The Complete Guide to Value Based Selling

Value based selling is transforming how modern sales teams operate. But what exactly is it, and why does this methodology deliver better results? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll demystify value based selling and equip you to implement it for sales success. You’ll learn how leading companies focus conversations on quantified ROI to build trust, strengthen loyalty, and boost revenue. Whether you’re looking to shorten sales cycles, increase deal sizes, or improve win rates, value selling delivers by putting business outcomes first. Let’s dive in to the actionable frameworks, best practices, mistakes to avoid, and tools to enable value selling execution at scale.

Value based selling is a sales methodology that focuses on the value your products or services can deliver to customers, rather than just promoting features or competing on price. The core premise is that customers ultimately make purchase decisions based on the business outcomes and quantifiable benefits your offering provides.

With value based selling, sales reps position themselves as consultants who aim to understand each customer’s unique needs. Conversations center around how your solution can impact key performance indicators and address pain points. Value propositions are tailored to resonate with what matters most to each prospect.

This approach is especially effective for complex B2B sales with long decision cycles. Value based selling helps customers visualize ROI and build a solid business case for investing in your offering over competitors.

Page Contents

What is Value Based Selling? A Definition

Value based selling can be defined as:

A sales approach that focuses sales conversations on the economic value and measurable impact your offering delivers for customers, rather than leading with product features or price.

The key emphasis is on business outcomes, not technical details. With value based selling, reps quantify potential ROI in terms that resonate with prospects to make the decision process easier.

For example, rather than simply stating your project management software has over 100 configurable reports, you would highlight how custom reports can provide the visibility managers need to identify bottlenecks. This conveys specific value vs just listing a feature.

Core Principles of Value Based Selling

Value based selling rests on two foundational principles:

1. Keeping the focus on customer value – What do prospects care about most? Where does your solution deliver differentiated value? Lead with what matters.

2. Quantifying business outcomes – Vague promises won’t convince stakeholders. Back up your claims with data and quantify how you can impact key performance indicators.

Combined, these principles enable sales teams to have value-driven conversations that get to the heart of customers’ needs. Let’s explore each principle further:

Focus on Delivering Customer Value

Value based selling flips traditional sales on its head. Instead of leading with product features and seeking to “push” a solution, the focus starts with customers’ needs and desired outcomes.

This outside-in perspective ensures you target the benefits most likely to resonate with each prospect. To implement it, sales reps must:

  • Thoroughly research prospects to understand their goals, challenges, and metrics of success.
  • Identify exactly where your offering delivers differentiated value given these specifics. Generic claims won’t persuade stakeholders.
  • Craft messaging and materials focused on communicating this value throughout the sales process.

In summary, value based selling starts with the customer perspective vs trying to push a product.

Quantify Business Outcomes

Next, value propositions must be backed up with quantified business impact. Vague promises that a solution will “increase ROI” or “drive growth” lack credibility without hard numbers tied to a prospect’s reality.

To quantify value, sales teams need to:

  • Identify prospect-specific data such as revenue, margins, conversion rates, etc. This can often be researched based on their industry and publicly available information.
  • Analyze where their metrics intersect with your product’s capabilities to model the potential impact. For instance, if your solution historically improves response rates by 25%, apply that to a prospect’s current lead gen numbers to illustrate possible new revenue.
  • Present ROI projections, before and after comparisons, reduced costs, increased revenue, or other concrete outcomes your offering enables.

Quantification demonstrates you understand a prospect’s business and provides tangible evidence of results your solution could deliver for them specifically. This proof-based approach lends credibility.

In summary, value based selling requires backing up your claims with data-driven projections of real business impact.

Why Value Based Selling Matters

Value based selling is becoming increasingly important for a few key reasons:

Overcoming Skepticism – Modern buyers are wary of sales reps and traditional product pitches. Value based selling builds trust by demonstrating you understand prospects’ objectives and can tailor recommendations accordingly.

Faster Sales Cycles – Conversations grounded in business outcomes cut through noise to focus on what matters most. This speeds up complex enterprise deals with multiple stakeholders.

Increased Close Rates – According to Corporate Visions, quantified value propositions improve win rates by over 15%. The business case drives urgency.

Higher Prices – Quantifying outcomes focuses buyers on the ROI of their purchase vs upfront cost. This enables maintaining price integrity vs deep discounts.

Customer Loyalty – Delivering and reinforcing projected value at each step builds long-term credibility and loyalty.

For these reasons, leading companies across industries have embraced value based selling to drive consistent growth.

Key Takeaways on Value Based Selling:

  • Value based selling focuses sales conversations on quantified customer value vs product features.
  • Key principles include understanding customers’ needs and backing claims with data.
  • This methodology builds trust, shortens sales cycles, and boosts close rates.
  • Leading B2B companies adopt value based selling to deliver a more relevant, credible customer experience.

By keeping value at the core of each interaction, sales teams can differentiate their solution and have value-driven conversations tailored to each prospect. This methodology equips organizations to sell on business outcomes vs competing on price or features alone.

Value based selling has become increasingly vital for sales teams looking to drive rapid growth and stand out from the competition. This methodology delivers results by focusing on customer-centricity, relevance, and quantified business value.

Specifically, a value based approach can help sales reps:

  • Build trust and nurture stronger customer relationships
  • Overcome prospect skepticism
  • Differentiate from competitors
  • Shorten sales cycles
  • Increase win rates
  • Charge higher prices
  • Improve customer loyalty and lifetime value

Let’s explore why each of these benefits occurs when sales teams commit to value based selling.

Value Based Selling Builds Trust

The #1 obstacle for most sales teams today is lack of trust. Buyers have grown weary of transactional sales reps who simply push products vs listening to understand their needs.

According to the Corporate Executive Board, only 23% of prospects actually trust the sales reps who contact them. This widespread skepticism stems from countless hollow sales pitches that overpromise and underdeliver.

Value based selling overcomes this hurdle by demonstrating your understanding of customers’ businesses from the initial conversation. Sales reps act as consultants focused on outcomes vs peddling products.

When reps ask thoughtful questions, share relevant insights, and provide quantified projections tailored to a prospect’s needs, trust develops naturally. Customers see you aim to maximize their ROI, not just make a quick sale.

One study by the Harris Poll found that 83% of customers would pay more to ensure a trusted relationship. Value based selling enables building this indispensable trust.

Value Based Selling Overcomes Skepticism

Today’s buyers conduct extensive independent research before engaging with sales reps. In a recent Gartner survey, only 17% said they rely mostly on vendor guidance when making a purchase decision.

With so much information available, buyers often feel they know nearly as much as the rep by the time sales conversations occur. This dynamic makes overcoming skepticism to bring new insights to the table difficult.

However, value based selling bridges the knowledge gap. Sales reps still need deep product expertise of course. But leading with tailored value propositions – versus reciting specs – provides new, relevant information buyers haven’t uncovered themselves.

Discussing quantified outcomes makes abstract product capabilities feel tangible and gives prospects confidence in your suggested solution. Value-driven conversations cut through the skepticism that plagues sales interactions today.

Value Based Selling Differentiates You

Let’s face it – most competitors in a given industry offer relatively comparable solutions. This makes differentiation difficult when sales reps only discuss product features and functionality.

Meanwhile, research shows buyers ultimately make decisions based on business outcomes – not checklist comparisons. In fact, 79% say vendor differentiation occurs as a result of the value their offering enables.

While your product itself may be similar, no competitor can replicate the exact value you provide for a specific customer. This makes value based selling a sustained competitive advantage.

When reps uncover prospects’ objectives and tailor messaging to their unique value drivers, your solution becomes differentiated. Value based selling focuses conversations on where your product delivers outsized impact vs the general capabilities any vendor offers.

Value Based Selling Shortens Sales Cycles

According to CSO Insights, only 53% of sales reps meet their quota. One of the primary reasons is extended sales cycles from lack of relevance.

When reps pitch broad product features before understanding a prospect’s needs, stakeholders perceive little urgency or ROI in investing. This causes sales cycles to drag on endlessly.

Value based selling solves this issue by immediately focusing conversations on the outcomes a prospect wants most. Quantifying potential impact tied to a buyer’s reality piques interest fast.

Shortened sales cycles then compound growth. Faster deals lead to bigger annual contract values and higher customer lifetime values from improved retention.

Value Based Selling Increases Win Rates

Even when sales cycles accelerate, reps may still struggle to seal deals with only generic product pitches in their arsenal. Value based selling boosts win rates by arming teams with relevant, compelling messaging.

According to Corporate Visions, quantified value propositions improve win rates by over 15%. In their study, only 45% of reps who presented value in vague, qualitative terms won deals vs 61% who quantified outcomes.

This significant increase in close rates occurs because prospects can clearly see how your solution maps to their needs and objectives. The business case drives urgency to convert leads into customers.

Value Based Selling Enables Higher Pricing

Cost-conscious buyers often push for discounts when they lack context on the value received compared to the price paid. Vague value propositions provide no defense against this margin-eroding pressure.

However, value selling reveals how your product delivers multiples in ROI compared to its cost. This proof disarms knee-jerk objections around pricing and reinforces the investment case.

For instance, if analytics software helps companies generate 5X in incremental profits vs its price, sticker cost becomes less relevant. Value based reps can stand firm on pricing due to concrete return projections.

Value Based Selling Improves Loyalty

Even after closing deals, delivering lasting value is critical for customer retention and growth. Value based selling sets your team up for success post-purchase by continually reinforcing business outcomes.

When customers have a clear picture of the evolving value you provide, satisfaction remains high. Your methodology builds loyalty through relevance vs leaving clients wondering if they’re maximizing your solution’s potential.

For example, a rep could share benchmark reports on the increasing ROI clients gain from capabilities like automation over time. This showcases expanding value vs leaving customers in the dark.

Additional Benefits of Value Based Selling

Beyond the core advantages discussed, value based selling delivers a few other tangible benefits:

More Qualified Leads – Promoting specific value helps attract prospects you can deliver significant impact for while deterring low-value tire kickers.

Higher ASPs – Quantifying ROI helps justify larger deals and drives upsell conversions during expansions or renewals.

Better Marketing Alignment – Value messaging provides a consistent, compelling narrative for coordinated campaigns across channels.

Faster Sales Rep Ramp Time – Value conversations give new hires a framework to become productive quickly vs needing to develop their pitch.

Better Sales Forecasting – Understanding drivers of value enables modeling lead potential and predicting revenue more accurately.

Happier Buyers – People feel smarter when purchasing solutions tailored to their needs vs off-the-shelf.

Key Takeaways on Why Value Based Selling Matters

  • Value based selling builds trust to overcome skeptical, overloaded buyers.
  • It offers a framework to differentiate your solution based on business outcomes.
  • Value conversations increase close rates, deal sizes, and customer loyalty over time.
  • Leading sales teams adopt this methodology to sell smarter vs harder.

While no approach guarantees instant sales success, value based principles clearly resonate in the modern selling environment. Prioritizing value over features or price aligns sales with how savvy prospects actually make decisions.

While value based selling must be tailored to each company’s offerings and customers, most frameworks share a few core components. Generally, an effective value based selling model includes steps to:

  • Identify differentiated offerings
  • Quantify economic impact
  • Have value focused sales conversations
  • Continuously deliver and reinforce value

Together, these components focus sales reps on promoting differentiation and return on investment – the factors that truly drive buying decisions. Let’s explore each piece of the value selling model in more detail:

Identify Differentiated Offerings

The first step in value based selling is determining which products or services you can make the strongest value case for.

Assess your portfolio specifically for:

1. Clear competitive advantages: Every offering will have strengths and weaknesses. Identify those where your capabilities are clearly differentiated and superior to competitors. For instance, if your software has proprietary AI technology that improves campaign optimization 30% over alternatives, you can promote quantified value around better performance.

2. Innovative features: New innovations or upgrades present an opportunity to message value around access to the latest advancements. For example, if you recently added a mobile optimization module, you can tailor value props around improving mobile conversion rates.

3. Use cases tied to ROI: Ideally you can connect certain products to specific business outcomes they enable. For instance, if your CRM platform improves sales productivity metrics by an average of 25%, lead with quantifying that impact.

Conducting this assessment illuminates the products in your portfolio with the clearest connection to end-customer value. Those become focal points for value selling.

Quantify the Economic Impact

Once priority offerings are identified, the next imperative is quantifying the business results they produce. This moves beyond qualitative claims of “driving growth” or “boosting ROI” that lack substance.

To develop quantified value propositions:

1. Identify the relevant metrics: What KPIs does your target customer base care about most? Common examples are revenue, profitability, lead conversion rates, customer acquisition costs, churn rates, etc.

2. Analyze product impact on these metrics: Review customer data and case studies to model your product’s historical impact on the metrics that matter most. For example, calculating the average revenue increase users see from your offering.

3. Create ROI projections: Based on average historical impact, develop calculators, models, or templates to estimate the potential financial improvement a prospect could see from adopting your solution.

This analysis should yield data-backed projections you can customize to each sales opportunity. The goal is tailoring generalized product impact into a specific ROI forecast.

Have Value Focused Sales Conversations

With value propositions and ROI models in hand, sales teams must lead with quantified value in every prospect conversation. This entails:

1. Researching each prospect’s current baseline metrics: Reference public data, social media, websites, and past conversations to estimate their starting KPIs related to your product’s impact.

2. Tailoring value props to each prospect: Plug prospect baseline metrics into your ROI model to provide a customized forecast of potential improvement from using your solution.

3. Leading with quantified value in messaging: Emails, social outreach, calls, and presentations should all leverage quantified projections vs. generic capabilities.

4. Having value focused discovery conversations: Ask thoughtful questions to affirm and refine value projections, ensuring prospects feel heard while focusing on potential ROI.

5. Addressing objections through a value lens: Counter pricing concerns, competitor comparisons, and other objections by reiterating concrete returns the customer will realize.

Equipping reps to have relevant, quantified value conversations transforms sales interactions to focus on business outcomes.

Continuously Deliver and Reinforce Value

Finally, value based selling requires upholding your end of the bargain post-purchase by ensuring clients fully realize the promised impact. This means continually reinforcing and expanding upon value through:

1. Value realization tracking: Benchmark customer metrics before and after onboarding to validate projected impact from your solution.

2. Consistent value reinforcement: Send ongoing content and reporting highlighting ROI achieved since adoption. Don’t let customers forget why they invested.

3. Expansion value propositions: Identify additional high-value features, upgrades, or expansions that can further improve their metrics when upselling.

4. Customer success driven by value: Gauge customer health based on value realization versus just satisfaction surveys or sales quotas.

5. Value centered retention: Lead renewal conversations by quantifying value delivered throughout the customer lifecycle.

While value selling starts with the sales process, your work is not done once deals close. Ongoing value focus helps retain and grow accounts.

Key Takeaways on the Value Selling Model:

  • Focus on offerings with clear differentiation tied to ROI.
  • Quantify potential customer impact with data-backed models.
  • Lead sales conversations with customized value props.
  • Continuously reinforce and expand on value post-purchase.
  • Keep customer value central across the customer lifecycle.

Adopting this methodology equips sales teams to have relevant, value focused interactions at every touchpoint. Valuable customers become loyal brand ambassadors over time.

Committing to value based selling delivers results, but only with careful, strategic implementation. Rolling out a value focus requires alignment across teams, content creation, and enablement of sales reps with new skills.

Follow these best practices to ensure your value methodology sticks and transforms customer conversations:

Research Customers to Understand Needs

Customer-centricity is the cornerstone of value selling. This makes in-depth research to understand prospects’ needs, pain points, and success metrics foundational.

Conduct Interviews with Existing Customers

Speaking directly with current customers offers tremendous insights into what they value most. Useful questions include:

  • What key objectives or pain points led you to search for a solution?
  • How do you define success and progress for initiatives related to our product?
  • What metrics or KPIs matter most to your business in this context?
  • In what ways have you seen our product influence these metrics?
  • What additional capabilities or integrations would expand value further?

Recording and transcribing these interviews provides a wealth of data to identify value drivers.

Send Customer Surveys

Well-crafted surveys are another avenue to gather value-focused customer insights at scale. Useful questions cover:

  • Rankings of the most critical needs or challenges they face that your offering addresses.
  • Ratings of the importance of specific product capabilities and integrations.
  • Estimates of various performance metrics before and after adopting your solution.
  • Open responses on the most significant business impacts or outcomes gained.

Anonymous survey data reveals where rep perceptions may misalign with customers’ true needs.

Consult Buyer Personas

While each customer is unique, common value drivers often emerge within industries, company sizes, or buyer personas. Review your profiles to understand priorities like:

  • Typical workflows or pain points for their role.
  • Key performance indicators they are compensated on.
  • Objectives tied to adopting new technology.
  • Pressures from management or other stakeholders.

These provide hypotheses to validate through research of actual individuals.

Track Customer Behavior

Finally, usage data, support inquiries, and other behavioral signals offer clues into which product capabilities customers engage with most. High-value features warrant greater promotion in conversations.

Ongoing customer research is invaluable for value selling. Speaking directly with users and studying their behaviors reveals the outcomes they truly prioritize.

Highlight Your Unique Value Proposition

Next, distill your value research into a compelling unique value proposition (UVP) that quantifies your differentiation. This serves as the cornerstone for sales materials and talking points. An effective UVP includes:

1. Target Customer: A short descriptor of your ideal customer persona (e.g. small business owners, corporate IT managers, etc.).

2. Common Struggle: The top challenge your customers face which motivates them to seek a solution.

3. Key Differentiator: What capability or expertise distinctly sets your offering apart from competitors.

4. Quantified Outcome: A data-backed projection of the tangible result a customer can expect by choosing your solution over alternatives.

For example:

(Target Customer)_SMB retailers _struggle with poor inventory visibility and supply chain disruptions_, but our_ patented IoT sensors provide real-time shelf and warehouse stock tracking to reduce out of stocks by 45%.

A concise, memorable UVP makes a strong elevator pitch and gives marketing content a consistent focus.

Provide Value Throughout the Sales Process

Representing customer value requires more than just claims in sales collateral – you must proactively nurture leads by providing value at each stage.

Attract: Value-Focused Content

Your website, ebooks, blogs, whitepapers and other educational materials should all focus on communicating customer value. Some helpful types of content include:

  • ROI calculators quantifying productivity gains or cost savings.
  • Interactive tools that model your product’s potential impact.
  • Case studies profiling results from existing customers.
  • Analyst reports validating your superior capabilities.
  • Product guides overviewing high-value applications.

Avoid generic, self-promotional content that touts features customers don’t connect with.

Connect: Value-Driven Outreach

When reps first engage leads via email or social media, customized value messaging cuts through the noise. Tailor outreach by:

  • Researching the prospect’s current role, company, and industry.
  • Identifying likely pain points or challenges based on their profile.
  • Speaking directly to solving for these points vs. offering a generic pitch.
  • Quantifying potential value with credible projections at the outset.

Personalized value focus piques interest and kickstarts meaningful conversations.

Assess: Value Discovery Questions

Discovery calls and meetings should focus on customer needs and quantifying potential value. Helpful questions include:

  • What are your main challenges related to [your solution]?
  • How does this impact your business from a metrics standpoint?
  • What KPIs matter most to your performance and stakeholders?
  • Where do you see the biggest gaps between current and desired performance?
  • How much value would solving X pain point provide if you had to estimate?

This dialogue builds rapport while uncovering data to refine value projections.

Advise: Data-Backed Value Propositions

When presenting proposed solutions, customized value proposition templates add credibility. Include:

  • Their current performance baselines.
  • Actual customer results and case studies demonstrating value with similar profiles.
  • Conservative estimates of improvement on metrics that matter most to the prospect.
  • A clear ROI projection based on quantifying the above value drivers.

Data-driven financial estimates sell value and justify your pricing.

In summary, value selling requires content, outreach, discovery, proposals and presentations all grounded in quantified value, not generic capabilities.

Sell Outcomes Not Products

For the value methodology to take hold, sales reps have critical new habits to adopt. They must:

Ask Outcome-Focused Questions

Traditionally, sales conversations focus on discussing product features and functionality in depth. Value selling takes an outside-in perspective starting with the customer’s objectives. As The Harris Group found, buyers are 5x more likely to think a rep understands them if they ask strategic, thought-provoking questions about their goals vs. leading with a product pitch.

Outcome-focused questions might include:

  • How do you currently handle [x process]?
  • What does success look like for this initiative from your perspective?
  • How would improving [x metric] impact the business?
  • What is the biggest obstacle preventing you from realizing that outcome?

This draws out the context required to tailor relevant value propositions.

Act as a Trusted Advisor

Rather than aggressively pushing for a close, value reps position themselves as expert guides helping prospects discover the best solution, whether or not it is their offering.

You earn trust by:

  • Demonstrating deep industry and role-specific knowledge.
  • Sharing insights even if not directly promotional.
  • Framing every conversation around the prospect’s goals.
  • Acknowledging competitors’ strengths fairly when asked.
  • Encouraging prospects to explain and clarify their needs.

This advisor mindset builds credibility through helpfulness.

Present Value-Centered Pitches

When discussing products, value reps still highlight differentiation but put it in context of outcomes prospects care about. For example:

Our cognitive search capabilities mean your recruiters can surface the most promising applicants 50% faster. Based on typical hiring volumes, that could save your HR department 200 hours annually that can be reallocated to high-value initiatives.

Pitches lead with quantifying the end result prospects want. Features enable that outcome.

Work Closely With Marketing

Marketing teams play an essential partnership role in value selling implementation. Close collaboration ensures alignment.

Co-Develop Value-Focused Content

Marketing creates most of the value-centered content described above that allows sales to lead with educational insights. This requires extensive coordination with sales and customer success to understand value drivers.

Provide Value Storytelling Guidance

More than product expertise, sales reps need storytelling skills to convey value persuasively. Marketing can provide messaging guidance, sample narratives, presentation templates, and roleplaying.

Craft Value-Centered Campaigns

From ads to emails and nurture streams, all multi-touch campaigns should consistently map back to reinforcing quantified value. Marketing sets the table for sales.

Report on Multi-Channel Attribution

Analyzing what content and channels influence opportunities progressing shows where value resonates most. This guides better lead routing and sales prioritization.

Ultimately both sales and marketing must constantly reinforce value vs. features to transform the customer experience.

Arm Sales Teams With Value-Focused Resources

For frontline reps to put value selling into practice, they need to be thoroughly trained and enabled. Helpful resources include:

Value Messaging Documents

Consolidate quantified value propositions, customer outcomes, key differentiators, and value messaging themes into reference documents reps can utilize in customer conversations and proposals.

Value Discovery Questionnaires

Provide reps a pre-defined list of value-focused questions to ask prospects throughout the sales process to guide productive conversations.

ValueCalculator Tools

Simple ROI modeling tools reps can use interactively with prospects during calls to quantify potential customer value are incredibly powerful to make value tangible.

Value-Based Presentations

In addition to product overviews, provide presentation templates organized around common customer challenges, case studies, and data demonstrating value.

Objection Rebuttals Centered on Value

When drafting replies to common pricing, competitor, or other objections, equip reps to redirect focus to the disproportionate value received.

Coaching on Value Skills

Sales coaching and manager feedback should prioritize assessing and developing reps’ ability to ask probing questions, convey authenticity, and keep discussions centered on customer outcomes.

With comprehensive training and enablement, frontline teams can skillfully execute value selling.

The market-leading brands almost invariably build their entire customer interactions around quantified value and business outcomes. They realize value selling isn’t just another tactic but a complete realignment of sales around the principles buyers truly care about.

While adopting this methodology requires significant change management, organizations willing to undertake the effort build trust, relevance, and competitive differentiation that delivers results.

While a value based approach delivers results, sales teams can undermine its effectiveness through avoidable missteps. Be aware of these common pitfalls to ensure smooth implementation:

Not Providing Proof for Claims of Product Value

The core premise of value selling is quantifying your impact on key metrics. But reps often still rely on vague claims that lack hard evidence.

For instance, stating “Our AI recommendation engine will drive sales” does little to convince prospects. But saying “Our AI typically increases repeat purchase rates by 30% – from 20% to 26% on average” demonstrates proof.

Without backing up assertions, value propositions ring hollow. Prospects today demand data and specifics. Make sure reps have access to proof points like:

  • Credible industry research demonstrating your capabilities.
  • Calculators to model the prospect’s potential ROI.
  • Specific examples of results from existing customers.
  • Third-party validation through analyst reports, awards, etc.

Take the time to arm reps with third-party validated data to quantify promises.

Pushing Products vs. Listening to Customers

Another common pitfall is reps getting eager and lapsing into product-pitching habits. This defeats the purpose of value selling.

83% of buyers say salespeople need to understand their business better. Make sure reps avoid these product-centric tendencies:

  • Leading with features or capabilities before understanding customers’ needs.
  • Overwhelming buyers with complex technical details off the bat.
  • Proposing broad solutions before identifying the highest-value use cases.
  • Rushing to quote pricing or create proposals without quantifying business outcomes.

It takes discipline to keep conversations focused on customer challenges and measurable impact. But that discipline is the heart of value selling.

Failing to Customize Value Messaging

Even when sales teams understand value selling principles, the execution sometimes misses the mark due to lack of relevance.

For example, sharing value propositions from past deals without customizing them to the prospect’s unique situation still feels salesy. Other examples include:

  • Presenting broad industry data without tying it back to their metrics.
  • Suggesting valuable features before confirming they apply to the customer’s needs.
  • Using value messaging copy-and-pasted across very different personas.

Personalization is what establishes the consultative dynamic essential for value selling. Reps need adequate time for discovery and customization.

Not Delivering on Promised Value Post-Purchase

The final mistake that erodes trust in value selling is failing to deliver concrete results after securing the deal.

Despite projections and promises during the sales process, many vendors come up short in driving ROI. Others don’t report back at all on whether outcomes materialized.

To avoid this misstep:

  • Verify projected outcomes with benchmarks both early on and over time.
  • Proactively report metrics and successes to customers post-purchase.
  • Re-engage at renewal with a review of value delivered.
  • Address any gaps between expected and actual results.

Following through to guarantee promised impact sustains the customer’s perception of value long-term.

Other Common Value Selling Mistakes

  • Relying purely on past data without customizing projections.
  • Neglecting to quantify cost savings and efficiency gains – not just growth.
  • Using overly aggressive projections that set unrealistic expectations.
  • Failing to tie value to the buyer’s role-specific metrics and KPIs.
  • Trying to become value focused overnight without laying groundwork.
  • Not having differentiated or verifiable value drivers to promote.
  • Assuming the purchase committee all perceives value the same way.
  • Pitching value only during sales calls instead of all interactions.

Avoiding these missteps requires a measured approach:

  • Establishing achievable goals for value focus.
  • Thoughtfully rolling out adoption across teams.
  • Ongoing training and coaching around best practices.
  • Gathering feedback to improve implementation over time.

With careful, strategic execution, value selling transforms sales performance and the customer relationship lifecycle.

Key Takeaways on Mistakes to Avoid With Value Selling:

  • Vague claims without quantified proof undermine the methodology.
  • Reps must listen first before pitching solutions.
  • Value propositions require customization to resonate.
  • Following through to guarantee impact builds loyalty.
  • Moving too quickly without preparation backfires.

While integrating a value mindset has challenges, meticulous planning and commitment to excellence minimizes risks. Maintain perspective on the end goal of value selling – delivering measurably better customer experiences.

Implementing value based selling effectively requires diligence and commitment from sales teams. Follow these tips and best practices to get the most from this methodology:

Focus on Lifetime Customer Value Over Individual Sales

Value selling centers on long-term relationships versus quick, transactional sales. This requires a mindset shift for many reps.

Rather than pushing for deals at any cost, focus on nurturing leads that see genuine value in your offering. Be patient closing business if more discovery conversations will strengthen perceived value.

When evaluating rep performance, prioritize metrics like:

  • Lifetime account value versus immediate deal size. Does revenue increase over time?
  • Low customer churn rates and retention versus new customer acquisition only. Are you keeping users?
  • High customer satisfaction and likelihood to recommend scores. How loyal are existing customers?

With the right lifetime-oriented metrics driving behavior, sales teams take a more consultative approach to provide lasting value.

Be Patient – Value Based Sales Cycles Are Longer

Quantifying value and identifying the best solution for a customer takes time. Reps accustomed to quick feature pitches and proposals may grow impatient.

According to CSO Insights, 77% of buyers require sales reps to provide quantified business value and ROI analysis during the sales process. Rushing through this analysis backfires.

Keep these pointers in mind to avoid frustration:

  • Set proper expectations with management on longer deal cycles.
  • Focus on quality conversations versus call volume quotas.
  • Avoid proposing solutions without adequate discovery.
  • Get comfortable with silence and listening versus filling air time.
  • Follow up consistently without being perceived as overly pushy.

Trust in the process. Value selling delivers enterprise deals with staying power.

Use Customer Data and Personas to Guide Conversations

The most successful value reps utilize data versus relying on instincts alone. Useful sources include:

  • Individual prospect research to estimate their metrics as a baseline.
  • Firmographic data on companies’ industries, sizes, etc. to segment priorities.
  • Win/loss analysis to identify recurring value drivers in won deals.
  • Longitudinal customer health scores to anticipate needs proactively.

And of course, conduct ongoing user interviews and survey customers to keep personas aligned with the latest insights.

Data combined with conversational skills are a winning combination for value selling mastery.

Leverage Case Studies and Testimonials

Credible proof is essential to quantifying potential value. But prospects still have doubt.

That’s why case studies and testimonials are invaluable:

  • 78% of buyers find case studies very influential in purchase decisions.
  • 90% of buyers say authentic testimonials increased their trust.

The most persuasive validation combines:

  • Impressive customer logos and titles. Buying authority matters.
  • Specific details on obstacles overcome and measurable impact achieved.
  • Direct customer quotes on their experience and tangible results.
  • Similar profiles and use cases to the prospect’s own scenario.

Rotate fresh examples covering different challenges, industries, and buyer types.

Experiment With Different Types of Value Messaging

As described in our sections on value selling principles and mistakes to avoid, different prospects perceive value in various ways. Experiment to determine what resonates best with each customer segment.

Try leading with each of these value drivers in separate campaigns:

  • Reduced costs
  • Increased revenue
  • Improved productivity
  • Higher customer satisfaction
  • Faster time-to-market
  • Better quality
  • More flexibility
  • Greater efficiency
  • Reduced risk
  • Improved competitiveness

The most compelling value propositions likely combine multiple types of impact. But determining which resonate most with each persona is invaluable.

More Tips for Value Selling Success:

  • Ask for feedback. After meetings and demos, ask prospects directly what value resonated or seemed unclear.
  • Reframe objections around value. When prospects raise concerns, redirect the discussion to value delivered versus giving discounts.
  • Calculate total ROI. Estimate both direct cost savings and incremental revenue gains your solution drives.
  • Relate value to emotions. Tie outcomes like productivity or profit back to intangible goals like pride or peace of mind.
  • Get visual. Use charts, graphs, and illustrations to make statistical value projections more memorable and intuitive.
  • Leverage incentives. Offer free trials, demos, or pilots for prospects to experience your value firsthand.
  • Promote hidden value. Don’t assume prospects immediately recognize all the ways your offering can impact their goals.

With a dedication to continuous improvement, refinement of value messaging, and customer research, value selling success will come.

Key Takeaways on Value Selling Best Practices

  • Focus on lifetime customer value not one-off sales.
  • Quantified value propositions need proof through case studies and testimonials.
  • Patience is required as value-based deal cycles are longer.
  • Ongoing experimentation and customer feedback help sharpen messaging.
  • Both cost savings and new revenue opportunities make compelling value.

Keep these tips top of mind to help your sales team have richer conversations grounded in what matters most to customers.

Value based selling is often confused with the similarly named “solution selling” methodology. While the two have some overlap, there are important differences in focus and approach.

Understanding these nuances helps sales teams know when to apply each method for the best results.

Core Differences Between Value and Solution Selling

At a high-level, the core differences between value and solution selling include:


  • Value selling: Focused on desired customer outcomes and quantifiable ROI.
  • Solution selling: Focused on technical fit of your products or services.


  • Value selling: Consultative approach with value as the driver throughout.
  • Solution selling: Structured process leading with pain points but transitions to selling solutions.


  • Value selling: Promotes business impact first, features second.
  • Solution selling: Dives deeper into product details and capabilities.

Rep Mindset:

  • Value selling: Rep as expert consultant guiding customer outcomes.
  • Solution selling: Rep as problem solver explaining your technical solution.

While subtler in execution, these philosophical differences manifest in how each methodology structures sales conversations.

When To Use Value Based Selling

Value based selling thrives when:

Products offer clear ROI: You can quantify end outcomes enabled by your offering with metrics like cost savings, revenue increases, faster time-to-market, etc.

Sales cycles are long: Developing customized ROI models takes time. Value selling excels for enterprise sales.

Buyers are analytical: Data-driven messages resonate best with technical, financial, or otherwise analytical buyers.

Competition lacks differentiation: If features are commoditized, value selling highlights your unique impact.

Business objectives vary: Understanding each customer’s goals is key to tailoring projected value.

MediaAlpha’s value selling focuses on risk reduction and revenue gains for clients. This quantified value proposition beats competitors.

When To Use Solution Selling Instead

Alternatively, pure solution selling has advantages when:

Products are highly technical: Diving into details is required to demonstrate capabilities for engineering buyers.

Sales cycles are short: Quick sales leave less time for value modeling. Simple pitches work faster.

Buyers lack business context: Consumers buying for personal use care less about ROI metrics.

Your product competes on features: Leading with system capabilities or configurations can differentiate you.

Buyer objectives align: For homogeneous markets, one core pitch with minimal customization can work.

Fintech startup Lance uses solution selling to highlight its advanced fraud detection features when selling to banks.

Blending Value and Solution Selling Strategies

Of course, the two methodologies are not mutually exclusive. There is significant overlap between value and solution selling:

  • Both emphasize understanding customers’ problems first before proposing solutions.
  • Each utilizes ROIs and TCO models to build the business case.
  • They qualify prospects based on budget, need, and value alignment.
  • Handling objections and negotiating remain largely the same.

As such, most sales teams take a hybrid approach based on factors like deal size, industry, buyer persona, product offerings, and competitive landscape.

For example, value selling may be most critical for net-new enterprise logos with long, complex sales cycles to drive urgency and differentiation.

Meanwhile, solution selling could work fine for smaller or simpler deals selling into established customers where need is clearer.

Cross-functional collaboration ensures sales, marketing, product, and customer success teams are aligned on when to emphasize value vs. solution selling.

Tips for Blending Value and Solution Strategies:

  • Lead with pain points. Establish understanding of customer needs as the foundation.
  • Provide ROI estimates early. Quickly summarizing potential value builds credibility regardless of methodology.
  • Describe capabilities briefly. Don’t dive deep into product features without tying back to outcomes.
  • Ask discovery questions. Learn more about the customer’s business to inform projections.
  • Remain flexible. Be ready to switch approaches based on prospect responses and engagement.
  • Avoid buzzwords. Terms like “value selling’ mean little to customers – keep messaging benefit-driven.
  • Customize messaging. Tailor value focus for stakeholders and situations where it resonates most.

With the right balance, sales teams can make the most of both value and solution selling – adapted to each customer.

Key Takeaways on Value Selling vs. Solution Selling

  • Value selling focuses on ROI while solution selling dives into product details.
  • Use value selling for complex, long sales cycles and solution selling for simpler deals.
  • Blending both strategies customized by customer is usually most effective.
  • Regardless of approach, establishing pain points first is foundational.
  • Neither buzzwords nor jargon resonate – keep language outcome-focused.

Understanding when to apply value or solution selling gives sales teams more arrows in their quiver to engage, persuade, and drive revenue.

While mindset and messaging are most important, sales teams need tools and systems to enable value selling execution.

The right technology stack provides underlying data, content, and automation capabilities to deliver value at scale. Useful solutions include:

CRMs to Store and Access Customer Data

Value selling lives or dies based on understanding each customer’s unique environment. CRM and sales intelligence systems like:

  • Salesforce
  • Hubspot CRM
  • Pipedrive
  • Outreach

Offer a centralized database for capturing prospect and customer data relevant to tailoring value messaging. Useful information types include:

Firmographic Data – Industry, sub-industry, size, location, culture, etc. Critical for segmenting priorities.

Organizational Charts – Visibility into stakeholders’ roles and influence helps determine what outcomes will resonate most.

Customer Feedback – Direct quotes and insights on needs to incorporate into value propositions.

Win/Loss Data – Identify recurring value drivers in won deals to double down on in conversations.

Product Usage – Signals around highly utilized capabilities indicate where value is highest.

With clean organized records, reps can research accounts and execute value selling faster.

Analytics to Quantify Outcomes

Next, analytics tools provide the hard data required to model and quantify potential customer value and ROIs.

  • Google Analytics
  • Mixpanel
  • Amplitude

For example, analytics can uncover:

  • Average revenue increase or cost savings from your product.
  • Typical upticks in conversion rates, cart sizes, LTV and other metrics.
  • Benchmarks for improvements to productivity, satisfaction, or churn to highlight.

This concrete evidence derived from usage allows reps to substantiate claims with credible projections.

Content Platforms to Share Value-Focused Materials

Equipping reps with value-centered content is critical for consistent execution. Helpful solutions include:

  • Content management systems like WordPress
  • Sales enablement platforms such as Seismic or Highspot
  • Marketing automation systems with content like HubSpot

These tools allow collateral development and distribution that highlights customer value vs generic promotional materials. They centralize resources like:

Value Proposition Templates – Frameworks with key data points reps can easily tailor for each prospect.

ROI Calculators – Models to estimate potential improvement based on benchmarks.

Presentations – Visual sales materials focused on business impact.

One Pagers – Concise leave-behinds recapping projected value.

Case Studies – Success stories proving outcomes enjoyed by other buyers.

Objection Rebuttals – Responses to common concerns framed around overcoming obstacles to value.

With turnkey content at their fingertips, reps stay on-message while saving time.

Email and Marketing Automation to Nurture Leads

Finally, marketing automation empowers value selling through personalized, scaled outreach. Systems like:

  • HubSpot
  • Pardot
  • ActiveCampaign
  • Ontraport

Enable capabilities like:

Value-Driven Drip Campaigns – Emails, ads and other touches consistently reinforcing ROI.

Personalization – Dynamic content tailored to each prospect’s needs and priorities.

Lead Scoring – Visibility into engagement to identify hottest prospects primed for value selling.

Sales Insights – CRM integration provides background to inform rep outreach.

Attribution – Track what content and channels influence deal progression to optimize resource allocation.

Marketers and sales reps should collaborate closely on applying automation to nurture more deals through value selling.

Bonus Tools to Consider

A few additional solutions that enable effective value selling include:

Proposal Software – Build personalized proposals positioning your solution around projected ROI.

Sales Engagement Platforms – Orchestrate 1:1 messaging across channels scaled by customer value.

Contracts Management – Link terms and pricing to value delivered over time.

Virtual Assistants – Analyze customer data to serve up key insights for each conversation.

Intelligence Platforms – Append firmographic data to model outcomes for contacts.

Sales Coaching Tools – Provide feedback to reps on quantification and value messaging skills.

Investing in the right tools ensures consistency, maximizes leverage, and gives reps advantages to win on value.

Key Takeaways on Enabling Technology

  • CRMs compile customer data required to tailor value messaging.
  • Analytics quantify product impact to substantiate projected ROIs.
  • Content platforms arm reps with value focused collateral.
  • Marketing automation nurtures leads with personalized value messaging at scale.
  • A cohesive martech stack drives alignment on delivering value.

With the right solutions sales teams have the fundamentals – data, content, and automation – to execute value selling systematically. Technology and processes enable customer-centricity at scale.

Key Takeaways on Value Based Selling

Value based selling is increasingly important for sales teams to stand out by promoting differentiated value over features. Key takeaways include:

  • Value based selling focuses sales conversations on quantified customer ROI and business outcomes.
  • This methodology builds trust, strengthens loyalty, and shortens sales cycles.
  • Key steps include researching customers, highlighting unique value, and providing ROI projections.
  • Reps must act as consultants focused on value vs transactional sellers.
  • Value delivery continues post-sale by reinforcing outcomes achieved over time.
  • Blending value and solution selling customized by customer is often optimal.
  • Supporting technology like CRMs, analytics, and marketing automation enable execution at scale.
  • Quantifying value in the buyer’s specific terms is essential to making concepts tangible.
  • Patience and discipline are required as value-based deal cycles are longer but result in higher conversions.
  • Ongoing training, coaching, and content focus must align sales teams on providing value.

By keeping value the cornerstone of every interaction, sales professionals can have more authentic conversations resulting in happier, longer-lasting customers.

Here are some proposed frequently asked questions for the value based selling article:

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main benefits of value based selling?

The core benefits of value based selling include higher win rates, larger deal sizes, improved customer loyalty, and faster sales cycles by focusing conversations on quantified ROI and business outcomes.

How is value based selling different from solution selling?

Value selling focuses on desired customer outcomes while solution selling dives deeper into technical product details and configurations. Value selling takes a consultative approach centered on ROI.

What kinds of metrics are used in value based selling?

Common metrics used in value selling conversations include cost savings, revenue increases, productivity gains, churn reduction, faster time-to-market, and improvements in conversion rates, deal sizes or other KPIs.

How much time does it take to implement value based selling?

Shifting to value based selling takes significant change management and rollout time – likely 6 months minimum for solid adoption. Expect longer deal cycles but higher conversion rates. Gradual adoption aligned to sales stages is recommended.

What objections arise most often with value based selling?

Common objections center around credibility of ROI projections, hesitance to share data required for modeling, intangible benefits that are difficult to quantify, and the extended time required for value conversations versus feature pitches.

How should reps respond if buyers don’t know their metrics?

Ask questions to infer likely metrics, offer industry benchmarks as a starting point, or suggest capturing usage data for a set period to better estimate a baseline for modeling projections.

What mistakes cause value based selling initiatives to fail?

Common pitfalls include vague claims lacking quantified proof, failing to customize value messaging, reps lacking patience and lapsing into feature pitching habits, and not following through to guarantee projected results post-sale.

How can marketing and sales align on value selling?

Marketing provides value focused content, messaging guidance, and campaigns that enable sales. Close collaboration ensures consistency between marketing and sales in keeping value central to prospect and customer interactions.