Downturns happen. We saw them in 2000 and 2008. Granted, this one is a little more interesting and there’s no question restarting the economy will be bumpy, but the return on investment (ROI) is a measurement that always sells. Gone are the days where sales are driven by gut feel or “nice to have.” If you want to restart strong, focus your Sales and Marketing efforts on ROI.
Strong Benefits Matter, Weak Ones Don’t
Technically, there are four ways to realize benefits, from first-order (cutting a cost now) to fourth-order (making employees happy). Messages that include words like agility, satisfaction, retention, or insight describe what we call fourth-order benefits. Throw these marketing words away. Sure, they’re benefits. But they are too disconnected from actual money to hold much weight. When business was good, we could spend money on fluffy solutions with dubious returns. When business tightens, you need to shorten the steps between the benefit you describe and real money.
Stop talking about product features. Reset how you describe your solutions to lead with the benefit it delivers. For example, “We can make your customer service personnel 20% more efficient through the use of our new chatbot technology.” Entice with the benefit, then follow with the features. Oh, and if you don’t have a number that quantifies the value, get one. If you can’t, you’re not for real.
Let me make it easy. There are only three benefits: cut cost, increase productivity, or increase revenue or profit. That’s it. Lead with one of those.
You are selling through your prospect. Your prospect can no longer make the decision alone and needs to make the case to their management to go forward. Simplify that task for them. Clarify one or two primary benefits your solution will deliver to their organization. Make it an elevator pitch like: “We’re going to reduce the cost of support by 25% and increase customer service productivity by 5 to 7% after deploying the new solution.” Now build the business case that proves it so your prospect can present it to management and still sleep well at night.
Reset your marketing message. Put that overly complicated sales process aside. The world just simplified down to three steps that drive the value message from initial contact to closed deal.
Step 1: Show How Your Solution Delivers Value
Describing what your solution does and how it actually delivers value is the first step when enticing a prospect to consider your solution. Nucleus Research has ROI Guidebooks that make that case, but anyone can take a hard look at their marketing material and reset the message to highlight operational value.
Now you have an interested prospect.
Step 2: Show How Others Have Achieved Value
ROI case studies are the gold standard here and we’ve completed 100’s of them. Prospects want to know that others like them have achieved ROI with your solution, and they will need to use those examples when they deliver their business case. Take a look at your reference material and add real numbers to the benefits.
Now your prospect knows your solution can deliver ROI.
Step 3: Show How They Will Achieve Value
Sketch out the benefits and costs. Do the math for them. What’s the ROI and Payback Period? Make sure they buy into the numbers and feel comfortable making the case for your solution. If they’re not comfortable with a benefit, skip it. I always tell sales reps it’s better to take a lower ROI your prospect believes than a higher ROI your prospect doesn’t believe. Ever have a deal stall? Ultimately it’s because the benefits weren’t clear or convincing enough.
Now is the time to rethink your marketing messages and sales processes. You have a window to reset marketing and sales to lead with an ROI message. The vendors that do will win. I’ve seen it twice before.