I am new to technology sales. As an offshore enterprise software services vendor, how can I effectively answer the following customer question: “What is the value your organization adds?”

I am new to technology sales. As an offshore enterprise software services vendor, how can I effectively answer the following customer question: “What is the value your organization adds?”

By Zeeva Viola | August 31, 2017

Question:

I am new to technology sales. As an offshore enterprise software services vendor, how can I effectively answer the following customer question: “What is the value your organization adds?”

Answer:

This is a standard question buyers designed to put salespeople on the defensive. Take back control of the conversation by asking questions and creating open loops.

1. First, remember that enterprise customers only buy products for one of four reasons:

  • Increase revenue
  • Decrease cost
  • Increase efficiency
  • Decrease risk

This means that your top level value proposition needs to be stated in these terms. Then specifically for the buyer to whom you are speaking, further tailor your value proposition in ways that the person can be invested in successfully implementing your solution.

Using your product of “cloud, mobility, and analytics” as a baseline, let’s say you’re talking with a CEO or top-level business unit executive. It’s likely that the business executive cares most about higher revenues and higher margins. So your value proposition  should be stated in terms of increased revenue and decreased costs.

What if you’re talking with an IT executive at that same prospective customer? Chances are that the IT executive might care more about how they can decrease the risk of the company’s system downtime or provide the same mobility services to its workforce in a more efficient way. For the IT executive, frame your value proposition in terms of increased efficiency and decreased risk.

2. Focus on the customer’s top 2-3 strategic initiatives.

Do your research ahead of sales calls so you can refer to specific information in your call.

For publicly-traded companies, read annual reports, press releases, and read and watch interviews with their top executives.

“I [read in your annual report/saw your CEO on CNBC/read the press release about…] and see that two of your top strategic initiatives are to take advantage of technology like cloud and mobility solutions, while increasing profit margins for your higher performing business segments. We help companies do exactly that.”

If you’re targeting private or small & medium-sized businesses, read industry publications and look at the topics from industry conferences. Use these topical themes as conversation points with your target customer.

“I was just reading through the XYZ conference agenda and saw that the main theme of the conference is how your industry needs to improve its deployment of cloud and mobility solutions without disrupting day-to-day customer interactions. Is that a focus for your company as well?

“It is? That’s great, because that’s exactly what we do. Let me ask you a few questions about your current operations to see if we can help…”

3. Now, you can answer the “What value does your organization bring?” with…

“I’m not if we can help you at all. We’ve helped companies like yours including several in your industry to [insert value proposition]. Let me ask you a few questions to see if it even makes sense to schedule a more substantial conversation.”

Then ask a 3-4 situational questions that will bring them down the path of problem discovery and how you can help them solve their problems. (For more on questioning strategies, check out SPIN Selling.)

Using this “takeaway method” – telling the customer that they might not even qualify to buy the product- you’ve taken back control of the conversation. You’ve also given yourself permission to extend the conversation and ask probing questions about the customer’s current situation.

4. Once you’ve established that there’s a possible match in the customer’s problems and your solution, create an open loop.

“Hmmm… I think maybe we can help you. What we’d need to do now is schedule a call with our business executive to see if their view aligns here. If that goes well, our team can put together a custom demo to show you how we’ll help you achieve these goals.”

or

“It looks like maybe there could be a match here. We’d need to do a cursory audit to learn more about your current IT systems so we can identify the top 2-3 areas where we’d be best poised to deliver value to you in the next three months. Who would we need to talk to for that?”

Ultimately, your job is to take that question and reverse the conversation back to the customer. Remember that you are selling a highly valuable product that current customers are presumably receiving tons of value. That’s why they’re customers, right?

Keep the conversation at a peer-to-peer level – two business people working together to identify what problem exists and if/how your product can solve it.

**This Q&A article was originally posted on Quora. Check out Scott’s Quora page here.