Trending This Week: Value Is a Difference-Maker for Customers and Sellers Alike

March 9, 2018

Sales Management Meeting Between Two Men

In a sales leader’s quest to improve revenue, win rate, and to retain top sellers, one thing above all proves to be a key difference-maker: value. And we’re not talking about the value of what you sell.

A benchmark report from the RAIN Group titled, The Value-Driving Difference: How to Grow Revenue, Improve Win Rates, and Retain Top Sellers through Value, reveals top sales performers are deeply interested in serving their customers. They also find working for a value-driven sales organization rewarding.

Sales management teams that understand these motivations, and structure their organizations accordingly, enjoy big benefits. These include an 25% higher likelihood of growing revenue and a 20% higher win rate, as shown in the chart from The RAIN Group report below:

Value Gives Sellers a Higher Purpose

Despite the evidence that customer focus and value orientation appeal to top sellers, only 16% of sales pros surveyed consider their current company a value-driving sales organization. This misalignment can have negative impacts on earnings potential, brand perception, and the continuity and stability of the sales team.

However, the issue can be minimized with clear, consistent prioritization by sales management leadership, and through the adoption of an organized and detailed sales processes.

Sales Management Re-Imagined

Some tactics used to boost sales and re-engage reps miss the mark. To make a sustainable impact, sales management must address the core issues concerning top sellers.

The best sales pros want to make their customer’s business better. They don’t see themselves as order takers, nor their sales as transactions. Top performers consider themselves as strategic business partners. They have to believe in the product or service they’re selling, and they have to believe that solution is the best fit for their customers. Top sellers look to provide value to their customers throughout the purchase journey.

The tech disruption affecting nearly every industry and sector has changed selling and sales management, too. Today’s customers are empowered to learn about products and place orders on their own. In response, sales shifted its focus to helping customers define their problems, and then coordinating a comprehensive solution.

The Tom Reilly Training company describes value orientation this way: “The salesperson’s job is not limited to chasing new business and writing deals. It includes activities like helping the buyer achieve smooth transitions, assuring customer satisfaction, and maximizing product or service performance during usage.”

Value-added salespeople are concerned with business acquisition, but that’s just the start. “They specialize in customer satisfaction, logistics support, applications, expediting, disposal, transitions, training, and more.”

Why a Value Orientation Matters to Top Sales Professionals

Sellers motivated by delivering value recognize differentiation and customer preference extend beyond their product or service alone. These sales pros immerse themselves into the customer’s market, the organization, and operations to distinguish themselves from sellers with a more transactional mindset. In this way, top sellers are better prepared to provide strategic counsel affecting multiple parts of a customer’s business, not just where the immediate need is.

Top performers find this higher calling more fulfilling on an emotional level than simple prescriptive selling. Is it a coincidence the value-oriented approach also leads to greater financial reward for sellers and their companies?

Why a Value-Driven Approach Is Important to Leadership

Sellers can’t achieve and maintain a value orientation on their own. It takes the support of sales management to design, institutionalize, and manage a framework for sellers to work from. Ninety-six percent of sellers working for value-oriented companies report that their corporate culture supports a personal motivation to succeed.

Two Ways Sales Management Can Boost Sales Rep Performance

How can sales leadership set its reps up for success? Two areas of notable importance in The RAIN Group report address how organizations look at managing priorities and establishing processes.

Priorities

The most effective sales organizations take salesforce effectiveness seriously, and see priority-setting as a key enabler. Is the focus on salesforce deployment or channel management? Is the salesforce charged with delivering on corporate strategy to grow revenue and increase profitability? Is there emphasis on the effectiveness of effort, and the quality of sales interactions?

Only one priority can hold the top position. Leadership can quash conflicting messages and confusing priorities by consistently reinforcing clear directives for all sales professionals to follow.

Processes

Mature sales process and methodologies offer sellers a unifying framework and shared values system mapped to their ideal customer’s buying process. Without these roadmaps, sellers will vary their approaches and techniques, even though a formal sales process generates more revenue.

This variance in individual approaches creates inefficiency, and can affect the quality and consistency of customer communication. When sales processes aren’t uniformly executed and managed, or don’t mirror the customer’s path to purchase, sellers can fall short of their potential.

Top performers represent tremendous assets to sales organizations. Leadership has the opportunity to impact revenue and profits in the near term as well as future growth by adopting a value-driven philosophy designed to put customers first. When customers win, the salesforce is rewarded for its commitment, and inspired to excel.

Are you interested in learning more ways to boost sales performance? Subscribe to the LinkedIn Sales Solutions blog for ideas and tips you can put to use.

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