The Incredible Value of Value Realization Events - Great Demo

The Incredible Value of Value Realization Events

The Incredible Value of Value Realization Events

“Every diagnosis and treatment need a corresponding prognosis…!”
– Me

Wouldn’t it be a delight to dramatically differentiate in discovery? It’s easy! Once your prospect sees a vision of a solution using your capabilities, discuss and agree upon several Value Realization Events.

What’s in this article for you?

  • Traditional salespeople…
  • Good salespeople…
  • Great sales teams…
  • A medical analogy
  • Value Realization Events
  • Make a list
  • When to discuss
  • Linking to implementation and customer success
  • Convincing differentiation
  • Another perspective
  • “You’re actually interested in our success…!”

Let’s explore…!

Traditional Salespeople…

Traditional salespeople enthusiastically pursue their sales processes up until the moment their prospects send in the purchase order and the money. Once these are received, do not get in these salespeople’s way as they race to the next opportunity!

These salespeople clearly don’t care about their customers’ success. They are often referred to as being “coin-operated!”

My assumption is that none of you readers fall into this category; you’re much better than that!

Good Salespeople…

Good salespeople have their customers’ interests closer to heart and track progress until their customers’ go live events. These salespeople are much better, but could they go further?

Yes, indeed!

Great Salespeople…

Truly great salespeople and sales teams go one large step beyond go live. They follow and facilitate their customers’ journeys all the way to the point when their customers begin to realize value from the use of the new software. These sales teams pursue the post-go live processes to ensure that their customers achieve Value Realization Events (VREs).

Doing so communicates that these sales teams aren’t simply interested in “closing the business,” but are invested in their customers’ success. This dramatically differentiates these teams from their “sell and run” counterparts. Additionally, these sales teams improve the likelihood that their customers will renew their licenses, expand their footprint, and serve as references.

Discussing and agreeing upon several VREs in discovery is the key to success!


A Medical Analogy

In medicine, there are three elemental sets of information:

  • Diagnosis: An understanding of what is wrong
  • Treatment: How to cure what is wrong
  • Prognosis: What to expect in the future

In business, we tend to be adequate at doing diagnosis (doing discovery), reasonably good at articulating treatments (solutions), but woefully poor at describing prognoses (building a vision of expected outcomes) other than in the vaguest sense! Outcome descriptions tend to be calculations of ultimate ROI numbers, suitable for convincing senior management to move forward with the proposed purchase, but with little other information about the actual journey.

Imagine a doctor announcing, “Well, you have a disease, we’ll fix it with a treatment, and in about two years you should be back to normal!”

“OK,” you respond, “but how will things be next week, next month, three months out, etc.? How long before I can eat regular food again? When will I be able to get the cast off? When will I be able to walk without using crutches?”

These intermediate improvements are extremely important to you and your plans as a patient. In the same way, small wins by your customers using your software are equally important to your customers as they work towards their overall ROI.

These small wins are Value Realization Events. Would you like some examples?

Value Realization Events

Value Realization Events, or VREs, represent small but significant improvements in your customers’ processes, workflows, or deliverables. They are often expressed in terms of the first time your customer can accomplish something faster, better, or cheaper than they could previously. Improved visibility or reporting capabilities are frequent candidates. The first time a manual process is successfully completed in an automated fashion is another.

Here’s a starter list:

  • The first complete turn of the crank in a workflow (that was previously manual, painful, or impossible).
  • Visibility into something that was previously invisible, vague, or took too long to obtain.
  • A small productivity or efficiency gain (not the full ROI, just one small piece).
  • Reporting (that couldn’t be done before or took too long to produce).
  • An alert for a problem or opportunity (that wasn’t possible previously).
  • The first time something painful or manual was avoided or replaced with automation.
  • The first time something dangerous was avoided.
  • Monitoring something that couldn’t be monitored before (or was painfully difficult).
  • The first “root cause” identified.
  • The first time a problem doesn’t recur.
  • A collaboration that takes place (that couldn’t be done before or was difficult).
  • The first time a business process is completed in a fraction of the time it took previously.

Make a List

What VREs are possible or good representatives for your offerings? There are two ways to compile a list of examples:

  • Generate the list based on your existing knowledge and experiences with your offerings.
  • Ask your current customers for ideas. When did they begin to realize value from using your software? What were the specific events and how long did it take before they enjoyed those gains?

Each example should include both the VRE description along with the timeline for achievement. Generate as many candidates as you can!

A simple brainstorming exercise with a few colleagues can be a good approach to building your list. I’d recommend including folks from presales, sales, implementation, customer success, and marketing.

When to Discuss

Many traditional organizations never explore VREs with their customers. They often end up with their customer success teams struggling to convince customers to renew as the renewal dates approach.

Some good vendors discuss VREs after go live has been accomplished. This is typically done by customer success and does represent an improvement over traditional practices.

Truly great vendors introduce VREs during their discovery conversations: This is the best time for these discussions! Why? Two wonderful reasons:

  1. Doing so enables significant advantages for implementation and customer success teams.
  2. Doing so differentiates convincingly from other non-VRE-aware vendors.

Linking to Implementation and Customer Success

When you discuss and agree upon VREs in discovery, this information can (and should!) be passed from the sales team to implementation/professional services. That way, implementation can (and should!) be done with a mind’s eye toward enabling your customers to achieve their VREs as rapidly and confidently as possible.

This means that any required installation, configuration, customization, and training should be done with specific goals to empower your customers to complete their VREs with minimal friction. Doing this during implementation can advance or accelerate VRE achievement significantly in comparison to traditional practices.

Who’s next after implementation/professional services? Why, customer success, of course!

Your sales team can (and should!) pass VRE information to customer success even before go live takes place. This enables customer success to support your customers’ journeys towards VRE attainment right from their initial interactions. What a terrific handoff!

Convincing Differentiation

Let’s return to the discovery phase of your sales process (or buying process). You’ve explored your prospect’s pains, impact, value, culture, demographics, and other elements, and you’ve articulated the framework of a solution. Your prospect is engaged and interested. At this point, most vendors end discovery and start drafting a proposal.

But instead, dear reader, you say, “Now that you have a picture of what a solution might look like, should we discuss how and when you can begin to gain some small wins, after you go live?”

Your prospect responds, “Why, yes, what a terrific idea!”

This is the best time to discuss VREs and doing so tells your prospect that you aren’t only interested in getting the order (and of course you are) but are also truly interested in your prospect’s success! This can (and does!) delightfully differentiate from the traditional and good salespeople we described above.

Another Perspective

Imagine that you are a customer who just made a major software purchase amounting to several hundred thousand dollars. An immense pressure descends upon your shoulders: the responsibility of realizing the return on that investment!

Is that pressure released when you issue the purchase order? Nope! That’s when it is heaviest.

Is that pressure released when you go live? Nope! It’s better, but it’s still just the beginning of the journey.

When does that pressure begin to be mitigated? When you announce to your management and the balance of the team, “Hey, we were just able to (insert VRE) for the first time – we’re now beginning to get real value from our investment!”

It’s not the full ROI, but it represents a significant success. That’s when the pressure begins to be released.

“You’re Actually Interested in Our Success…!”

I was in the latter stages of a discovery conversation with a prospect some years ago and was introducing several VRE options when my prospect said, “Oh! You’re actually interested in our success…!” They commented that they’d never encountered that type of discussion before. A few weeks later, they completed their purchasing process of our software.

Interestingly, during an implementation meeting, the prospect told me that our offering wasn’t perceived as the best option in terms of features and functions. They said it was “adequate, but not the best.”

I asked, “Well, why did you go with us?”

They responded, “It’s what I said in our meeting a few weeks ago: You proved that you are actually interested in our success and established the pathway for us to achieve it!”

VREs are an advanced, yet simple technique to differentiate delightfully, enable your customers to achieve key early wins, facilitate renewals, and pave the way for future expansion.


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