Winning Big with Value Selling

By Mediafly | April 11, 2024

For decades, organizations have relied on highlighting product features and functionalities to drive sales. But as buyer expectations evolve, competition intensifies, and purse strings tighten, this approach is proving to be increasingly inadequate. Your customers are looking for solutions to their specific challenges and opportunities that bring tangible business value.

This paradigm shift has led to the rise of value selling — an approach that directly ties solutions to a buyer’s unique needs. Companies all over the world have begun adopting this methodology. According to the State of Revenue Enablement, high-performing organizations have a 38% higher tendency to incorporate business value assessments into their sales cycle.

We got down to the brass tacks of value selling with the combined expertise of Dan Sixsmith, SVP of Value at Mediafly, and Doug May, SVP of Productivity at Harness. The two dissected the principles and practices of value programs, providing actionable strategies and real-world examples.

Check out the conversation for yourself below, or keep reading for key takeaways.

A Level Set on Value Selling

Value selling has become a buzzword especially in B2B sales, so it’s worthwhile to do a quick level set and answer the question, “what is value selling?” As a seasoned value leader, Doug boiled it down to three key principles:

  1. Focusing on customers’ business challenges. Value selling shifts the narrative away from product-centric to customer-centric approaches. 
  2. Quantifying the impact of missed opportunities. Value selling clearly articulates the potential value of proposed solutions through tangible metrics and quantifies what buyers stand to lose if they don’t change.
  3. Socializing the overall proposition. Value selling garners buy-in from the jump, working with buyers to get data inputs. 

The benefit? It becomes easy for buyers to say yes. Providing a business case and justification from the outset, value selling removes roadblocks and detours from the sales process. As the economy drives greater budgetary scrutiny and changes in buying dynamics, a value approach becomes imperative.

Doug said, “When you have a project that’s aligned to the top priority of an organization, it doesn’t matter what economic forces are there…they have to do it.”

Value: The Ultimate Strategic Advantage

Value selling instills a powerful set of skills into sellers that creates a strategic advantage. It encourages them to research potential customers before any interaction and ask more probing questions during the discovery phase. 

This proactive approach lays the groundwork for success by uncovering the true cause of customer challenges. Armed with this knowledge, sales teams can effectively address objections, significantly increasing their likelihood of closing deals. 

In the webinar, Doug highlighted the impact that value selling has had in his previous roles. With a value selling approach in place, his former team at Databricks increased their win rate 5X. And at Splunk, sales cycles were nearly halved, and deals doubled in size. 

Additionally, value selling elevates reps beyond transactional interactions, positioning them instead as trusted advisors and extensions of the customer’s buying team. Reps translate technical jargon into tangible business benefits, fostering stronger relationships and building credibility with prospects. 

This credibility extends past the immediate buying team too, opening doors to strategic conversations with key decision makers like executives and board members. That established level of trust and collaboration increases the likelihood for success when a seller identifies additional capabilities that align with the buyer’s objectives and helps facilitate upselling opportunities. 

Ultimately, value selling drives tangible business growth by articulating why a particular solution will help them achieve strategic business outcomes.

The Secrets to Scaling Your Value Program

Despite the clear impact, organizations still struggle to grow their value programs. Common barriers include:

Here’s what we learned from Doug from his experience successfully scaling value selling programs.

Embed Value in Your Sales Process

Value selling isn’t a single event or box to check; it is a fundamental shift that is embedded in every stage across the sales cycle. And to do that, sales reps must be equipped with critical business acumen and curiosity.

Before even engaging with a buyer, sellers should look into the intricacies of the buyer’s operations. This foundational knowledge sets the stage for more meaningful interactions and allows reps to tailor their approach to align with the buyer’s specific circumstances.

“The one thing that sellers don’t spend as much time on is researching the business. ‘How do they make money? What trajectory is the company on? What’s their financial position? What are their top initiatives?’ Really great enablement programs are teaching sellers how to do this themselves.”

Doug May

During the discovery phase, sellers should focus on uncovering the root challenges customers are facing — digging deeper by asking questions when the buyer is most receptive. By asking for metrics upfront, sales reps can provide value from the outset, even before presenting a demo or POC. This proactive approach doesn’t just demonstrate the seller’s commitment to understanding customer needs, but also facilitates a collaborative and value-driven sales process.

Implement The Right Tools

Oftentimes organizations who recognize the value of a value selling program (no pun intended) will invest in engineers or business case specialists to help calculate and quantify value. But reality is those folks can only sit on so many calls and support so many deals. They often try to arm sellers to do these same calculations with spreadsheet-based ROI tools. But spreadsheets are clunky and intimidating — increasing the likelihood of error and resulting in low seller adoption. (Want to learn more about how spreadsheets can undermine your value selling strategy? Check out our ebook here.) 

Instead, turn every seller into a value seller by empowering them with an easy-to-use platform that automates and simplifies ROI calculations. They can take the information gathered during discovery, enter it into the tool, and generate a professional output. Integrating these into the normal sales workflow facilitates adoption and removes the burden of additional steps or complexity.  

“When you start to talk about scale, when you do it right and you make it simple, and it’s embedded in your selling process when you provide the tool and they [sellers] see the output, and they see the customer’s reaction on the other side — you’ve got that seller adoption taken care of.”

Doug May

Secure Buy-In

Value selling is a team sport and can only achieve its full potential with executive buy-in and consistent leadership support to drive organizational alignment. Encourage other members of the go-to-market organization to consider ways they can add value to the customer’s journey. Capture the impact of your efforts from the very beginning, including win rates when value tools are used versus when they’re not. Demonstrating that sellers are using the value tool on their own and achieving a high level of success makes it difficult for the C-suite to ignore or push back. In fact, this visibility can bolster the case for continued investment in the program. 

Embrace the Value Selling Transformation

Value selling isn’t just a passing trend; it’s a positive force for more meaningful engagement with your prospects and customers. 

Whether you’re just starting your value selling journey or looking for solutions to scale your success, we’re here to help. Learn more about value selling or schedule a demo to learn more about our flexible, seller-friendly value selling tools


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