There are four levels of value creation. The lowest level, level one, is to have a great product. A level up from there, level two, includes having great service and support around your offering. This is often what creates great brand experiences.
The third level, level three, is about helping produce real, tangible business outcomes. This is where most of us in business-to-business sales live. We have a good product. We have good service and support. And, we provide real business results for and with our clients.
The highest level is level four. This is the level where we become a strategic partner, a trusted advisor. We help our clients envision their future. They rely on us to help them to make decisions that move them into that future. They think of us as part of the value creation chain that produces and delivers the value for their customers. We own the outcomes in regards to what we sell and what we provide our clients.
There is one factor necessary to move up the levels of value creation: You.
You Are the Difference
Moving up from one level to the next is the result of people. Namely, it is up to you.
The fact that this is true explains why it is that you can have a better product, a better service, or a better solution and still lose to a competitor that creates a higher level of value.
Think of it this way, if you can create real, tangible business results but your competitor has built the relationships that allows her to be
trusted as a level four strategic partner, you can easily lose your opportunity to someone who is creating value at the higher level.
This works all the way down. If you are a level two, with great support and great service, you can very easily lose to a competitor who creates real, measurable, tangible business results (level three value creation). The same is true if you are level one. If you have a great product, you can still lose to a lesser product with better support, better service, and that offers a better experience.
Providing great service, great support, and a great experience is dependent upon how you behave as a salesperson and how your organization behaves as a sales organization (and we are all of us part of a sales organization).
Moving up to level three and producing business outcomes depends entirely on the salesperson and their sales organization. You can choose to provide a great product and a great experience, or you can raise your game as salesperson and tie what you do and how you sell it to your client’s real business objectives.
Becoming a strategic partner is a decision. It’s a choice. It’s a choice that the salesperson makes. You make the decision to act as a strategic partner, a trusted advisor, by taking the actions that make you so. You identify the ways that you can help your client envision their future and make it their reality. You help them close the gap between their current state and their future desired state, and you help them identify what that future desired state will be.
Moving up the levels and striving for level four is a personal choice. It’s a personal decision. Even without product superiority. Even without the highest level of service and support. And even without the very best business results.
The difference is you. Or it could be.
What are the resources used to produce great customer service, great support, and a great experience?
What resources provide business outcomes and business results?
What resources would allow you to understand your client’s business objectives and to tie your value creation to those objectives?
How are salespeople outsold?
Who do you have to be to take the actions that will make a difference?