Do buyers take your sales reps at their word when they talk about the value your solution can provide?
Most of the time trust is hard to come by without quantitative evidence, such as ROI-based case studies. Even if you have great qualitative quotes from customers reflected in your case studies, without hard numbers, buyers remain skeptical about the level of outcomes achieved.
Buyers also tend to be skeptical when reps talk about short time-to-value. What they envision are all the “what ifs” that can happen impeding implementation, rollout, and adoption of your solution. This varies among buyers but is often influenced by culture, legacy systems and processes, and change management that’s seen as a heavy lift.
Sellers must understand the value of their products and solutions based on the value perceptions of their buyers. Most sales reps have an internalized view of value, ascribing it to product features. Buyers want to see a more objective view based on math. They prefer to use a value assessment tool that helps them understand the business impact and information that reveals the path to getting the outcomes that contribute to their definition of value.
Gartner research finds that value assessment tools are second after independent thought leadership as a preferred content type by buyers.
The classic definition of sales enablement includes the provision of content, training and coaching to help sellers increase win rates. What it fails to mention are the interactive selling tools that help reps activate the content, training, and coaching. Interactive selling includes tools such as virtual product tours, dedicated customer microsites, virtual showrooms and trade show booths, and value assessments. Interactive selling tools enhance both in-person and remote sales conversations.
When evaluating interactive selling tools, ensure they work within the Sales Hub you’re considering so that they can be grouped with supporting content and training resources. A value assessment should also be customizable for your specific use case—not a canned application without the flexibility to support your use case. Another helpful option is to allow the rep to make annotations during the discussion with the buyer, then press a button to package the assessment and notes up into a PDF and immediately share it with the buyer.
While there are many different types of assessments you can create, based on your business and product offerings, the following three are the most common:
An interactive assessment will capture the buyer’s inputs about the challenges identified and the potential impact each may have on the business. Not only do buyers’ inputs allow sellers to better understand buyers but show them how to provide the best value add. For example, what if knowing the combination of the inputs leads your rep to better understand how to help the buyer define their problem or their motivations for solving it? With these insights the seller is now able to make recommendations and help the buyer build the case for the product or solution that will purposefully address their needs.
Gartner research finds that buyers are more conflicted and confused than ever with the complexity of buying. There are too many choices, vendor materials are difficult to compare, and quite often they’re not confident of their business case, adjusting several times during their buying process. A needs assessment puts your sales reps in an advisory position to help buyers understand the problem and the best solution given the outcomes they seek, so they can buy.
ROI is a ratio between net profit over a period against the cost of investment. Buyers are looking for the gain they’ll receive from the investment in buying your products based on the outcomes they expect to achieve. Quite often, buyers need to forecast ROI as part of the business case they build to gain approval for the investment spend from their organization.
Examples could include the amount of earth an excavator can move over its lifetime with less cost to operate and maintain. Or, perhaps the reduced resources and improved safety of moving concrete slabs with a vacuum lifter vs. chains and cranes. ROI calculators that show a comparison between the way your buyer is doing things today and the increased return they’ll gain by using your solution can be a powerful motivator for purchase decisions.
Understanding total cost of ownership is mainly about cost savings and assessing long-term value. For industrial manufacturers selling heavy equipment, a TCO can help your buyers understand the math for the impact on their balance sheets over time. Purchase price is one thing. The cost of the equipment over time can make or break the decision between buying or leasing. This choice has gained traction given the current business climate and level of uncertainty. Being able to show both scenarios can help reps give buyers options, as well as to understand the impacts of focusing on the short term vs. the long term.
A TCO calculator also allows for the seller to help the buyer run the numbers on a variety of assumptions to understand costs under differing scenarios. With change an even bigger constant than it was in the past, this foresight can help buyers gain confidence in their decisions.
People learn by doing—both your sales reps and your buyers. Buyers and sellers, working together, use interactive content to create unique, collaborative experiences that help buyers make sense out of how best to solve their problems with your products. Value assessments invite buyers to lean into the conversation while they visualize how your products can help solve their problems. As they indicate which outcomes matter most—and why—your sales rep can instantly pivot to support their needs and share more relevant content to increase intent in your favor.
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