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Unlocking Your Sales Power: Leveraging Unique Value Perspectives

Value is in the Eye of the Buyer

Written in collaboration with value expert Marian Desimone


When it comes to B2B sales today, there is a simple saying that really makes a difference to winning the deal – “Value is in the Eye of the Buyer.” This deceptively simple phrase encapsulates a profound truth: the perception of value varies depending on the specific members of the prospect’s buying team that you’re engaging with. 

Each individual brings their unique perspective on the outcomes they seek, the problems they aim to solve, and the value they hope to derive from potential solutions. This diversity of viewpoints presents a formidable challenge for modern sales professionals.

A Growing Cast of Decision Makers

The first hurdle in addressing this diversity in the interpretation of value is the increasing number of stakeholders involved in B2B decision-making processes. Typically, larger purchases involve more people, making the decision-making landscape even more complex. For enterprise sales, the number of players involved often exceeds expectations. According to Gartner’s research, enterprise sales can easily involve over a dozen individuals with direct decision-making involvement, and another ten or so who can influence or, at worst, veto the decision. Consequently, relying solely on the primary persona, often referred to as the champion, is no longer sufficient to secure a deal.

To succeed in this intricate landscape, sales professionals must uniquely connect with each buyer, understanding what matters most to them and the value they seek to achieve. This challenge multiplies across all the stakeholders involved, requiring a concerted effort not only to appeal to each buyer individually but also to ensure consensus among them.

The Three Dimensions of Value

When it comes to value, decision-makers typically consider three distinct dimensions:

  • Business Benefits: These are the most tangible and direct advantages a buyer expects from purchasing your solution. They often relate to expanding revenue or reducing costs. Business value includes:
    • Reduced Costs: Assisting buyers in trimming organizational expenses, eliminating unnecessary spending, or avoiding planned expenditures.
    • Improved Productivity and Processes: Streamlining workflows, reducing task completion times, and minimizing labor costs.
    • Reduced Risks: Enhancing organizational resilience by mitigating risks related to compliance, security, employee turnover, data leaks, and disaster preparedness.
    • Improved Growth: Facilitating top-line expansion, such as entering new markets, launching products faster, improving sales performance, and capturing new business opportunities.
  • Organizational Value: This refers to the benefits an organization can reap from improved internal and external connections. These advantages include:
    • Improved Team Engagement: Enhancing communication, collaboration, and process visibility, leading to increased employee engagement, retention, and efficiency.
    • Better Business Partner Relationships: Strengthening ties with integration, reseller, and service partners, leading to improved collaboration, community building, and revenue growth.
    • Boosted Social Influence: Elevating relationships with social influencers and enhancing the organization’s social presence.
    • Enhanced Customer Community: Improving the customer experience, driving engagement, testimonials, and peer collaboration.
  • Personal Value/Personal Benefits: Each buyer may have personal challenges and values that they hope to gain from investing in your solution. These benefits may include:
    • Increased Job Satisfaction and Engagement: Enhancing the satisfaction and work-life balance of team members.
    • Recognition and Awards: Aiding buyers in achieving public recognition and awards from internal or industry organizations.
    • Raises and Bonuses: Elevating base pay and earning incentives and bonuses.
    • Career Advancement Opportunities: Assisting buyers in obtaining promotions and advancing in their careers.

Value Differences Across Buyers

Across these three dimensions of value, different decision-makers often hold dramatically different perspectives. Consider selling a financial planning and analysis solution to an organization:

  • For financial analysts, the focus may be on improving productivity by reducing time-consuming data tasks.
  • Analyst group leaders may prioritize improving staff retention.
  • CFOs may seek better collaboration and improved financial performance.
  • Heads of HR may aim to enhance workforce planning and reduce attrition.
  • Heads of sales may target improved sales performance.
  • Heads of operational planning may focus on inventory management.
  • IT professionals may seek to retire a legacy solution that is expensive to license, maintain, and support.

This example illustrates how each decision-maker’s viewpoint varies based on their role and responsibilities. What holds value for one may not hold the same importance for another.

The Importance of Value Discovery and Assessment

Throughout the sales process, especially as the buying group expands and evolves, it’s crucial to uncover the dimensions of value that matter to each buyer. Here are the key steps to consider:

  1. Challenges: Discover the specific challenges each buyer wants to solve.
  2. Cost of “Do Nothing”: Understand the potential costs and consequences of maintaining the status quo.
  3. Value of the Proposed Solution: Articulate how your solution addresses their challenges and adds value.
  4. Success Criteria/KPI Impact Outcomes: Define the specific success criteria and key performance indicators that matter to each buyer.

The Bottom-Line

In today’s intricate corporate landscape, recognizing and articulating value is a multifaceted task. The diverse perspectives and priorities of stakeholders within an organization require sales professionals to speak to the value of their products or solutions in a way that resonates with each viewpoint.

To navigate this complex terrain successfully, keep these key takeaways in mind:

  • Recognize the Diversity: The “buyer” comprises a multitude of stakeholders, each with their unique view of value. Don’t focus solely on the champion; engage with all relevant personas and ensure each unique point of view is included and addressed.
  • Three Dimensions of Value: Remember the three dimensions of value: personal, organizational, and business.
  • Master the Art of Discovery: Ask the right questions and engage in structured conversations. Use curiosity to uncover value-based needs that customers may not have articulated previously.
  • Capture and Communicate Value: Ensure that challenges, “cost of do nothing,” and value outcomes that matter to each buyer are captured and communicated, motivating them to say yes to your solution.

Understanding and articulating value is the cornerstone of successful selling in today’s dynamic and complex business environment. By embracing the multifaceted nature of value, sales professionals can unlock the power to connect with buyers on a deeper level and drive successful outcomes.


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