Value Strategy: The Foundation of Collaborative Account Development
Sales people must fully understand a client’s industry and business in order to bring real value to the client. This brings something into play called the value strategy, the way to gain this understanding. Value strategy is a plan of action designed to identify, generate, communicate and deliver the value that your company brings to the client.
Why do you need such a strategy? If you cannot identify, generate, deliver, and communicate value, you cannot attain the status of a trusted advisor, one who is “at the table” not just when purchases are made but when decisions are being made. A good sales person is one who helps the client identify solutions to problems. A trusted advisor proactively helps the client identify problems and potential solutions.
Communicating the value created is the key part of the value strategy process. Many salespeople believe that if they win opportunities in the sales process and their account teams implement the solution for the client flawlessly, the client will automatically recognize that value has been created. This is a mistake. Value not communicated is value not perceived by the client.
Four factors make up a value strategy.
- Identify the business environment and business needs: There are trends in the clients’ industry affecting their business. In addition, the client has company goals, objectives, and challenging issues. Out of these trends and challenging issues arise opportunities to work together in order to improve the client’s performance. This includes identifying, and formulating, how the client defines value.
- Generate new ideas: One of the key behaviors of trusted advisors is that they bring new insights and ideas to their clients. These insights and ideas seek to change the status quo at the client in order to help the client keep up in a fast-paced and challenging business environment.
- Communicate the value to the client: How can your company deliver value to the client? Be sure the client also is told, and understands, how you can deliver value to the client’s stakeholder, including the client’s customers.
- Deliver: After you have worked hard to identify and generate new opportunities, your account team needs to deliver the solutions that deliver value to the client. This part of the value strategy is largely out of your control as company specialists take the lead in implementing the solution. Remember, though, that high-performing salespeople stay in regular contact with their clients to monitor client satisfaction and correct any problems that might arise.
Client stakeholders want you to: know them, know their business, and come to them proactively with insights to improve the business. This is the way to increase your business from the particular client and to develop methods viable and appropriate from your other clients.
Your client will see you as providing value to the business when you:
- Help the plan proactively for change, threats, and opportunities in the business environment. Understand the industry in which the client works.
- Have a deep understanding of what the client’s business needs to perform better.
- Build a persuasive business case that gets senior company leaders’ attention
- Advocate strongly for client interests within the vendor company.
- Assemble an expert account team that works well with client teams
- Make client feel you have the authority to make decisions, or at least strongly influence decision making.
- Make client feel you are “one of them.” Improve client experience with your company.
- Help client be more effective and efficient in their business.
- Create a strong sense of urgency to seize opportunities in client market or markets.
- Provide an objective, strategic view of client business that is both accurate and informative.
- Have a compelling vision for how client and the sales person’s company should collaborate to co-create value.
- Solve problems and issues promptly and fairly.
- Meet and exceed agreed- upon performance requirements on a regular basis.
- Navigate company organizational politics in a way that gets things done.
- Act as a catalyst to create consensus among multiple stakeholders
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