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Forrester: Salespeople fail to understand how value adds up for buyers

12th Jun 2013
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How many of your salespeople really understand how their buyers calculate value in what you provide?  

Well, according to Forrester analyst Mark Lindwall, not many. In a new blog post, he explains that ‘far too many’ B2B salespeople lack understanding of the basis for which a prospective customer is really making a decision.

“Think about your own buying experiences,” he says. “Out of all of the salespeople who you’ve ever interacted with, how many can you think of who asked the right questions to really truly understood what you were trying to accomplish and what you and your company were most concerned about (other than price)?  

Lindwall believes that it’s those salespeople who understand the real source of value for each buyer who succeed, and understand that it’s only the customers (and not marketing departments) that can determine whether a product is valuable or not.

“To understand buyers is to understand what drives their value decisions,” he says.

The analyst outlines Forrester’s Value Equation framework and explains that only  after gathering crucial information about the customer to understand the impact a buyer needs and the risks that concern them can price then become a relevant discussion.

“A significant problem for many companies (and their salespeople) is that their product managers, marketers, and sales trainers believe that their products or services have intrinsic value that just needs to be presented to make sales,” he says. “In reality, buyers are the only real judges of value, and they don’t care about your offering unless it has the specific impact they desire at an acceptable level of risk and investment to gain that impact.

“Your product may fit a technical or functional need just perfectly. But so what? There is an oversupply of “solutions” that work, so pitching products is, at best, a luck of the draw proposition in the new economy. The key to pursuing the right opportunities and winning is really understanding the buyer’s own value equation and using it to help them solve business problems.”

In another blog post, Lindwall depicted the selling systems of most companies as being "true chaos" with many sales leaders plodding the seemingly endless search for the right “solution” to improve sales performance. 

"To truly transform sales performance, overcome the challenges of this new economy, win new customers, and elevate value for business stakeholders, a new 21st century selling system is the only way forward," he concludes.  

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