October 04, 2023
If your company sells products or services to other businesses, you’re probably familiar with the challenge of growing your sales numbers.
At times, you might even struggle to maintain them. One way to put yourself in a better position to succeed is to diversify your approaches, so you’re not limited to a single method by which salespeople interact with customers. Have you ever considered value-based sales? Under this method, sales reps act as sort of business consultants, working closely with customers or prospects to identify specific needs or solve certain problems.
The objective is to provide as much value as possible from the sales that result. This approach has its risks but, under the right circumstances, it can pay off. What is value? Before embarking on a value-based sales initiative, you’ll need to identify what kinds of value you may be able to provide.
This can’t be a fuzzy concept; sales reps should be able to put dollars and cents to their value-based sales propositions or at least build a compelling case.
Value generally takes four forms: Dollars gained; your product or service will lead to an increase in revenue for the subject based on a reasonable financial projection, Dollars saved; your product or service will demonstrably save the customer or prospect money, Risk reduced; your product or service will address and help minimize one or more identifiable threats to the business in question, and Qualitative; if you can’t make a case for one of the other three value types, you may still be able to argue that your product or service improves the quality of the subject’s operations in some way. At least one of these four types of value will be the ultimate objective when salespeople engage customers or prospects.
However, to identify that objective, your sales team will need to put in considerable effort. How does the process work? Perhaps the biggest downside of a value-based sales approach is that it’s labor-intensive.
As opposed to, say, making cold calls with a product or service list and a series of talking points, your salespeople will need to do a “deep dive” into targeted businesses. They’ll need to learn details such as each company’s mission, history, management structure, financial status, strengths and weaknesses. Then, when interacting with customers or prospects, they’ll need to focus on education — both their own and the subject’s. In other words, a sales rep will need to ask the right questions to learn as much as possible about the customer’s or prospect’s business needs and challenges.
Meanwhile, the salesperson will need to act much like a consultant, informing the subject about industry trends, potential solutions and perhaps how comparable companies have overcome similar issues.
As you can see, value-based sales is more about relationship building and knowledge sharing than straight selling. Because of this, it can be a gamble. Some sales reps may spend extensive time and effort with a customer or prospect, even helping that business in certain ways, only to reap little to no sales revenue. On the other hand, when the approach works well, your company may be able to build a dynamic, long-lasting relationship with a lucrative customer. Are there such sales in your pipeline?
If value-based sales sounds like something that could benefit your business, discuss it with your leadership team and sales staff. You’ll likely want to review your sales pipeline and determine which customers or prospects would be good fits for the approach.
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