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7 Reasons Not to Value Sell with Spreadsheets

By Tom Pisello| January 15, 2019

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Value selling is a sales technique used by sellers to convey the value or economic impact their product or service brings in the context of the buyer’s business. Read on for 7 Reasons Not to Value Sell with Spreadsheets from subject matter expert and Mediafly’s Chief Evangelist, Tom Pisello.

Today’s digitally-savvy, economic-focused buyers require a different kind of sales interaction. While static PowerPoint presentations touting product capabilities won’t work, value selling will.

What is value selling?
Value selling is a sales technique used by sellers to convey the value or economic impact their product or service brings in the context of the buyer’s business. For instance, a salesperson can explain that utilizing his or her product will increase the buyer’s profitability by X using benchmarks, real-time data, and insights from third-party providers to back up the claim.


This type of selling is successful for a number of reasons:

  1. It demonstrates that the seller understands the buyer, their goals and challenges. This builds credibility and trust.
  2. Supplying hard data and factual evidence for why the buyer should purchase makes it easier for them to take the challenge or business case up the chain to higher-level stakeholders. This keeps the sales conversation moving in the right direction.
  3. Today’s buyers find it difficult to differentiate between similar products and services. Value selling helps sellers set themselves apart from their competitors by facilitating a more prescriptive and impactful sales interaction.

How do I begin value selling?
Many organizations like yours have developed spreadsheet-based ROI/TCO tools to help financially justify solutions to frugal buyers. These spreadsheets are often developed out of necessity by field subject matter experts and then distributed to value/sales specialists, sales reps, and channel partners for use in sales interactions.

While spreadsheet-based ROI/TCO tools meet the need to help sellers deliver formal business case justification to financially-focused buyers, they may not be the most ideal platform to support and advance your value marketing and selling efforts.


Here’s why:

DevIcon-2-750x7501. Development and maintenance are costly
Do you really want your precious and expensive value experts wasting time developing and maintaining spreadsheets? Or would their time and efforts be better spent not developing macros just to make Excel do what you need it to do?

AdoptionIcon-2-750x7502. Low adoption
ROI and TCO spreadsheets don’t exactly scream ease-of-use. While you may see great success from SMEs using these tools, you’re also likely to see constrained adoption among sales reps and partners who didn’t have a hand in development.

VersionIcon-2-750x7503. Version control and security challenges
These spreadsheets will inevitably be shared. Where will your IP end up? With competitors, who can easily crack Excel password encoding?

VisibilityIcon-2-750x7504. Lack of visibility
Spreadsheets offer zero visibility into who is using, or more importantly, not using your tool. This makes it difficult to understand how it is being used and if it is driving the results you need. Without analytics, how will you identify opportunities to optimize your tool moving forward?

IntegrationIcon-2-750x7505. No integration with MAP or CRM
When customers download and use your spreadsheet tools, you’re unable to capture key customer intelligence or a copy of the report. These insights are necessary for sellers to properly nurture and follow-up with customers. The inability to integrate spreadsheets with your CRM system also prevents you from streamlining access to data, enabling collaboration, and proving business outcomes.

MobileIcon-2-750x7506. No mobile enablement
Not all sales conversations happen in a boardroom. Spreadsheets aren’t pretty to begin with. Pull them up on a mobile device or tablet, and you’re sure to incite more frustration than anything else.

ValidationIcon-2-750x7507. No validation
Will your customers trust your in-house developed spreadsheets without third-party validation and toolkit? Probably not. Having a reputable third-party provide the research to back your value selling stories can go a long way in establishing credibility and trust with potential buyers.

A more successful approach to value selling incorporates interactive sales tools like ROI or TCO calculators that have been integrated with other key components of your sales technology ecosystem including a sales enablement platform, CRM, and MAP. This ensures a seamless sales cadence where sellers access calculators or assessments alongside all of their other sales assets and marketing content in real-time, can pivot to discuss value effortlessly within their existing sales presentations, and easily track and measure the success of their value-selling stories. These tools are much easier to use, resulting in higher adoption rates and more sales reps in your organization selling based on value than ever before.

If you’ve already developed a value selling tool within Excel, fear not. Your spreadsheets can be imported into a more efficient and effective tool format and optimized for success with little effort from your team.

Interested in learning more about how you can advance your value marketing and selling programs? Contact us to schedule a Reimagine Interactive Content workshop with Mediafly’s Advisory Services team where we will analyze and convert one of your existing spreadsheets into an interactive tool.

You can also register for our upcoming webinar ‘How to Convert Your Boring White Papers into Interactive Tools for More Qualified Leads.’

Tom “The ROI Guy” Pisello is an entrepreneur, speaker, and author of the upcoming book Evolved Selling™: Optimizing Sales Enablement in the Age of FRUGALNOMICS. He joined the Mediafly team in 2018 through the acquisition of the company he founded and led, Alinean Inc. In his role as Mediafly’s Chief Evangelist, Tom is responsible for developing new practices for sellers and marketers to communicate and quantify business value to increasingly frugal buyers. He also leads Mediafly’s Advisory Services group in helping companies evolve their selling practices from transactional to value-led. Outside of the office, he is the proud father of two daughters.

About Mediafly

Mediafly is a mobile sales enablement solution that enhances how brands engage prospective buyers. By using Mediafly’s technology, marketing and sales teams at companies including PepsiCo, Disney, GE Healthcare, MillerCoors and Charles Schwab, are able to deliver custom, dynamic sales presentations quickly and efficiently, engaging customers with insights that are relevant to them. Mediafly’s Evolved Selling™ solution enables sellers to be more flexible, insightful and interactive in their sales interactions, resulting in increased sales and stronger customer relationships. Mediafly has been named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies for five years consecutively in addition to being named Inc.’s Best Places to Work of 2017 and 2018. Visit or follow @Mediafly for more information.

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