In today’s business landscape, there is a glaring discrepancy between what buyers desire and what sellers and customer success reps provide. This shortfall is what we call the “Value Gap,” and it has significant implications for customer satisfaction and long-term relationships.
So, what constitutes this Value Gap, and why does it still exist despite the wealth of investment made by solution providers in training and enablement?
What Do Buyers Want?
Gartner conducted a study to understand what buyers look for when selecting a particular solution and provider. The findings showed:
- 43% desire an understanding of their business context, assistance in diagnosing issues, and help in achieving strategic goals.
- 31% seek collaboration on business outcomes and tangible value, like savings, productivity improvements and growth.
- 22% want confidence in their decision, including the choice of the right solution and its successful implementation.
In short, buyers want a business need and value-focused approach that instills confidence and ensures successful outcomes.
The Current State of the Value Gap
Despite these well-understood buyer preferences, most commercial teams are falling behind in meeting these needs. Recent surveys show that the number of deals perceived as high quality by buyers has declined nearly 40% over the past three years. Alarmingly, almost two-thirds of buyers express regret soon after finalizing a deal.
Value automation provider Finlistics’ study on B2B commercial approaches found that less than a third of sellers and only a quarter of customer success reps adopt a value-oriented approach to help meet buyer needs and address this regret challenge. The standard modus operandi for most sellers is product pitches, demos, and discounts, while customer success teams often focus only on triage, usage, and adoption metrics.
Why Does the Value Gap Persist?
Instead of closing the Value Gap, these latest survey results point to the steady decline in sentiment, with the gap only widening. Discussing this within our team, we pondered why the Value Gap persists, and came up with these top five reasons:
- Comfort with the Old Ways – The traditional approach centers around the product, its features, and the demonstration. Sellers are accustomed to this methodology, and many buyers expect it. Changing this mindset is a significant hurdle.
- Lack of Value-Centric Training – Commercial teams often receive intense product-centric training, similar to a boot camp experience. Unfortunately, this leaves them ill-equipped to have in-depth conversations about business value and outcomes with customers.
- Lack of Tools for Value Execution – Even if a seller is trained in value-based approaches, they often lack the tools—be it discovery questions, research, content, or calculators—to effectively execute.
- Spoiled by Past Success – Many of today’s sellers and customer success reps have been conditioned by environments where order-taking was the norm. Such teams are often unprepared for the financial scrutiny and tight budgets that are increasingly common.
- Focus on Short-Term Performance – Businesses increasingly emphasize key performance metrics tied to short-term goals. This focus can undermine the adoption of more value-oriented, long-term approaches, as leaders demanding immediate results can derail even the most well-intentioned value-based initiatives.
The Bottom Line:
So, how can you close the value gap between your customers and your sellers and success teams? We believe it comes down to three initiatives and investments you can make today:
- Move Teams Out of Their Comfort Zones: Both sellers and customer success reps must be willing to embrace new ways of engagement. They won’t make this leap without proper encouragement and training. And managers and leaders aren’t off the hook. If you want change to occur and stick, they need to reinforce a longer term value-focused approach.
- Invest in Value-Centric Training: Train your teams not just on product knowledge but also on understanding business needs, creating value, and instilling decision-making confidence.
- Equip Them with the Right Tools: Provide your teams with the right content and resources—discovery questions to ask, research to consult, content to share, interactive collaboration tools —that help them discover, articulate and demonstrate value to buyers.
By addressing these critical issues, companies have a fighting chance to close the Value Gap and build lasting, valuable relationships with their customers. What steps is your organization taking to ensure a more value-centric approach in its dealings? It’s high time we bridged this gap to foster trust, deliver real value, and build sustainable growth.
Want more insights about bridging the Value Gap? Checkout our discussion of this in the webinar: Crafting Superior Customer Journeys – https://www.finlistics.com/crafting-superior-customer-journeys