As buyers are scrutinizing purchases more than ever, organizations face immense pressure to stay ahead of the competition.
A key component of maintaining a competitive edge is empowering the sales teams with the skills they need to outperform rivals. One way to do this is with an outcomes based approach. In order to move sellers from pitching features and functions to selling with value, proper value selling training and certification is vital.
We have found that generic value selling training programs often fall short, failing to address the unique challenges of the customer value lifecycle. This article explores the pitfalls of generic value selling training and highlights the transformative potential of custom value training solutions.
Why Customization is Key
Effective training is all about tackling specific challenges and equipping teams with the right skills to engage prospects and customers. Unfortunately, generic training programs often teach valuable skills but fail to educate sales teams on the language of their company’s differentiated value. This leaves individuals to figure out how to ask the right value-driven questions, guide customers towards desired outcomes, and continue the conversation beyond initial discovery.
Value articulation needs to happen at every stage of the journey. Value training often stops at value discovery. The ability to turn the discovery into an actionable resource is the missing component. The journey begins at discovery, but the deal does not stop there. By connecting the dots from the discovery to each stage of the sales cycle, sales teams can drive a closer relationship with the customer and drive a substantial impact on the deal itself.
Custom training can be tailored to articulate the unique value proposition of a solution provider and can cover everything from teaching the language of value throughout the customer journey all the way to closing deals and driving value realization. It is not a single set of skills that make up a mature value approach, but the ability to open the conversation about value early, identify challenges and the impacts of those challenges, paint the vision for what is possible and the potential outcomes. This is done while building trust, building consensus on a quantified business case and aligning with the key stakeholders using their preferred language. By providing sales teams with this broad range of skills, value language, defined differentiation, and the tools to close deals through value articulation, custom training enhances client relationships and drives success.
Building a Strong Custom Training Program
Customer Persona Analysis: Sales teams encounter various stakeholders, each with their own roles and concerns. Training should equip teams to identify and understand these personas, from C-Level Executives to Middle Management to Technical Teams. Armed with this knowledge, teams can tailor their approach to meet each audience’s unique needs and interests.
Master the Language: Every organization and target audience has its unique culture. Each persona has a set of jargon that is familiar. To resonate deeply with customers, sales teams must understand and adapt to communication preferences and cultural nuances. Effective training will teach teams how to tailor their approach to these intricacies, fostering genuine connections and boosting sales success.
Adjust the Style of Storytelling: Engaging successfully relies on adapting communication to the sales cycle stage and the audience. Sales teams should be trained to adjust their value approach as deals progress and tailor it to different audience levels. The value conversation will differ dramatically from the initial discovery, to the presentation that occurs at the end of the sales cycle. By arming the team with recommended approaches and typical objections, they can ascend within the organization and effectively engage key decision-makers.
Understanding Value Drivers: The foundation of a custom training program is a comprehensive model that clearly articulates the outcomes customers achieve when using the product. This model goes beyond describing product features and translates them into tangible benefits for different customer segments. By providing your teams with this curated list of benefits and quantifiers, it makes customer collaboration smoother.
Leverage Custom Selling Assets: Think of custom selling assets as “phrasebooks” for salespeople. These essential tools, whether cheat sheets, cards, or digital aids, equip field teams with key talking points, rebuttals, and value statements. Proper training should provide these assets and teach teams how to use them effectively in real-time sales scenarios.
Product Line Value Knowledge: Sales teams must have a deep understanding of the specific problems their product addresses. While value communication is crucial, there are times when customers focus on the product itself. Teams should be trained to address product-specific queries and seamlessly pivot the conversation back to the overarching value proposition.
With these six pillars in place, a custom training program has the foundations to meet the diverse and evolving needs of sales teams and sets them up for success in a competitive market landscape.
In a nutshell, the world of sales is too nuanced for generic training approaches. Customized training emerges as the leading response to the prevalent training gaps. It is critical for go-to-market and enablement leaders to craft or source training solutions that resonate with the unique demands of their teams. By embracing a custom approach, which emphasizes persona based messaging, defined value drivers, and has well-articulated selling assets to help drive the conversation, organizations stand a better chance of empowering their sales teams and achieving their desired outcomes.