3 Powerful Value Realization Strategies You Probably Aren’t Using
Value selling has quickly become the go-to strategy to win not only the initial sale but also customers’ long-term loyalty. Many organizations have adopted value selling models to great success, quickly clinching new business by demonstrating quantifiable value during the sales cycle. While valueselling is a must for driving new business, it’s just one part of the equation. Equally important is value realization, or demonstrating the real-world value that your product or solution achieves for the customer after deployment. Value realization is critical to ensuring customer satisfaction, reducing churn, and successfully cross-selling into existing accounts; however, many organizations stop short of value realization, missing out on the many advantages of a true end-to-end value selling framework–from pre-sale to purchase to renewal. The following are three common gaps, and powerful value realization strategies you probably aren’t using that will help you secure your customers’ loyalty, grow your existing accounts, and turn customer success into a revenue-generating function in your organization.
Gap #1: You don’t have a value realization framework
One of the most fundamental gaps we see in value realization is not having a framework for value realization at all. Sales may be closing more and better deals faster than ever by quantifying value and immersing customers in value dialogue, but then the conversation falls flat in the handoff between sales and customer success. According to our recent survey with IDC, most customers expect vendors to educate them on value realization and provide the framework for them. In fact, only 6% of customers indicated they had their own framework for value realization, and 24% said they don’t really focus on value realization at all unless there’s a fire drill request. However, without a seamless connection between sales and customer success, customers struggle to see the value that they were sold during the sales cycle come to fruition in their real-world use cases. Lacking clear metrics to justify renewal, a promising deal can quickly stagnate and eventually become a flight risk. Learn more about value realization expectations vs. reality.
Strategy #1: Provide customers with a value realization framework
To close this gap, solution providers need to be able to step up to the plate with a framework that clearly demonstrates how the solution’s actual performance is delivering on the expected value promised during the sales cycle. At Ecosystems, we base our value realization framework on what we call The Value Trinity™, which is based on three interlocking gears:
Corporate value. This gear demonstrates the financial benefits of your solution, including revenue generation, cost reduction, risk mitigation, etc.
Job value. This gear demonstrates the benefits to the stakeholder’s job. Does this product or service make the stakeholder’s job easier? Are they able to work better because of the transaction?
Personal value. This gear demonstrates the intangible benefits to the individual as a person, for example, how the solution improves or enhances their reputation. It answers the question: are they better off working with you?
Providing a framework like this helps vendors and customers clearly align on the challenges, goals and objectives, desired outcomes, and key success metrics of the solution. Furthermore, a clear value realization framework not only enables meaningful reporting on the actual value to the business, but it also helps drive continuous improvement and optimization.
Gap #2: Your value realization strategy depends on manual work
Another common pitfall for value realization is relying on manual work to articulate and quantify business value for customers, which makes it very difficult to execute value realization at scale. Manually crunching numbers, analyzing metrics, compiling and digitizing reports, etc. can become incredibly cumbersome, time-consuming, and prone to error. In addition, most organizations simply don’t have the human resources to execute value realization at scale with all of their accounts– ultimately, something else would need to “give” for the customer success teams to be able to execute value realization at scale.
Strategy #2: Digitize your value realization platform
While making sure your customer success (CS) team is well-staffed and supported with the right roles is key, your CS team’s time is best spent giving their full attention to customers and nurturing the customer relationship with a human touch. To scale a successful value realization program, you need to empower the right people with the right technology. A value realization platform makes it easy for CS teams to demonstrate value to customers at every step–from initial onboarding to renewal conversations. For example, digitization allows CS teams to quickly and easily turn the customers’ value journey into a digital record shared by both Sales and Customer Success, joint visibility that is key to customer retention and expansion. In addition, Ecosystems is the only value-selling platform that enables a seamless hand-off from Sales to Customer Success. Digitizing value realization improves your CS team’s efficiency and effectiveness, while providing clear visibility into customer success and possible risks across all teams and touchpoints. This enables CS teams to maximize positive results and proactively mitigate customer concerns.
Gap #3: Your value realization framework focuses primarily on Corporate Value
Finally, coming back to The Value Trinity, many customer success teams spend the vast majority of their efforts focusing on the first gear, Corporate Value. For good reason: speaking to the “numbers” is fairly intuitive. Metrics like top-line revenue growth, increased margins, and reduced costs are relatively straightforward to track on a dashboard and compare quarter over quarter–year over year. Progress is visual and unmistakable. However, these numbers represent just a fraction of the complete value that your solution provides, and they’re missing a very important element: what it means to the person signing off on the renewal contract. After all, value is more than ROI. It’s easy to forget in B2B that we’re still talking to real humans with real emotions–from anxiety over their job performance to pride in their reputation in the company. And many solution providers do neglect to consider these less tangible elements in their value realization frameworks.
Strategy #3: Remember to speak to the personal, subjective elements of value
What really differentiates a solution provider is usually not just the raw numbers. Your competitors may be able to deliver similarly impressive metrics–or perhaps a competitive solution could even outperform yours. In today’s fast-paced world, current customers cannot be taken for granted. Your customers are constantly evaluating solutions. That’s why our Value Trinity framework presents the three elements of value as interlocking gears. You need all three, inextricably: Corporate Value showing ROI, Job Value demonstrating the non-dollarized emotional value, and Personal Value representing the credibility–the ethos–that gives customers unshakeable confidence in you. To create a lasting relationship with your customer, you need to also understand the subjective elements of value for your customers and clearly communicate Personal Value alongside Corporate Value and Job Value. This will help move your customer relationships from transactional to a true strategic partnership.
Ready to level up your value realization strategy?