Creating customer value at every stage of the customer journey is one of the most important ways for B2B organizations to stand out. Organizations that embrace customer value as a critical part of their corporate identity see significant improvement across many business outcomes–from increasing customer satisfaction to growing revenue and improving profitability. In fact, leaders in customer value consistently get better business outcomes than their peers–by as much as 70% (Ecosystems & IDC’s Second Annual Value Selling Survey, January 2022). Achieving excellence in customer value requires an end-to-end approach that involves your whole team, from sales and marketing to customer success. Here, we break down best practices for value management by role:Customer Value Best Practices for Value Management
Nothing is more critical to a successful customer value framework than having a value management office–a center of excellence with the right people, process, and platform in place to govern customer value across the organization. The value management office is responsible for defining and governing all customer value processes throughout the organization, monitoring progress, and empowering teams to be successful in creating value for their customers. Just having a value management office is fundamental. In fact, 100% of customer success leaders have a value management team, and they get that team involved in the customer value lifecycle early with 63% of leaders engaging with their value management team before presales.
Source: Ecosystems & IDC’s Second Annual Value Selling Survey (n=348) (January 2022)
With the right people, processes, and platforms in place to govern customer value, the next step is to have a clear and holistic framework to capture how customers actually think about value: Personal Value, Corporate Value, and Job Value. Since most customers will not have their own value realization framework in place, it’s up to the vendor to provide this framework for them, as well as the education and support to ensure success. Providing a holistic value framework helps B2B organizations and their customers clearly align on the challenges, goals and objectives, desired outcomes, and key success metrics of the solution. Furthermore, a clear value realization framework not only enables meaningful reporting on the actual value to the business, it also helps drive continuous improvement and optimization.
Value management isn’t just a role within the organization. Leaders in customer value know that customer value cannot be surface level–it needs to become embedded at every step of the customer journey–from product development through to customer success and renewals. The best way to accomplish this is by making customer value a fundamental pillar in your organization’s culture.
Your website is often the first time a potential customer interacts with your organization, and it is a powerful opportunity to start the value conversation well before the prospect ever interacts with a salesperson.
Key to success is the ability to quantify value, business outcomes, and business performance. However, this is also one of the biggest challenges marketers face when marketing their value proposition: needing more quantified content showing how customers have realized positive outcomes. 70% of customer success leaders highlighted the need for quantified content as their primary challenge for marketing their organization’s value proposition.
Many organizations do not have the in-house research capabilities to develop this type of metric-driven content at scale. So, 75% of leaders leverage third-party research content to help them establish their value story early in the customer journey, as well as build credibility with objective industry insights. These partnerships should be leveraged to develop and manage a wide range of content to support business value throughout the customer journey, from presale lead gen to initial customer conversations.
The marketing handoff to sales should be a smooth transition in terms of customer value. Key to success is ensuring that the value proposition captured on your website cascades seamlessly into a collaborative discussion with the customer. This is where many organizations struggle, challenged by the inability to tie the value of their products and services to improve the business outcomes of their customers. A primary reason for this? Sales reps tend to sell on features, functions, and cost savings–and not on positive business outcomes.
A key strategy to driving customer value in B2B sales is providing your sales representatives with the tools and education they need to begin value-selling effectively. It’s important to remember that value-selling requires a mindset shift compared to traditional sales strategies–and that takes training and practice! Enable sellers to receive on-demand coaching to raise their value selling acumen.
When engaging with prospects on sales calls, it is most important to be able to show (not just tell) customers how value will be tracked once the prospect becomes a customer. A robust value management platform is one the most powerful tools to be able to demonstrate this to prospects through strategic value conversations, value calculators, sample dashboards, and other metric-driven tools.
Customer success teams should further build on the value conversations discussed during presales. This is where value-selling turns to value realization, helping the customer achieve real-world business outcomes that deliver on what was promised in conversations with their sales representative. 90% of leaders in customer success track the value delivered to their customers throughout the relationship, compared to just 57% of all other organizations.
Customers should be able to see results and track value first-hand, to provide transparency and enable the co-creation of value between customer and vendor. To achieve this, it’s important to have a customer value platform that you can give your customer direct access to key assets like analytics, value assessments, ROI reports, and benchmarking data.
A customer value relationship goes both ways. Customer success teams should proactively hold quarterly value reviews that are data-driven and forward-looking to track progress, flag concerns, and get feedback from the customer.
For more information on customer value and how to create a culture of customer value within your organization, we invite you to schedule a demo or contact our team of experts. We are here, ready to help.