We are all trying to improve how we do our jobs.  That is just the way we are programmed.  And if part or most of our job involves dealing with customers, we then have an extra challenge – figuring out what they are trying to accomplish. Harvard Professor Clayton Christensen calls this “the job-to-be-done.”

We will not be successful in creating, designing, and commercializing new services until we can communicate how they will help our prospects and customers improve the outcomes of their jobs.

We define customer value as the tangible and/or emotional net improvements (benefits minus costs) to customer outcomes resulting from using or owning the supplier’s products and/or services, compared to all alternatives.

We created this graphic to help us all understand the high level jobs that each level of worker in an organization is tasked with:

Since this blog is aimed towards B2B, capital equipment service providers, I will focus the rest of this post on that group.

When we sell our traditional services, we generally sell to lower level employees while strategic services usually involve someone in the C-suite.  For example:

This is important since by understanding what each person’s responsibilities are, you can define and communicate your services while shining the spotlight of what each person considers essential.

Selling to the first two levels is business as usual.  By now you know how to sell these basic services since they are today’s bread and butter products.  But things are different when selling to the C-Suite.  Fortunately, this diagram shows that creating customer value is the answer, although the implementation is really challenging.

Think about the definition of customer value that I showed you at the top of this post.  Creating customer value helps the C-Suite achieve their top three objectives.

So, your mission is to create value for your prospects and then to communicate that value clearly and accurately.  I will not dwell on customer value creation here… it is too big a subject.  But I will pass along a warning about communicating the value you are prepared to create.

The following quote is from a CustomerCentric Selling blog titled Sales Tips: WHY Should Buyers Buy from You?

“Most buyers will take the “value proposition” savings and cut them in half because sellers are often guilty of hyping offerings.

Dependent upon the offerings, some buyers will double costs because if any implementation effort is necessary, it always takes longer than expected.  In such cases, this means that sellers and buyers are off by a factor of 400%!”

What many sellers do when preparing proposals for deals worth at least $500,000 is hire an independent consultant to audit the value proposition assumptions and calculations.  Like a CPA’s financial report audit statement, they certify that, in their opinion, the information presented is accurate.  At least this approach will reduce the potential gap from 400% to something that leaves your proposal still reasonable and hence reduces the likelihood that the buyer does nothing!

Key Takeaway

As you sell higher up the food chain, you must focus on creating value for your customers.  And the three outcomes the C-Suite values are growing revenue, cost reduction, and risk mitigation.