May 3, 2024 - Ascender Insights: Common Mistakes When Trying to Articulate Value [Event Recap]

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Joe Huber
Joe Huber Member [Pro], Administrator Posts: 242
edited May 6 in Ascender Announcements

Diana Sheley went live with Ascender to talk about the common mistakes that people make when they're trying to articulate value. She shared some excellent tips and answered lots of great questions.

Due to a technical issue, the recording from this session is unfortunately unavailable.

But we've got you covered on the key points of the webinar here with a recap and the slides from the presentation. Be sure to check back later this week for a resource we're excited to create and share!

Does the Ascender Community seem like a place you'd want to be where you can join live events or seek answers from peers and Force Management's world-class facilitators, alike? Then email us at Community@Ascender.co for your first year of the Ascender Connect plan for free, giving you access to the Explore and Engage tabs!

Some key points from the talk:

  • Influence & Prioritize
    • Influence required capabilities
      • You can't just be a note taker
      • You need to know when to solve and when to influence
        • Diana says, "It's really easy to just want to jump in and solve things. It seems easier and allows you to control the narrative, but it's not THEIR narrative. You need to remind yourself throughout the process that they're the ones that are going to make the decision in the end. You're there to help guide and influence."
        • One of our commenters shared, "I think control is a myth. Always remember that the Buyer is in control. You can only influence."
      • Get the entire picture
      • Be strategic about your discovery questions
    • Prioritizing Required Capabilities
      • Ask people, directly and clearly, to lay out their required capabilities. Ask them to stack rank them.
        • "People rarely argue with their own conclusions"
        • Diana says, "People make this part a lot tougher than it needs to be, at times. We can just be direct and ask the customer what's important. You're not going to convince them to change their opinion of something that's, in their minds, not important. (She talks more about this in the "Focusing on Value" section, below).

          We have to be in a place of trust before we can get real answers. So be curious, open-minded, and strategic about what you're asking and when."
  • Understand & Differentiate
    • One of the top skills when conversing with a customer is to "hear" what they do not express
    • Seek to Understand
      • Be curious and pay attention
      • They might not be expressing something, so you need to note that and understand what might be behind the surface
      • Diana says, "Everyone says they know not to do it, but it can be comforting to just jump into features when things aren't going the way we want. We think we're delivering value because we're helping to solve their issues. But what if it's not the solution they're looking for? If things feel uncomfortable, take a beat and re-center. Get confirmation. You are here to understand the entire picture, so take your time and get it right."
    • Clearly differentiate
      • You're differentiating so that they can visualize the future
      • Check to make sure you didn't add things that they don't need
      • Gain validating to confirm
        • Oftentimes, we assume that we've differentiated, but the customer doesn't agree
  • Focusing on Value
    • Create the space for your customers to be real with you
      • Too often, we aren't creating a space for people to tell us the truth, and so they tell us what they want us to hear. But that doesn't do us any justice and we end up having to work upstream or finding out that we've been working on the wrong things. This can cost us time, but more often is can cost us the entire deal.
      • Diana says, "Build an experience they will remember. Find a way to stand out as a salesperson. Be different, be bold, but be authentic. You'll have to work to create a safe space where you can get the truth!"
    • Articulate Value Clearly
      • Everyone thinks they're articulating value clearly, but so often we're just saying the things that have worked on other calls. Ask yourself some questions and then verify it with the customer.
      • Diana says, "It's not enough to just think you have value. Ask yourself questions to make sure that you've got the right points that you want to be working on, but then be direct and ask your client if they see it the same way. You can not assume, especially when it comes to this part of sales. If the prospect or customer is on a different wavelength, you're not working toward the same goals."
    • Focus on the Right Things
      • If they're talking price, they're not seeing the value.
      • Your Champion needs to understand and verbally agree to the value you're discussing.
    • The Honey-Do List Story
      • Diana says, "We once did a training session and I asked if anyone there had a healthy honey-do list. A volunteer put up their hand and after some time talking, they mentioned that their fiancée had requested that the porch fan be fixed. It had been five months of it not being fixed! So we dug a little deeper into why he wasn't fixing the fan, and we arrived at, 'It's not a problem for me. I don't really sit outside.'

        And there it was! Our eureka moment!

        People do things for one of two reasons: They are in pain and it's causing problems. OR it's exciting and the prospect of changing things could lead the organization in an entirely new direction. In this case, it wasn't a problem to our volunteer because he never sat on the porch and it wasn't exciting to them because it wouldn't really be a big new get. No pain. No excitement. No change."
      • Joe shared, "I come from the buyer's side, but I can say that early in my career, I had a hard time selling the idea of community or community software internally because I didn't do 'executive speak' and didn't know the best way to sell my ideas internally. So even when I was willing to be a Champion, I couldn't move the needle as well internally and lacked the influence to convince others. Coaching your prospects on value and what to speak to is key to getting to the economic buyer."
  • Proof Points
    • You have 90 seconds or less to deliver relevant proof points
    • It must be interesting AND relevant!!!!
      • Don't just try to tell the same story over and over
      • Diana says, "It is really easy for people to fall in love with ONE proof point story. You can't do that. Founders will get like this often, but your job isn't just to show that one really cool story worked. You need to find the right story for the right person at the right time."
    • Remember this conversational flow: Problem - Solution - Proof
      • Problem: You have a confirmed problem that both you and the customer are in agreement on.
      • Solution: You have a clear solution that the customer has agreed would be an ideal solution for their problem.
      • Proof: Your proof point is relevant, powerful, dynamic, and delivered at the appropriate time.

Additional Resources

Podcast: Articulating Value and Differentiation After the Sale

Article: Five Ways to Prepare for Your Next Sales Meeting

Podcast: Competing Against Other Priorities

Video: Making Sure the Customer Understands Your Differentiation

Article: The Currency of Value

Article: Remember These Steps to a Value-Based Sales Conversation