SALES & SELLING | EXECUTION | SKILLS

Selling value: The vanishing art of elite sale performers

If you’re not selling value, you’re competing on price.

Good luck with that in a highly competitive B2B SaaS market.

This article shares ideas and resources to help you and your sellers refine their skills in selling value.

Why it matters now

Job turnover among sellers is likely to be higher than normal in the coming months. (See “Brace Yourself for Massive Employee Turnover in the Next 12 Months.“)

Whether you’re hiring new sellers or coaching your current team, you’ll have a big advantage if your people can sell value over product features or technology.

Ideas to consider

  • Value selling has been around for decades. Yet the skills are uncommon, except among top-performing sellers.
  • A generation of sales people has come into enterprise SaaS sales with only a minority having learned to sell value. Only about 40% of all sellers know how to do it.
  • Only about half of sellers with more than 10 years of experience can sell value. But among the top 5% of sellers, 97% can. These numbers come from the Objective Management Group (OMG), which runs an ongoing study of almost 2 million sellers.
  • Many B2B SaaS companies haven’t offered enough training and coaching to their sellers. Instead they’ve relied on the skills of older, more experienced reps. But those reps are disappearing. As for the sales training SaaS companies do provide, it often focuses on products—not on how to sell business value.
  • The bigger and more complex the SaaS products you sell, the more your team needs skills in selling value.
  • Some online training courses and many good books teach the essentials of selling value. You can also help enable value selling through the kinds of content you provide to your sellers.

Sources

A Sales Method for Uncertain Times: 20 Resources on Selling Value.” Dave Vranicar. March 17, 2020. LinkedIn post.

Why You Will Finally Pay the Price of Not Selling Value.” Dave Kurlan. March 16, 2020. Objective Management Group (OMG) blog. [Online article.]

Resources

Top books about value selling

Gap Selling. Keenan. 2019.

The Prime Solution. Jeff Thull. 2005.

Mastering the Complex Sale. Jeff Thull. 2003.

Exceptional Selling. Jeff Thull. 2006.

SPIN Selling. Neil Rackham. 1988.

SPIN Selling Fieldbook. Neil Rackham. 1996. [Note: This the more useful of Rackham’s 2 books about SPIN selling.]

Escaping the Price-Driven Sale. Tom Snyder. Kevin Kearns. 2008.

Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play. Mahan Khalsa. Randy Illig. 2008.

Proactive Selling. William “Skip” Miller. 2003

Baseline Selling – How to Become a Sales Superstar by Using What You Already Know about the Game of Baseball. Dave Kurlan. Verne Hamish. 2005.

Selling Results! Bill Stinnet. 2007.

Think Like Your Customer. Bill Stinnet. 2005.

Value-Added Selling. Tom Reilly. 2003.

Solution Selling, Michael T. Bosworth.1995.

Customer-Centric Selling. Michael T. Bosworth. 2004.

Solution Selling Fieldbook. Keith Eades. 2005.

The New Solution Selling. Keith Eades.2004.

Beyond Selling Value. Mark Shonka. Dan Kosch. 2002.

ROI Selling. Michael J. Nick. Kurt M. Koenig. 2004.

How to Sell When Nobody’s Buying (And How to Sell Even More When They Are). Dave Lakhani. 2009.

Competing on Value. Mack Hannan. 1991.

Date of first publication:  2021-07-04

Date of most recent revision: 2021-07-07

Driven issue number: 66

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