As Hugh MacLeod stated in his funny, cynical and honest first book, Ignore Everybody -“It’s not what the software does it’s what the user does”. It’s noisy out there; we are interrupted all day, every day with capability, sources of value, features. What we never hear are business results. Business results we can achieve for ourselves. What the product can actually deliver on my site.
Value Achievement – Why Sales Professionals need to own it
Every client wants their software purchase to achieve a set of outcomes.
If sales professionals really cared about value achievement they would ask the following questions in their sales process;
- Who will use this software product in your organization
- What level of technical skill will they have
- When and how often will the user(s) use the software
- Where will they use the software
- Does the new product need to work with/feed into a larger workflow process
- How will they use the output metrics your software generates
- Who will they present the output metrics to and in what format
- Who can they call for support, depending on the level of issue encountered
- What operator issues have surfaced in the last 12 months that the new customer should know about and what is the fix
10. What user forums exist to enhance the users experience.
Value Capability is not Enough
Capability is great but if the client can’t imagine using the technology in a meaningful way then as a sales professional you have a problem. Even if you persuade a client to buy your stuff (old school selling) he won’t use it – the opportunity for a long term profitable relationship is gone. Let’s suppose they lie to you about their ability to use it – still bad news, they can’t use it, and it’s your fault.
In Jeff Thull’s great book – Exceptional Selling – He states there only 2 reasons customers don’t buy:
- They don’t believe they have a problem
- They don’t believe your solution
Well the second point is about the fact there is certainly too much mystery around their usage of your product.
Go negative on your client’s ability to deploy, to use your technology. If it throws out weaknesses in their deployment they will thank you and you can plan a more effective execution. If it confirms they know exactly how to deploy, then you have proven your priority is to confirm they are able to achieve value from your software.
Building this usage mindset into your sales strategy, into your marketing strategy into your product strategy will create a remarkable business with huge competitive advantage in a world of features and benefits. Value achievement by your clients become part of your company’s mantra. It drives your thinking. You go beyond problem solvers and move to a business dedicated to enhancing your customer’s performance.