In the opening blog to the series, A Sales Leader’s Guide to Selling Value, we established how value creation selling can enable your business to be viewed as strategic to your customer’s business and enable the creation of mutually beneficial value. The creation of mutually beneficial value can mean competitive advantages for your customers and increased customer loyalty, higher win rates and increased deal sizes for you. In order for your sales organization to execute a value creation selling approach, they must understand what the customer values most.
3 key areas to examine
To understand what your customer values most, we at SOAR believe that it is important to examine three key areas:
- Value Priorities
Influences are factors, either internal or external to the customer’s organization, that cause the customer to change. Example external influences include government regulation, new competition and/or consumer preferences. Example internal influences include:
- pressure to increase new account revenue
- pressure to reduce department budget
- requirements to adopt new systems
Considering the influences impacting your customer’s business first is important because influences are driving the customer’s response.
When businesses respond to influences, the response often comes in the form of new objectives and initiatives. This is why initiatives are the next key area we at SOAR look at when our focus is on understanding what the customer values most. Initiatives are actions or groups of actions put in place by the organization to achieve a specific outcome. When examining initiatives, what we want to determine is the result the organization is seeking to achieve and the timeline for achieving it. This will help us determine the final key area we want to understand, the customer’s Value Priorities.
Value Priorities are the most important initiatives that the customer wants to accomplish. Without knowledge of the Value Priorities, there is no way to determine what the customer values most. If we do not know what the customer values most and someone else does, then we have a good chance at being beat.
Once we have uncovered the Value Priorities, we are either a step ahead of the competition or at the very least even, but we are not behind. All of our energy from here on out should focus on helping the customer achieve its Value Priorities. To do this and add value to the customer’s business, we are going to have to understand the customer’s challenges and help the customer overcome them. For more on the customer’s challenges, see Key #2 to Value Creation Selling – Solving the Customer’s Business Challenges.