What is the difference between value focused and product focused sales? And why it matters.

When evaluating your sales strategy, what is the first question you ask? Hopefully, you start with, “What value does my business create for my customers?” In order to win in today’s marketplace, it is critical that your team focus on communicating the value your solution brings to your customers—not just the products or services you offer.

In today’s world, buyers understand they can leverage resources like Amazon and other “one stop shops” to search around for products that are identical or very similar to the ones that you offer. Without the ability to truly articulate what makes your solution (and the way you deliver it) unique, buyers will use the one common deciding factor when making a decision…price.

Use your first impression wisely.

Consider the initial meeting with a potential customer: a sales rep’s first impression and their first opportunity to position your organization in the mind of a prospect. What should the goals be coming out of this conversation?

According to Harvard Business Review, “Best-practice suppliers base their value proposition on the few elements that matter most to their target customers, demonstrate the value of this superior performance, and communicate it in a way that coveys sophisticated understanding of the customer’s business priorities.”

Often times, sales conversations are lead with the best offerings, promotions, or pitches in the moment, but the enthusiasm and eagerness of the average salesperson to jump in and pitch often hinders their ability to ask thoughtful discovery questions. This is a much more effective strategy in the long run, while failing to fully understand an account can narrow your team’s sphere of influence. If, instead, sales representatives ask questions and demonstrate that they have a true understanding of a prospect’s needs, they will not only build trust, but the prospect will be more willing to share critical information that better benefits their long-term partnership.

Shifting your conversation to properly position the value that you create for the customer rather than the products that you provide will help your team close more business. Consider these goals for your initial meeting with prospects:

  • Understanding their priorities and business drivers
  • Clearly articulate how you bring value to their business
  • Explain how your solution is different from the competition and how you’ll prove it

This approach creates a correlation in your customer’s mind between their growth opportunities and your solution.

How businesses approach the competition matters.

More often than not, customers will not be able to clearly distinguish what makes you different from your competitors. And, as we highlighted earlier, when customers cannot differentiate between multiple competitive offerings, they often assume that all of the solutions are similar in value. This perception reduces the decision to the lowest common denominator: price.

Sellers who fail to introduce relevant value drivers and communicate differentiators early in the sales cycle miss the opportunity to influence purchasing decisions. This is why being able to clearly understand your prospect’s business drivers and articulate how your products and services create value for them is so critical.

It is also worth mentioning that alignment across your internal resources and sales team is crucial. If a sales team member doesn’t fully comprehend the impact of a value-focused sales strategy, you run the risk of creating gaps in your sales cycle, customer confusion, and brand dilution in the marketplace. Marketing and sales collaboration across the entire customer journey is going to be more important than ever if businesses expect to continue to grow revenue. Read more about sales-marketing integration in another post.

If your main focus is on the product, you risk being perceived as expensive.

 If a sales strategy is product-focused, it’s easy to highlight a laundry list of irrelevant features. Focusing on bells and whistles can create an impression that the solution is more than what the buyer needs, and therefore more expensive. Shifting the strategy to focus on value drivers will demonstrate a deeper expertise and a more compelling solution for the buyer.

The most successful sales organizations are training their sellers to build value and differentiation in the eyes of the customer. Their sales teams focus on:

  • Uncovering customer needs – understand customer needs, goals, and business drivers
  • Articulate value – correlate the value of product and service offering to customer goals
  • Differentiate solutions – communicate how a solution is uniquely different from the alternatives, then negotiate the sale based on the value it adds to the business

If you’re interested in developing a value-focused strategy for your sales team, schedule a free advisory call with us.