Why your reps don't have good value conversations and how to fix it

George Brontén

Everybody knows that value conversations are important to sales success, but remarkably few sales teams consistently execute on the concept. It can be frustrating to teach reps the importance of value-based selling, to enroll them in training, and to watch them continue to try to sell features or have generic sales conversations that go nowhere.

But don’t blame your reps–it’s probably not their fault. If you’re frustrated at the lack of effective value-based conversations happening in your sales process, your problem may not be the reps, individually, but rather the way the team is structured, and the tools you’re giving them.

I’ve been working with a large enterprise company that has been experiencing exactly this problem, and has found a structural solution that increased sales on their pilot team by 25 % in 12 months. Here’s what they did.

They established a Tiger Team

Tiger Teams were invented by NASA to solve technical and systemic problems. The name reflects the agility and strength of a wild tiger in its native environment. The idea is that you bring a diversified group of experts together to combine their strength and diverse skills to address a problem or resolve a challenging situation.

Use a tiger team and the right technology to introduce value-based selling to your salespeople.
George Brontén

In sales, tiger teams can be formed to serve particular high value prospects and customers on a temporary or long-term basis; or they can be formed permanently to solve specific recurring problems.

In this case, solving the problem of conducting deeper value-based conversations started with understanding that different salespeople bring different skills, abilities, and strengths to the conversation. In other words, leadership realized that not all of their salespeople were good at the same things.

Their tiger team structure consists of the frontline sales person, and a team of senior sales reps. The sales person is responsible for prospecting, qualifying, and nurturing leads to the point where a value-based business discussion makes sense, and senior reps who help out with the more in-depth value discussions. The sales person also manages the administrative aspects of the process.

In this tiger team model, the salesperson is well skilled in having early-stage value conversations that lead seamlessly to the deeper value conversations that the tiger team’s senior reps take on as each lead reaches the appropriate point in the process. Over time, the frontline sales person is learning the new terminology and tools needed to have these conversations by themselves.

They provide their teams with tools to support value-based conversations

In addition to structuring their teams to better utilize each salesperson’s skills and strengths, the manufacturer implemented technology that substantially supports and reinforces the sales process, helps each participant continually improve their skills, and makes the hand-off between team members completely seamless from the customer’s point of view.

They use Membrain in place of a CRM as their core sales platform. Membrain allows everyone on the team to see at a glance what’s in the pipeline, what conversations have already been had with each stakeholder, and all of the relevant information, all in a standardized format. This makes handoffs fast, painless, and effective, and enables better value conversations based on information captured through a well-designed sales playbook.

How visualization tools are driving even better value conversations

We recently added a powerful new value visualization solution to our partnership portfolio, and sales teams are using it to drive even more powerful value conversations from start to finish of the sales process. DecisionLink uses a combination of data from the Internet, proprietary data, and data collected by SDRs and sales reps, to analyze the financial value of a proposed solution for a specific client, and produce beautiful visualizations to demonstrate that value. All within minutes.

This has multiple benefits for reps using the system:

  • Prospects become more engaged co-creating the value
  • Prospects readily provide access to more information
  • Prospects engage in more frequent conversations
  • Prospects bring in more stakeholders earlier
  • Prospects better understand and buy in to the value proposition

Prospects become more engaged when co-creating value

DecisionLink’s value visualizations provide salespeople with a tool to quickly help prospects see the potential value of the solution, showing them how much they might save and make if they implement it. Intrigued by early visualizations, prospects often request that the value analysis be fine-tuned based on additional information, which gets them more engaged in the process. Engaging prospects to co-create the value proposition is extremely powerful as it helps shape a more interesting discussion, as the solution will need to align with the creation of the value.

Prospects readily provide access to more information

Once engaged in the process of co-creating value visualizations, prospects will often volunteer information that salespeople might otherwise struggle to obtain. For instance, a prospect considering the purchase of new vehicles might want to know more about how much money the seller can save them over a certain timespan. To do that, they may need information about what they’re currently spending on tires and other maintenance details. Because they’re engaged in the process and eager to see the updated visuals, they may call their suppliers to get those numbers and then share them with your sales rep, providing deeper insight that assists the sales team in making the sale.

Prospects engage in more frequent conversations

The process of fine-tuning an objective value visualization often requires salespeople and their prospects to collaborate regularly. Because prospects find the process engaging and valuable, they are more likely to request more frequent conversations, increasing trust and enabling salespeople to move the deal faster and more effectively.

Prospects bring in more stakeholders earlier

One challenge many salespeople face is getting all of the stakeholders to the table. With DecisionLink’s beautiful and in-depth value analysis, prospects are often eager to share the resulting data and findings with other influencers and decision makers on their team, and to get their input in the process. This provides salespeople with outstanding access with less effort.

Prospects better understand and buy in to the value proposition

Naturally, prospects who are deeply engaged in the process of defining and quantifying the value proposition will understand it and be more inclined to believe in it. Often, the process of fine-tuning the value visualizations is the deciding factor in the buying decision.

I would love to show you how DecisionLink combined with Membrain can help your sales team have better and more frequent value-based conversations. In fact, I’d love to provide you with a customized DecisionLink visualization showing just how much your team has to gain from using our tools combined. Reach out for your customized value visualization today.


George Brontén
Published July 11, 2018, written by

George Brontén

George is the founder & CEO of Membrain, the Sales Enablement CRM that makes it easy to execute your sales strategy. A life-long entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the software space and a passion for sales and marketing. With the life motto "Don't settle for mainstream", he is always looking for new ways to achieve improved business results using innovative software, skills and processes.

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