Evaluating value selling maturity

By Christy Philips | February 7, 2023

Where is your organization on the value selling maturity scale? 87% of high-growth companies now take a value-based approach to sales. Meanwhile, Rain Group reports improving the ability to communicate value is a top priority for 70% of sales organizations. Value selling is not just the recommended way to sell. It is the only way to sell. If you aren’t value selling, you aren’t winning — period.

Why is everyone so focused on value selling in 2023? 95% of buyers now require financial justification on any significant purchase. If you are a stakeholder in a sales or customer success organization, you’ve seen this firsthand. With all the hyper-focus on value selling, companies should be winning all the time, right? For most companies, the answer is a resounding no.  

According to Forrester Consulting, only 10% of buyers report sales reps are value-focused, with most still using an ineffective sales pitch. A poor sales strategy can impact new business and drastically affect your ability to retain customers. 

So if the data proves value selling is how buyers want to buy and how high-growth companies want to sell, why is it only happening 10% of the time? Where is the disconnect?  

Value selling disconnection in an organization usually comes from two sources: 1.) the lack of evaluating your value maturity — where you are now and what can help you reach new levels of value maturity and 2.) the lack of a value enablement program that encompasses the entire buyer journey through value marketing, value selling, and value realization.

Evaluate your value selling maturity

To set a baseline for where your value selling program is today and establish organizational goals to reach value selling maturity, begin by evaluating the maturity of your value selling model. 

The Value Selling Maturity Model consists of 5 successive stages:

  1. No value-based selling model; selling based on product features/functions
  2. Spreadsheets that may be centralized or decentralized and managed by a value engineer or finance. Not scalable, difficult to manage, and typically used to calculate ROI, TCO, etc.
  3. Interactive, software-based value solution
  4. Value tied to insights/analytics to inform the business
  5. Holistic value enablement program that is integrated with critical business systems, has support and buy-in from across the organization, with world-class commercial adoption

What if my organization still hasn’t adopted a value selling approach?

Don’t panic! Congratulate yourself for recognizing that the need exists for your organization to transition away from selling based on product features and functions and start leveraging outcome-based value conversations that encompass value marketing, value selling, and value realization.

Spreadsheets abound…

Many companies have utilized spreadsheets for years to create calculations to support value conversations. Unfortunately, spreadsheets are not the most effective or efficient way to communicate your value story. Spreadsheets present many challenges, including but not limited to low adoption, the high cost of development and maintenance, the inability to scale or integrate, and a lack of control, analytics, and governance. 

Read more in our guide ‘Why spreadsheets don’t work’ here

Interactive, software-based value solutions; what should I look for?

To solve the challenges associated with using spreadsheets for value selling and enablement, transition to an interactive, software-based value solution, with SaaS-based value solutions being the most popular.  

While there are many talented people in this world who love spreadsheets and talking about ‘all things financially complex,’ the truth is that most people (especially most salespeople) would rather have bamboo shoots driven under their fingernails than participate in a complex financial modeling process that is too often the precursor to value selling discussions. 

Value Engineers are a critical resource in the value selling motion; however, even in small organizations, scaling your value engineering resources to support all sales teams can stretch them to their limit.

To ease this pain, ensure your value software platform optimally supports your company’s value selling motion. Any solution you select should include:

I have a great software-based value platform. Now what?

First, please avoid the lure of the complacency of only using your interactive, software-based value solution as an online ROI calculator. 

Does your value tool support your sales enablement activities by highlighting appropriate discovery questions by use case, persona, or industry? Can you dynamically qualify and surface challenges, products/solutions, embedded content (or URLs), and value drivers based on previous inputs or selections?  

If so, take advantage of these capabilities to surface intuitive (and robust) calculations and effectively craft the Value Journey for buyers and sellers through value marketing, value selling, or value realization. That will help you support internal stakeholders and differentiate your offerings to buyers.

Build on what you have. To get more out of your software-based value platform, use the analytics and actionable insights provided. Can you gather value tool utilization among individuals and teams, track usage by industry, persona/role, use case, etc. to identify how well your value selling motion aligns with your business goals?

What does the pinnacle of Value Selling Maturity look like?

Ready to get started? Download our free value selling checklist to boost your win rate in 6 easy steps or contact us to speak to a value expert.

Christy Philips is the Principal Business Value Consultant at Mediafly, where she is responsible for the strategy and execution of Mediafly’s value enablement program. With over a decade of experience in the tech space, her previous roles include multi-industry sales, sales leadership, client portfolio management, and program and project management. Christy attended Western Governors University and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Information Management and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.

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