Steve Kayser: The biggest struggle for a lot of sales people and sales organizations is finding ways to quantify and sell value. Mainly because they have to have the facts in their hands from the prospective customer about the cost and implications of the problem they are trying to solve. A lot of the customers are not willing to give them the information they need.
What are some effective tactics to quantify value from a sales perspective?
Dave Stein: The first thing is salespeople have to be business people – think like business people – not salespeople. You have to clearly and compellingly explain how your product or service will impact their business. The next question is how do you put that in financial terms?
This is a little bit like the chicken and the egg.
The reason why is many companies will not share with you their internals about how an inventory department is running or a logistics organization or a marketing organization or whomever you’re selling into. They will not do that certainly early on.
If you have not sold and installed and implemented your product or service in other companies, if this is the first company your firm has ever gone to, you don’t have anything to fall back upon and use as a proof statement. But assuming that you’re not new at this, most organizations can go back to existing customers and kind of benchmark in reverse a retroactive or retrograde benchmark.
“Can we get some idea of where you guys were before we arrived at the scene? Let’s take a look at where you are now. Let’s measure the improvement in X different functional areas and put some numerical dollar, hopefully, but if not, relative percent value on that. By the way, can I use your company’s name and your name, Mr. or Ms. CFO in my marketing efforts?”
Now, it may be one out of ten companies that will let you do that, maybe three out of ten, maybe four out of ten. We’ve been very luck at ESR. Most everybody we’ve ever done a project for is by all means willing to share that information.
So what we do now is benchmarked our performance within different industries. If I’m selling into different industries, if I’m selling into transportation, technology, professional services, and medical equipment, then for each of those industries, I can either spout of verbally in a very clear, concise, and compelling way or document in writing the kind of improvement that my customers have enjoyed with the use or implementation of my product, and I use that.
If I say…
“Steve Kayser from Cincom Systems used my product for five years. When he first used it, he was able to achieve this and that, but after using it for five years, he’s at this new level. You can talk to Steve if you would like to, and once you’ve done that, I would like to sit down with you and talk about the potential improvement your organization may get from my product or service,”
… that’s the way that this quantified business sale is modeled.
It takes gathering that information and having that at your fingertips in your back pocket. That often opens up the doors to allow your customer to share information with you.
Excerpted from the Expert Access Radio interview with Dave Stein, CEO and Founder of ES Research Group.