According to Source Global Research, only 40% of clients say that management and technology consultants add value over and above the fees they charge. Yet 68% rate the work done as being ‘high quality’ or ‘very high quality’. It struck me that customers of software and technology businesses probably have similar perceptions. So why does this matter and what can be done about it?
According to Source Global Research, clients need to see value to continue to invest in consulting. The same is probably true for customers of software and technology businesses – although it’s probably harder for these customers to stop paying for the technology they use, as it often becomes embedded in customers’ businesses. You can often sense customers’ frustrations with this – ‘Government and IT – “A Recipe for Rip-offs”: time for a new approach’, although published in 2012, is probably a good example of this. Customers start looking around for alternative solutions when they feel they’re not getting good value for money, and may turn to your competitors (or organisations with innovative products and services that you didn’t even know about) to help them. You may also find that it’s hard to sell your products or services, or feel that you’re not charging as much as you could, as customers don’t appreciate the difference that introducing them will make to their business in economic terms. Ultimately this could mean the difference between a profitable and an unprofitable business.
So what can be done about this? Source Global Research suggests that just talking about value can make a difference. Source also suggests that it’s a good idea to incorporate a value measure in client satisfaction surveys. But although these are good suggestions, in our experience it’s best to start talking about value before products and services are introduced. This makes it easier for customers to make the case for investing in technology (in other words, it helps them to buy), and easier for suppliers to qualify opportunities. After all, if there isn’t a compelling business rationale for a prospect to invest in technology, you should move on.
So how can you talk about value in a way that uncovers the expected value of investing in additional technology? There are various sales techniques available, but in our experience they leave gaps and don’t go far enough in helping the customer to articulate the expected value of making an investment. Such a conversation needs to cover:
· The drivers for investment
· The problems being faced today as a result of the drivers
· The potential consequences of not addressing the problems
· The difference that addressing the problems could make, in both tangible and intangible terms
· What’s stopping the prospective customer from addressing the problems on their own
· They key issues that any solution needs to address
· Other key considerations (or requirements) that need to be taken into account.
Only when this information has been identified can a prospective customer fully understand the value of addressing the situation they’re facing and make an adequate case to invest.
I’m offering a limited number of readers a complimentary session to explore what more might be done to help their customers really appreciate the value of the products and services they provide. Please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org to book your appointment.