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ELEVATE 2021: The Major Points that Create Major Change

5 Sessions From ELEVATE 2021 and Their Takeaways

Five hours of conversation with the experts. Twelve speakers. Hundreds of attendees. Hundreds more comments and engagement from the audience. Thousands of ideas inspired. 

ELEVATE 2021, Ecosystems’ debut value management conference (and the first of its kind within the industry) was a roaring success. Speakers from influential brands like Salesforce, Google Cloud, and Autodesk (just to name a few) left the audience with plenty of practical advice. Problem is, it’s hard to know what your next steps are when you are inspired with ‘thousands of ideas’. 

We’re here to help you step back and see the big picture. We’ll take a look at the main takeaways from each session, and how you can begin to take practical steps towards incorporating value selling and value management. Let’s get started as we refresh (or take a first look at) the themes from ELEVATE 2021. 

1. Why value management is so important – especially now

Value management is nothing new. In fact, Ecosystems has been leading the way in value management for over 20 years. Still, there are some significant changes that are occurring in the field right now, making this a needed discussion. 

As the tech industry has exploded in recent years, customers now have the power to choose which software or service they like. Customer retention is a higher priority, especially given the fact that the software-as-a-service (SaaS) business model is increasingly common. These

Golden thread of value

 changes have made many leading companies realize just how essential value management really is. 

This means companies are now prioritizing the customer experience – not just the initial sale. Customer success is now a sophisticated career, quite different from the traditional customer support title. 

What we are now seeing can be called a ‘renaissance of value’. As more and more companies begin to show value throughout the entire customer lifecycle – we see this ‘golden thread’ of value also weaved throughout every department. Still, how do companies achieve this – and is it even necessary? 

Session: The Golden Thread in the Customer Value Journey
Speakers: 

Access slidedeck to the keynote session here. 

 

2. What to do when your customer hasn’t asked for value management

During ELEVATE 2021, we asked our audience what their number one challenge is when implementing frameworks for measuring and realizing value. Care to guess? The most common response, at 44%, was getting customer buy in

You might be thinking, ‘if my customer doesn’t even want to incorporate value realization, why should I make the effort?’. Well, the reality is sometimes we don’t realize what we’re missing out on until we get it. 

Setting up a framework to track value can take some extra effort. But once your customer sees the end result (all the value you provide them), customers are almost always 100% on board with the process. 

The shift that should be occurring is not just simply a change in process, but a change in your approach. You should be selling outcomes – instead of features. 

Session: Business Value Realization
Speakers: 

  • Eric Ranta, Director of Cloud Value Advisors Americas at Google Cloud 
  • Irfan Verjee, Vice President of Business Value Group, Europe & Asia at Sprinklr
  • MJ Sair, Global Leader of Value Engineering at Snowflake 

Access slidedeck here

 

3. Implement value management across the board

Still, it can take getting C-level involvement to have the opportunity for significant growth. Including discussions around value early on during account planning can win you some support – and even introductions to C-level leadership. Continuing to use data, especially the data that surround the issues you know matter most to a prospect, will continue to help you gain participation from the prospective company. 

By using a business case, you are able to help establish the value you can provide – and even discover areas of value the company may not have realized are important. Winning a client using value selling should look something like this:

  1. You use a collaborative business case to guide all your conversations
  2. You develop raving fans at the company because you focus on business goals, priorities, and outcomes (instead of features and functions you offer)
  3. Raving fans help you connect with the CEO or C-level executives 
  4. You can provide data (because you’ve used a business case) that C-level executives need to gain funding approval
  5. Company board is able to clearly understand the business value proposition
  6. Your small deal just turned into a multi-million dollar deal

By focusing on value, using a business case to guide conversations, and listening to your prospect, you can close larger deals – and do it quicker. 

Session: Value-Selling War Stories: Success Examples of Collaboration to Land and Expand Deals
Speakers:

  • Anurag Goel, Global Head of Value Consulting & Realization at Red Hat
  • Kaylin Voss, Area Vice President at Salesforce

Access slidedeck here.

ELEVATE Recap: Weaving Value into the Customer Experience

4. Value management doesn’t stop with sales

So you gained the prospect’s attention, and even won the sale in record time. The focus on value management doesn’t stop here though. The idea behind the ‘golden thread’ is that value is weaved throughout the entire customer journey. 

So how do you weave value into the customer experience? 

Value management should be ongoing. This includes listening to customer feedback. You can always ask for feedback whether through surveys, focus groups, customer success conversations, or partner feedback. Just remember this does require your company to follow through on feedback. Often, you want to look for ways that implicit value connects with experience elements that your customer prioritizes. These can take the shape of:

  • Enhancing the product 
  • Improving access to support
  • Creating onboarding engagement

From there, you can continue to work with your customer to see where your company’s strengths align with your customer’s goals. By establishing multiple elements of value where your company excels, you will almost always exceed customer expectations. 

Using this model of creating shared goals with the customer, Autodesk customers were twice as likely to recommend Autodesk than the Net Promoter Score average.

Session: B2B Elements of Value: Creating Value as Part of Your Customer Experience (CX) Strategy

Speakers: 

  • Mary Catherine Plunkett, Senior Director, Customer Success Design at Autodesk
  • Jennifer Kamber, Vice President, Customer Success at Ecosystems

Access slidedeck here

 

5. Making value selling your company’s norm (and the benefits it brings)

While value management shows your customer your value, you still receive some of the greatest benefits. These benefits include higher win rates, improved customer retention, and greater upsell and cross-sell rates.

Here’s a look at a how a few companies have benefitted:

  • TSIA saw 12% recurring revenue growth
  • HP MPS improved win rates by over 30%
  • HP PS improved win rates by over 50% 
  • Micro Focus improved close rates by over 20%

Getting these kinds of results only happen when you’re no longer selling a product, but you’re selling a solution. This focus on outcome-based sales is much different than traditional sales, since it focuses on continued customer success and working with C-suite executives. 

ELEVATE Recap: 12% recurring revenue growth

So how do you scale this value-centric approach? 

Most likely, you’ll need to implement multiple strategies to scale this approach across your company. A few of these include:

  • Aligning to company initiatives
  • Using a collaborative platform to co-create value with customers
  • Integrating with existing processes and tools
  • Tracking KPIs that show the impact of value selling 
  • Coaching leadership

This is just the beginning. If your company has not focused on value management in the past, now’s the time to get started! Choose one of these ideas and see the impact for yourself. 

Session: Scaling Value Selling

Speakers:

  • Tom Ament, President of North America at Micro Focus
  • Jonathan Nikols, Global Vice President of Services and Solutions at HP

Access slidedeck here

 

More to come at ELEVATE 2022

This was a quick look at some of the highlights from ELEVATE 2021. We’ve made recordings and slide decks available to the public, so you can continue to dive deeper into this increasingly important business approach. 

If you’re still looking for more resources (and thousands of more ideas), we have good news – ELEVATE 2022 is in the works! Stay tuned to hear more updates on this conference, and where (yes, we’re hoping to have an in-person event!) you can join us. 


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