4 Signs You Need Better Value Selling Tools

By Mediafly | January 25, 2024

It’s no secret that the past 2 years have been difficult for most businesses. With economic uncertainty comes stricter budgets, and customers will find any excuse not to spend money, even when the investment could benefit them or their organization. The onus has now fallen on sellers to articulate the value of their product in a way that clearly demonstrates how the buyer will obtain, experience, and hold onto that value.

It only makes sense that, as a result of this shift, we’ve seen a notable increase in the prevalence of value selling tools and methodologies. After all, the sellers who can prove the value of their solutions are more likely to be the ones to cinch the deal.

However, many organizations have come to rely on spreadsheet tools to augment their value selling capabilities. While spreadsheets are great to get your selling strategy off the ground, they can limit your ability to scale and support your team’s methodology in the long term. Here are 4 signs it’s time to invest in more robust value tools that better enable your sales team to lead with value and win over even the harshest critics.

#1: You’re Sinking Too Much Time Into Spreadsheet Development and Maintenance

We all love our ROI spreadsheets. They’re extremely powerful tools that enable us to evaluate business practices and understand what’s working and what isn’t. Unfortunately, spreadsheets are never really one-and-done. The reality is that the value engineers and SMEs who build and maintain these tools wind up sucked into an endless cycle of updates and repairs.

Consider how much time your team devoted to creating the tool in the first place. Now, think about the extra hours spent on maintenance and support as more folks gain access to the spreadsheet … and inevitably break it. Even if you only spend a small portion of your day fixing the spreadsheet, that time adds up, and it’s time that could be better spent out in the field, with customers, or supporting sales reps trying to close deals.

So often, we create these spreadsheets with the hope that they will be able to support everyone. But in reality, that support comes from the 1 or 2 value engineers tasked with maintaining the tool and keeping it functional for everyone else when they should be working on other priorities. If you see your team consistently falling into this trap, you might be ready for some new value tools.

#2: Sellers Have Stopped Using Your Spreadsheet

Have you ever opened a spreadsheet and immediately wanted to close it again? We’re willing to bet that most people have had that experience at least once (or maybe daily) when greeted by a daunting maze of rows and columns.

Let’s face it. There are very few people in the world who wake up looking forward to the moment they can dive into a spreadsheet. In fact, most employees on your team probably dread searching through a massive Excel document to find what they need.

ROI and value tools must be created with their end users in mind – in this case, that’s your sellers and even buyers. If users aren’t using them, then the tools aren’t actually bringing any value to the business. For your sellers, channel partners, and buyers, the experience of interacting with value tools should be both easy and engaging, and rows and columns just won’t cut it anymore.

It’s not surprising that clunky, tedious tools like spreadsheets have low adoption rates. Typically, the adoption rates for spreadsheet-based tools are abysmal, falling into the single digit range (3-5%). If you’re seeing low adoption of your ROI spreadsheets, it’s time to consider a more user-friendly value tool to support your sellers as they craft value stories. 

#3: You Struggle with Version Control and Security Scares

As with most sales content, ROI spreadsheets need to be updated over time to reflect new calculations. And with each new version you release comes the inevitable and sometimes impossible task of convincing your buyers, sellers, and channel partners to not only download, but also start using that new version in place of the old one. 

Human beings are creatures of habit, and most people will resist even the simplest changes, especially if it requires them to exert extra effort. How many times have you put off updating your phone to the latest operating system because you just didn’t feel like doing it? The same concept applies to updating spreadsheets, only the stakes are much higher, as lack of proper version control could lead to miscommunication, mistakes, and delays.

Plus, an even bigger concern is how you protect your spreadsheet from falling into the wrong hands. You can password protect it, of course, but one email forwarded to the wrong place could spell disaster. If you’re struggling with version control or have security concerns around your value spreadsheets, it’s time to consider more robust tools. 

#4: You Have No Idea How Your Spreadsheet is Being Used

Here, we have a dual-sided problem. ROI spreadsheets fail to provide information about how the parties on both sides of the sales process (buyers and sellers) are engaging with your value program.

Buyers input important data into these tools that can be used by sellers to adapt and personalize their sales methodologies in a way that better meets the needs of the individual customer. Sellers, on the other hand, introduce the tools during the sales cycle, and you need to be able to track the “Who? When? And how?” of that process to hold them accountable.

In both these cases, traditional spreadsheets simply don’t provide access to the critical information that would improve your value selling strategy. You’re more likely to be left in the dark wondering who is using your tools and how effective your sellers truly are.

Don’t Let a Spreadsheet Undermine Your Value Selling Strategy

If you’re experiencing any of these pains, it’s time to invest in more robust value selling tools. Value selling isn’t going away anytime soon. It’s an effective practice in any economic climate, and, with the economic outlook for 2024 remaining relatively flat, it’s going to continue to be key to winning deals and growing revenue in the year ahead. 

Businesses will have to lean into this strategy and embrace it to remain successful, so it’s important to equip your team with flexible tools that empower employees to sell the value of your product instead of just its features.

If you suspect spreadsheets might be undermining your value selling strategy, learn more about upgrading your tech stack in our latest eBook or talk to a value expert today.


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