Value Selling – Why and How

Value Selling – Why and How

(from a LinkedIn Pulse by Jim Berryhill)

This is Part 1, the “Why” or “Justification” for Value Selling. I’ll talk about the “How” next week.

But come on!!! Really??? Value Selling needs to be justified??? Apparently so, because sellers don’t do it, at least not from buyer perspectives.

And let’s be real, their perspective is the only one that matters.

Everything needs to be justified, but Value Selling (or whatever you’d like to call it) is not only justifiable, it is essential to high performance. Can we live without it? Sure we can; we do so every day. Depending on the survey, buyers say we live without it between 80% and 93% of the time. And buyers don’t like it! And they don’t buy from us because of it!

But let’s back up a second. Is it reasonable to assert that high-performance selling means being aligned to a customer’s or prospect’s business and the value the seller can bring to that business? Absolutely, and doing so necessitates understanding and articulating the business case a seller brings to the table for the customer/prospect. Indeed, doing so:

  • is what executive buyers and decision-makers want,
  • is rarely done by sellers,
  • is a big reason for sub-optimal performance by selling organizations, and
  • will yield tremendous returns when actually done!

Promoting your business case should be the centerpiece of selling conversations. With the exception of the project delivery plan, it is perhaps the most important component of a sales engagement. Yet it is rarely available in early selling conversations and only occasionally delivered at the end of a sales cycle for anything other than the largest deals B2B sellers pursue. Dispute this if you want but research and statistics overwhelmingly support this:

  • Forrester – B2B buyers say 80% of sellers have “what we sell” perspective, 7% have good buyer perspective, 13% are trying.
  • Corporate Visions (Survey of Sales and Marketing Executives) – The ability to have customer specific conversations versus product conversations is the #1 challenge according to survey of top Sales andMarketing executives. (Corporate Visions noted that CSOs and CMOs rarely agree on anything.)
  • CSO Insights (2015 Sales Performance Optimization Study) – Companies lose over 53% of the deals their sales organizations forecast to close, in large part due to lack of customer alignment and articulation of value.
  • IDC (Customer Experience Surveys) – A wealth of buyer survey stats:
    • 60% of buyers rank Business and Financial Assessment as top importance for buying decisions
    • 90% of corporations require quantified benefits for projects
    • 65% of buyers indicate they do not have the knowledge or tools to do business value assessments
    • 80% of buyers desire vendors to quantify the business value of proposed solutions

Most of those are negative statistics, but the positives of doing so are plentiful, and enormous in impact. For instance Matt Dixon of CEB (author of The Challenger Sale) says buyers are 26% more likely to buy from sellers who communicate value messages that are personalized to the buyer and their business.

Needless to say, the justification is enormous and execution is spotty at best. In our businesses we should give this a tremendous amount of attention. If Value Selling makes so much sense, why don’t we, and how do we?

I’ll treat the how in next week’s post. For now, to get some great, immediate insights into new ways that leading technology vendors and buyers up their value selling game via powerful business cases, register now for the world’s first VSR Value Summit on 29-Feb/1-Mar in Dallas. You’ll meet over 100 practitioners, hear 22 top speakers and be a part of thousands of conversations. The Summit is produced by the Value Selling & Realization (VSR) Council, which you can also join at

I’ll be at the Value Summit. Hope to see you there!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Jim Berryhill is Co-Founder and CEO of DecisionLink Corporation. Jim has extensive experience in sales and executive management, in roles from individual contributor to leading sales organizations with several hundred sales professionals and $1 billion in revenue.

One of a handful of sales executives who has carried a quota for 125 quarters for publicly traded companies in the tech industry, he is an ardent believer in customer aligned value selling. Jim founded DecisionLink to bring automation and systemic support to what should be a core business function for all B2B organizations.

“Every deal we work on is associated with a customer project that has a business case. We should not expect high performance in our sales organizations if we as sellers don’t understand that business case, and the economic value of our solutions.” 

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The Value Selling & Realization (VSR) Council is an organization made up of forward-thinking Sales and Corporate executives that operates with a central mission: Maximize value from investments in IT-enabled change by establishing and promoting value management awareness and understanding, standards, practices, and tools that enable technology vendors and enterprise corporate executives to collaborate in developing and executing a “roadmap to value”.

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