Skip to main content

Creating a Culture of Value Consulting

Rew Dickinson (LinkedIn) is the CEO of Alpha Presales, an organization dedicated to Sales Engineering training and development.

According to G2 Research, buyers prioritize value over cost of ownership when making purchase decisions. But when “simple ROI calculations fail to capture the full impact of a solution’s potential,” how do you define value and who should be responsible for demonstrating it to customers?

Given that buyer trust of salespeople is at an all-time-low, PreSales is optimally positioned to fill the gap. Technical Sales leaders, then, must spearhead and own value internally and externally.

As a Technical Sales leader, how do you create a culture of value consulting?

What is Value?

Value is not inherent in your product, platform, or service. Rather, from the perspective of your buyer, value is the difference between their current and desired future state

Value is differential and highly specific to each individual, based on their business needs, personal goals, pain points, and current tools/resources. 

Four major pillars contribute to value: knowledge, clarity, discovery, and leadership. Teach your SEs to not only know the product and clarify buyer pain via proper discovery, but also to lead and actively guide the buyer on their journey. 

Show them the value you can provide to address their needs, even if it’s different from their own expectations.

Barriers to Value

Every organization aspires to provide value to buyers; it’s not a novel concept. But why do so many companies fail to implement a successful consulting motion?

From discussions with Technical Sales leaders, common barriers to value can be categorized as either related to organizational structures and processes or to knowledge gaps among personnel:

Organizational Barriers:

  • Sales processes with inadequate discovery or inadequate incentives to disqualify early
  • PreSales team members overextended and lacking capacity for proper discovery 
  • Lack of internal alignment on value metrics

Knowledge Barriers:

  • Most Sales Engineers understand product more than they understand value. Value comes from understanding the buyer. 
  • Many SEs are long-winded, and the more they talk, the more they muddy the value proposition of their solution. 
  • Many SEs lack discovery skills and the ability to dig deep in order to uncover client pains and the future value of their solution. 
  • Most Sales Engineers are so smart that they feel more comfortable reacting and taking orders from their clients and their sales reps, rather than confidently leading their client to their best outcome.

In summary, most PreSales professionals don’t fully understand value and don’t realize that it’s not just an ROI calculator that no one will believe. To sell value, SEs need to uplevel their discovery, clarity, and client leadership skills.

Getting Buy-In and Starting a Value Consulting Culture

Another barrier: getting caught in the nuances of nomenclature and needing to hire specialists. Although Value Engineers or Value Consultants can provide incredible results back to the business, it’s easier to justify headcount once you’ve already set the foundation and can show initial results to your CRO.

With a few simple steps, PreSales leaders can lay the foundation for a value consulting culture without additional headcount.

1. Educate Everyone on your team on the meaning of value, beyond ROI calculations.

2. Elevate Someone: Appoint a value lead on your team to research personas, align to use cases, and quantify value. This person should like learning, math, and finance. They should also be able to teach. This approach is helpful when you can’t formally promote someone but want to give them visibility. 

3. Set Expectations with Sales: Approach Sales for a conversation about what you can do to help them close deals faster. Show them the value lead’s output and how it can lead to stronger, larger deals. Don’t be the discovery police with Sales. Instead, help them understand what a true value consulting output looks like and how it can fit into their existing process.

Why should you make a change?

Despite the upfront change management, a value consulting culture benefits not only the broader company but also your own team. Getting buy-in from within the PreSales organization and from cross-functional teams requires that you highlight short- and long-term wins. 

For PreSales, focusing on value can help increase capacity and reduce activities, disqualify bad deals faster, and help grow your team. Embedding value consulting into technical sales processes can help SEs do their jobs better and faster.  

For your company, value selling results in closing bigger deals, faster, with less discounting. It also helps make customers “stickier,” proactively reducing churn and setting mutual expectations of post-sale value realization.

In short, starting with value saves everyone in the long-term.

Conclusion

Eventually you may need to go to Revenue leadership to get dedicated resources for a formal Value Engineering or Value Consulting team. With the above approach, when you do need to make that ask, you will be able to point to the Value Lead’s track record and make the case for a FTE. 

Think of it as making your own value case for PreSales. You need to frame success outcomes in the language of the needs and pain points of your “buyer,” whether that be the CRO, CFO, or other leaders. You will actively guide them to understand not only the value of value consulting, but also why a more formal program with dedicated resources is critical to the health and success of the overall business.

About Alpha Presales

Alpha Presales is an organization dedicated to Sales Engineering training and development, with an emphasis on discovery, storytelling and becoming a consultative client leader. For more information, visit www.alphapresales.com or reach out to Rew Dickinson at rew@alphapresales.com.  

Salesforce Ventures’ Advice to CEOs and What it Means for PreSales Leaders
About the Author: Matt Darrow (LinkedIn) is an engineer- turned PreSales &...
READ MORE
Introducing the XC Executive Committee
We are excited to introduce the inaugural Xpert Community Executive Committee, a...
READ MORE
Establish an SE Enablement Program: Creating a Multi-Faceted Approach for Success
Marjorie Abdelkrime (LinkedIn), with over 20 years of experience in the tech...
READ MORE

Become an Xpert Community
Member Today