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Written by David DiMillo

Here is a newsflash. Your company’s products are not valuable. The features and functions within your products are not valuable either. I have said this many times to our sales reps and product managers and usually get a puzzled look in response.

Don’t Leave Your Value up to Someone Else’s Interpretation: 

In the business world, value is often best described not as what products you offer, but the impact your products and services have on your customer’s business. Think of the countless product briefs you have seen that talk about value and yet list product benefits and features. To get a sense of the value you are providing to your customers, take a look at the net effect your products and services have had on your customer since implementation.
Focus on that effect. In most cases, your customer wants the benefits and values that your product adds, not the product itself. Customers would likely be perfectly happy if they could get that same impact without having to buy or use your specific product.

These questions are crucial to answer in order to put a number on their perceived value. In my experience selling complex solutions to large organizations, our customers almost always welcome the discussions around how they can achieve and measure business value if they were to adopt a solution like ours. In our view, we could implement the slickest end-to-end system imaginable but if that system doesn’t result in revenue growth or an increase in customer satisfaction, we haven’t done much for our client. Our value isn’t the system we provide, it is the impact on our customers’ bottom line.

Use Objective Metrics to Evaluate Success:

The measurement of your value to your customer could be a straight forward proposition but it rarely is. Usually, your value is measured by a combination of objective and subjective metrics that are important to your customer’s business in various ways. Subjectivity in the measurement of business value can be an especially tricky proposition as it is open to interpretation by your audience. Improvement in customer experience is a good example of an added value that can be tricky to objectively measure, especially if the company does not have a metric like a Net Promoter Score (NPS) or an effective system of customer feedback surveys in place.

As a sales person, the ideal situation is one where we can agree with our customer on objective value metrics before the contract is signed. Our customer’s objectives, and thus, our marching orders, become crystal clear when we know the metrics our customer will use to evaluate success. This adds clarity to pricing discussions, as all players are on the same page in terms of what the customer is actually trying to achieve. When you introduce objective metrics in a sale, you leave fewer things open to interpretation and the typical game of pricing becomes less confrontational.

Take the Guess-Work Out of Upsells and Renewals: 

Here are some things to consider as a software provider:

  • How are you passing on to your customers a certainty that you’re able to provide them value?
  • Which functions and features within your software programs are your customers actually using and which are not being used?
  • How frequently, and for how long, do your customers typically use your software applications?

These questions are crucial to answer in order to put a number on their perceived value.

Just think about the advantage your sales reps would have if they knew the answers to these questions when approaching the customer in their renewal and upsell conversations.

As a software provider, you will be in a powerful position if you work with your customers to agree on the value your software provides, as well as the metrics that you will use to measure value. And ultimately, your sales teams will have an advantage if they are able to introduce real, objective usage data into their sales conversations.

Our company provides solutions that help businesses license, deliver and protect their software. Our value isn’t our solution and all the whiz-bang features our customers get with our products. Our value is the increase in revenue and end-user satisfaction that our clients enjoy after properly applying our products. That’s what you should be selling.  That’s value.

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