Every once and while, we stumble across someone who takes a fresh look at something and adds a particularly interesting twist. We found one around selling value.
Recently we had that experience when reading an article by Michael Schrage of MIT, a research fellow at the Sloan Center for Digital Business. Schrage was exploring how smart companies increasingly recognize that their own futures depend on how ingeniously they invest in the future capabilities of their customers. He was interested in that topic from a “creation of innovation” perspective. Let’s look at Schrage’s key points and then translate it to the world of sales.
Schrage noted: “When I look at what historically — and sustainably — works as a strategic innovation investment mindset, a single question dominates: “Who do our customers want to become? The better we know and understand what customers want to become, the better we can invest and develop the innovations necessary to get them there.”
What if sales people asked themselves that same question … Who do our customers want to become? … What would be the implications for selling value?
- Differentiation becomes possible. In major accounts everyone is “selling value.” As matter of fact they have been doing it for a long time and a lot of folks are pretty good at it. However, if you move away from just asking about customer needs from a present timeframe perspective and move to exploring the future, you are pursuing the understanding of value differently than most others. If you can position your solution to help customers build their future, you are bringing value at a different level.
- Sales gets a seat at the innovation table. With a better understanding of what customers want to be, Sales can provide Marketing and Engineering ideas about future innovations. This means Marketing and Engineering aren’t the only source to identify future innovations for products and solutions. Sales gets a seat at the table because they are sharing what innovations would bring value to their customers.
- Partnering becomes a reality. Building and managing relationships is a key ingredient for sales success. If you are walking down the road with a customer and helping them to achieve their future, you become more than the average supplier. You are laying the groundwork for becoming a partner and partners are treated differently.
Selling value versus selling product and price has been and will continue o be an important cornerstone for sales success. So taking a fresh perspective from time to time on how to get better at is probably time well spent.
Some other blog posts around selling value you might find interesting are:
- Selling value is more important than ever
- Understanding the impact oaf pricing on profit
- Features and benefit selling – a new look at an old friend
- Quantifying your value proposition – making the business case
- Selling economic value – some drill down questions
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