June 7, 2012 Leave a comment
What is ‘business value?’
It’s a question that generates a lot of discussions and definitions during our workshops but there are two general truths which emerge – value is measured in different ways by different people and it means nothing if it’s not relevant. In business terms that means it must contribute in some definable way to the company’s vision, strategy, corporate objectives and execution plan.
To sell in this challenging but opportunity-filled market means truly understanding how your proposition delivers value to your customer and articulating that value in a meaningful way.
Any service or solution that delivers value will do so across one of more of the following levels. Correctly identifying the type of value you are offering and then building the right message for the right people will help you to avoid feature and price wars and develop a more business-led approach to engaging with your customer:
- Cost efficiency: value at this level is about cost savings (not necessarily cost cutting!). For example, from a collaboration perspective that means reducing costs in areas such as telephone calls, travel, maintenance or call centre staffing. But here’s the key – it’s got to be a clear cost-saving. Nothing fluffy.
- Resource effectiveness: here value is about optimising the resources you have, usually through process improvement. Improving sales win rates, getting product to market quicker and improving customer satisfaction ratings are all ways in which companies might demonstrate and measure better use of resources and optimised processes.
- Strategic acceleration: at this level, business value is about how you support the business to better set, adjust, communicate and deliver against its strategic goals than it otherwise could. Often, from a technology perspective, it’s about how you enable your customers to be more versatile and agile – particularly in this current economic climate.
If you can’t map your value into one or more of these areas – go back to the drawing board and re-qualify whether you have a sales opportunity or fully understand your customer’s needs.
Working from the first principle of your customer’s strategic business goals and the key objectives they are driving towards will give you a clear yardstick against which to measure the value your proposition offers and how to build your sales strategy.
And one final thought – most companies are seeking better alignment between IT and the business and are looking to IT to build better business cases. This model doesn’t just help you – it helps your IT sponsors to build their case and ensure IT truly delivers on its promise of business benefit.