Sell value! Across the B2B landscape, this is the age-old mantra of CSOs to their troops. Reps are told to stop competing on price and product, and start competing by demonstrating the value their offerings bring to a client’s business. Based on the daily discussions we have with clients, this is easier said than done.

One of the key challenges in a value-centric sales approach is quantifying value for a buyer. Today’s more informed buyers expect more than just hearing that you can save them money – they want to know specifically how much. Some sales organizations have tried to tackle this challenge by providing reps with homegrown return on investment/total cost of ownership (ROI/TCO) calculators, typically built-in spreadsheets. The problem is that these solutions tend to calculate value only in dollars and cents.

Value actualization (VA) tools represent a new category of offerings. SiriusDecisions has identified vendors such as Alinean, LeveragePoint and VisualizeROI that currently deliver VA tools, offering a number of unique advantages over homegrown solutions:

  • Beyond just calculating a dollar amount, VA tools allow a rep to quantify value in units that will resonate with a specific buying persona. Let’s say I’m selling Web-conferencing software, which saves money (e.g. travel, space rental) by replacing live events with virtual ones. If I’m selling to a CMO, I may calculate and demonstrate a lower cost per lead when running virtual marketing events vs. live. If I’m selling to the CSO, I may calculate the reduction in their cost of sales by helping cut down on travel costs incurred by their reps.
  • Because VA tools are software-as-a-service (SaaS) based, version updates across your sales force happen automatically. You also have the ability to capture key data as reps use the tools to identify and spot trends.
  • VA tools can be used throughout the buying and selling process – from creating demand or helping buyers justify a purchasing decision to retention by quantifying the actual value your solutions have delivered for your customers.

It has been said that to do the job right, you need the proper tool. By helping reps to quantify value, VA tools may be exactly what’s needed to get the value-selling job done.