As most sophisticated selling organizations know: A value proposition is an essential sales enablement tool. At its simplest, this is your messaging for why a buyer needs a solution and why they should choose your solution over the competition.
Yet, not all value propositions are created equal. And not all salespeople stick to the carefully prepared message strategy either. In a recent survey of 330 sales and marketing leaders, in fact, 70% said their salespeople tended to stray off-message during buyer conversations.
Moreover, a private equity firm Mereo supports surveyed the CEOs, Heads of Sales and Heads of Marketing across their portfolio companies about the top challenges they are battling in their go-to-market efforts. They discovered their portfolio companies struggled most with value proposition and value selling skills (tied for first at 52% of respondents). In a session with the leaders, it was clear these two are inextricably linked and often have downstream impacts in Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) and Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) through time to revenue positive for new hire onboarding, pricing power, competitive win-rates and more.
At Mereo, we excel at not only crafting differentiated value propositions that work — but also helping leadership train and enable their sales teams to apply this essential tool across all the value conversations of a buying journey. We have supported private equity investment firm Accel-KKR with this. We have done the same for SaaS organization Castellan — and also cloud-based ERP software provider Nextworld, among many others. Their outcomes have been substantial. So could your selling organization’s gains. How do we do it? Here is a peek behind the playbook cover.
THE MEREO DIFFERENTIATED VALUE PROPOSITION FORMULA
The story a value proposition builds distinguishes world-class sellers from the rest. CSO Insights found that 93% of world-class selling organizations indicated they clearly understand their buyer’s issues before proposing a solution — compared to just 48% of all organizations. Salespeople cannot just dive into a script of what makes your solution so great and expect buyers to agree. They need to build a compelling story that puts your buyer front and center as the main character.
The three elements required in order for this to work include (1) a buyer pain, (2) why your solution best overcomes that pain, and (3) the outcome a buyer can expect from implementing your solution.
This compelling value proposition story helps buyers justify their purchase — first to themselves, then to their peers and other stakeholders, and eventually to the key decision-makers. It builds urgency and helps buyers recognize a problem that might have become status quo — while being handed a specific solution to overcome it.
Creating a differentiated value proposition is just part of the formula, though. The best-crafted value proposition remains worthless without a skilled and enabled sales team to deliver it to the intended buyer audience.
EFFECTIVE VALUE PROPOSITION TRAINING AND ENABLEMENT PROGRAMS
Imparting a value proposition to your sales teams at the sales kickoff (or through another sales training effort) alone is not enough. Just like the top-performing athlete, top-performing salespeople need continuous training and reinforcement. Your leadership needs to give your sales teams opportunities to apply the value proposition to real-world scenarios. Train them on the messaging and different techniques. More importantly, though, give them opportunities to practice in role-plays and ride-alongs. Dissect real-world successes and failures with buyers at regular meetings and help your teams adjust.
Great sales leaders support salespeople with consistent feedback, reinforcement and accountability. The most effective leaders take on the Chief Reminding Officer approach, knowing how to pick the most important sales behaviors and how to reinforce these consistently for real change.
BUILD YOUR OWN WINNING VALUE PROPOSITION
Put the insights into practice. Download the Mereo Value Proposition Worksheet to start developing your own differentiated value proposition and enablement plan!