Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Secret To Success---Save Customers Money!

Today's New York Times had an article: The Secret to Start-Up Success: Save Customers Money. My knee jerk reaction was D-uuuhhh.

Then I paused to think, while this is so obvious, how many sales people really demonstrate how they can save their customers money? I thought I would pose a few questions, I'd love your responses:

  • Do you, in every proposal, present a written and compelling business case about how your solution will save the customer money?
  • Do you review this with your customers and get their buy in?
  • Are your customers demanding this business case? Do you provide it even if they don't ask?
In one of my companies, we are evaluating some new software tools. We are reviewing proposals from a number of suppliers---some very large companies. I saw the first proposals a couple of days ago. While all of the "boilerplate" in these proposals talks to increase in productivity, areas where we can realize savings, and other benefits, none of the vendors provided a business justification and analysis. In the presentations, the sales people are giving lip service to productivity and value, but focus mostly on the neat features and capabilities. Part of the fault is with my team, they did not ask for a detailed business justification. However, shouldn't the sales person be providing this as part of the value proposition and in demonstrating why we should be buying their solution?

This caused me to reflect on other situations where we have made major purchases. It caused me to think to some the reviews we do for our clients. While everyone presents good analysis of the costs of procuring a solution, and they provide comprehensive financing alternatives, very few of the deals included a comprehensive business case, justifying the solution.

The secret to success is demonstrating visibly, using your customers' financial criteria, how you can save them money. Perhaps it's too obvious and simple. What are your thoughts?

2 comments:

Niall Devitt said...

Dave,

This is soooo true.

Yes it might sound obvious, but the truth is that few of us actually engage with prospects in a meaningful way.

Salespeople will often talk about savings in a general sense, when what's required to be effective is specific language and figures. This as you point out requires planning.

If its specific and clear, you get customer buy in. If its hazy and general, well?

Great Post.
Niall

Dave Brock's Blog said...

Niall, thanks for the note. I think too often, sales people talk about potential savings or areas of benefit.

Customers respond to "we can save you $XX Millions, because of....."

Thanks for the comment. Regards, Dave