even with great tools and a great team! But these are your best assets. The best way to scale customised materials is with a skilled back-office. A team to support your value managers, and sales and marketing teams. Your back-office should run like a factory. Like clockwork! A good back-office is made up of multi-skilled people who can build flawless sales documents for target customers across many industries. They know how to use to the tools they have. With a skilled and synchronised back-office you will always deliver reliable, customised and scalable sales materials, on time.
- How many customised cases can you currently cope with at once?
Within a campaign, we have our case load rise to 100-200 documents in a month. It is not always easy to scale internally – sometimes your best bet is to outsource this help. Something to think about.
5. Having the same measures pre- and post-sales (customer success)
It is important that you are talking about the same measures with your customer throughout the sales process. To show target customers the benefits of your solutions, you need to give them some solid proof. Consistency is the key to a great value success story.
How do you make sure of this? First off, it is very important to make sure you are focusing on the most trustworthy measures right from the start. You can support all your sales discussions with a trusty set of benchmarks and KPIs. When you have worked out the best ones to use, they can be used pre-sales, from the outside-in presentation, to spark real interest in your offering. Next, when you present the business case to your target customer these measures can be used to close the deal. Lastly, the right benchmarks and KPIs make it easy for your customer success team to follow up on customers’ results post-sales. One of the best things about value selling is that you can easily measure how well you are doing. And the company you are working with can too. Both parties can see the success, simply by looking at the expected results (the ex-ante calculation) in comparison to the actual results (the ex-post verification).
On top of all this, value engineering provides you with extra insights for future use, every time. With value selling, you will always learn more about industries, companies and processes. You get new skills. You gain more experiences with each target customer. And, most importantly, all the added knowledge and experience supports innovative discussions and primes more sales leads.
Obviously, these are just some ways that value selling can help you hit the mid-market and win more campaigns. There are more!
Thank you for your time. If you liked our post, you are welcome to share it. And please stay tuned for our next blog!
We are here to help. If you have any questions, we would love to hear from you.