Creating value for prospective and current customers is the quintessential role of enterprise sales professionals in today’s complex tech world. Time and time again, sales professionals that believe in what they’re selling and invest significant time into learning everything they can about the prospect’s needs create significant value. They also win again and again against competitors, against indecision, and against the prospect feeling of being persuaded to take action.
By creating significant value over and over again, these sales professionals WIN by:
- Creating trust-filled relationships that will purchase again
- Obtaining warm introductions and referrals
- Setting the stage for upsells and cross-sells later
- Helping their own organization exceed goals
- Attaining significant quota retirement and financial rewards
As we’ve begun to uncover in our recent blog series, “People > Processes”, sales professionals don’t always have the greatest of reputations: money hungry, pushy, uncaring, cold, and even dishonest are words often used to describe those in the profession. However, in enterprise technology sales (among other complex industries) that belief is completely untrue. Most have a tangible passion for helping their prospects and customers obtain the solutions that will help them scale, grow revenue, and eliminate wasted processes. In this article, we’ll examine 5 ways that sales professionals win by adding value to prospects, customers, their own organization, and their own pocketbooks.
Sales Professionals Win When Value is #1
Value is a term that’s thrown around all too often, but it’s meaning is no less important. The dictionary defines value as, “the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.” When an enterprise sales professional spends substantial time with a prospect, asking significant questions and internalizing the needs, challenges, goals, and opportunities, he’s well positioned to recommend a product or solution that will add worth or usefulness, thereby providing “value”. In our experience, the below 5 outcomes occur when a sales professional focuses on value as the #1 priority:
1. Creating trust-filled relationships that will purchase again
People buy from those that they trust, and enterprise sales is no different. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average tenure of an individual was just 4.2 years in 2016. Along with that, the average person changes jobs between 10 – 15 times during their career. If the decision maker or financial buyer at a company follows this trend, then it’s likely they’ll be in a new position at a different company in just a few years. If the sales professional provided immense value in their previous position by recommending the right solution and services, then there’s a high chance that individual will decide to engage with the company again and bring the new technology into his or her new workplace.
2. Obtaining warm introductions and referrals
Referral-based close ratios hover between 50 to 70% (sometimes even higher) than other sales channels, which tend to average 10 to 30%. More often than not, a satisfied customer jumps at the chance to introduce a sales professional to peers or others in the industry that may benefit from the products or services. However, this is only true for sales professionals that consistently build trust and provide value throughout the entire sales cycle. In the world of technology sales specifically, the influencer circle is relatively small. Thanks to online sources like LinkedIn, G2Crowd, and Glassdoor, reputation (both positive and negative) travels fast. Those that consistently exceed expectations of their stakeholders and don’t just move on from a deal while the ink is still drying can gain significant traction by asking for warm introductions and referrals.
3. Setting the stage for upsells and cross-sells later
Even after a prospect signs the initial contract with a company, many sales professionals have the ability to upsell or cross-sell their named accounts for at least a 12-month period, if not longer. If the initial product or services sold have helped the customer reach their goals, then it’s probable that they will be interested in new features, increased user licenses, or a larger services package down the road. While the initial enterprise deal may only be a small portion of the potential business, sales professionals that don’t try to over-sell will almost always make up for it on the backend. They do this by building trust and slowly proving value to different departments or business units where they can continue to increase the contract value.
4. Attaining significant quota retirement and financial rewards
Most obviously, the sales professional wins by being able to retire quota and earn that (potentially) giant commission check. While this is rarely the sole reason enterprise sales professionals are in the business, the financial rewards can eventually be significant and attractive (it does, however, take sales professionals time to ramp—up to 6 months in many cases). Most SaaS sales professionals understand, though, that over-selling or trying to push too hard to get a deal across the line simply isn’t worth the negative long-term impact that it can cause. In the world of complex technology sales, a short-term sacrifice in the name of the prospect’s goals often results in better long-term gain.
5. Helping their own organization exceed goals
When we think about winning in enterprise sales, we tend to think about adding value to prospects while also benefiting our own wallets. But there’s an important third element that cannot be ignored that is actually the propellant to having a successful sales career in the first place.
Jonathan Sherman, SAE at Pluralsight, recently told us in our People > Processes interview that he also has an important responsibility to his own company, which is to deliver financial success. He explained that balance is found between adding value to the prospect and adding value to his own organization. If a sales professional delivers success and value to his or her customers, then those accounts will grow. The end result is mutually beneficial for everyone involved.
Ready to Learn More?
For more information on best practices of great sales leaders, check out the Costello resources below. If you’d like to see Costello in action, request a personalized demo of our real-time sales playbook software.