From Selling to Partnering: Elevate to Value-Based Selling

September 27, 2023 | Dr. Stephen Timme

The enterprise B2B sales environment is undergoing a rapid transformation as buyers continue adapting their approach to take more control of the process. These changes are upending the typical buyer-seller relationship.

Gone are the days when B2B sales teams could succeed merely by selling their businesses’ latest technological innovations. Customers are no longer content to look at glossy brochures or watch presentations with 30 slides. Nor are they simply seeking vendors. Instead, customers want a partner they can establish a broader relationship with — someone that will bring them valuable insights. In essence, value-based selling involves working with the customer, not selling to the customer.

Value-based Selling

Value-based selling emphasizes tailoring business value to the customer and should also support the buying team member’s career aspirations. Aligning value propositions with their goals drives targeted conversations leading to a solution that specifically addresses those objectives.

The transformation from selling technology to solving problems is gaining traction. Sales leaders across industries are recognizing the need for new approaches as the enterprise buyer-seller dynamic evolves. Companies adopting this change in selling strategy have realized many benefits.

"The Benefits of Value-Based Selling." The image shows a green arrow starting at the bottom left and swooping up to the top right, growing bigger as it goes. There are four dots along the arrow that get bigger with each point. From smallest to largest they are: Increased Deal Sizes, Reduced Discounting, Improved Customer Retention, Strengthening Customer Relationships.

Tell me something I don’t know

Simply stated, all companies seek to solve issues in three broad categories to meet their enterprise objectives:

  • Driving revenue
  • Managing costs
  • Mitigating risk

But to bring credibility to your team’s sales pitch specifically and the discussion as a whole, it is imperative that they understand the client’s unique mix of challenges and objectives. Then, by building a value proposition that aligns with those priorities and relaying key insights, your salesperson can set the stage for deeper conversations on solving the client’s problems.

A pie chart shows 25% in green. "FinListics Research: According to a FinListics survey, only 25% of companies are focused on solving customers' problems."

Value-based selling turns old selling practices upside down — instead of your sales team selling to the customer, they begin working with them to address their priorities. However, this approach demands that your team does the research and listening necessary to provide insights and solutions to help prospects meet their goals.

"Connecting to a Customer Problem" from FinListics webinar, Stop Selling Technology, Start Solving Customer Problems

Stop Boasting and Start Collaborating

For value-based selling to take hold, your sales organization needs to move beyond boasting about the greatness of your technology and work collaboratively with the customer on their priorities. Your team must evolve from extolling your technical superiority to focusing on maximizing the technology’s value to the prospect’s organization.

"If you don't know what I am up to, it is going to be a very short meeting." - Steve Clancy, CIO of Georgia-Pacific

As mentioned earlier, the critical initial step is preparation and research by your revenue organization to develop deep insights into their business. With sales intelligence tools, companies can have a partner to help them expediently do their homework on the prospect. Preparing and being more informed than your competition about a prospect’s business nearly always gets an executive’s attention. Additionally, by tapping into this data, your sales group will have a better grasp of the client’s situation and how to tailor the solution to their needs.

This research should encompass a myriad of sources. Excellent material is readily available in public companies’ annual reports, 10Ks, proxy statements, and more. In addition to gaining an inside look at their goals, challenges, and successes, your team can become familiar with the prospect’s language.

Understanding Executive Compensation Drivers

Within that listing of underutilized documents, proxy statements harbor valuable, but seldom tapped, information. They offer a wealth of information about a company's executive compensation, which can reveal its strategic priorities and financial health.A pie chart shows a wedge with 10% in green. "FinListics Research: Based on FinListics studies, only 10% of sales teams understand customers' executive compensation drivers."

In addition, proxy statements can help your sales group dive deeper into their business environment and better understand what is driving their leaders. Furthermore, they can utilize this information to structure conversations ranging from generating business value for the company to helping members of the leadership team meet their personal objectives.

"Leveraging Executive Compensation" from FinListics webinar, Stop Selling Technology, Start Solving Customer Problems

Recast Your Revenue Organization

Value-based selling is helping to reshape the enterprise sales landscape by generating deeper, more meaningful connections between sellers and prospects. By embracing insights from data analytics and building a collaborative sales ecosystem, your company can transform its approach to sales conversations and build longer-lasting client relationships.

Transitioning to value-based selling is not just a strategy statement but requires a mindset shift by your sales teams. Ultimately, if your team listens and engages in educated conversations on the prospect’s top challenges and deftly aligns your solution’s value proposition, your company will deliver the business outcomes to make the customer successful.

FinListics: Your Partner in Value-based Selling

To learn more about value-based selling, please watch our recent webinar, Stop Selling Technology, Start Solving Customer Problems,” with Dr. Stephen Timme, President & Founder of FinListics Solutions, and MJ Sait, Director of Value Engineering at Snowflake.

FinListics offers a range of tools to help enterprise B2B sales teams compile and analyze information on a prospect's financial and operational performance, goals, and challenges. Empowered with this information, your team can access proprietary insights, apply the language of leaders to elevate executive conversations, and build credibility with buyers.

To talk with one of our experts and receive a free demo, please contact us today.

Posted in Selling Strategies, Webinar, Sales Training