Communicate Business Value to Increase Sales

When you are talking to prospects on cold-calls, in meetings, and in emails, are you discussing how you can help them from a business value standpoint? Business value is how the products you are selling will help your prospect’s business. Being able to effectively communicate business value will help to increase sales.

Not Features and Benefits

Business value should not be confused with the features and benefits of a product. Features and benefits are at a lower and sometimes more technical level than business value. For example, take a sales person that sells manufacturing equipment. One of the features of this equipment is that it can be upgraded with new technology instead of being replaced when it becomes outdated. The benefit of this feature is less cost down the road for the customer. But this is not business value. The business value is at a higher level and could be that by decreasing their costs, they will be able to refocus the projected savings into other areas like developing new and improved product lines which will help to improve their competitive position in the marketplace, grow market share, and increase sales.

Often Overlooked

Identifying and pointing out business value is a step that can often be overlooked. This is because a sales person will probably know the features and benefits inside and out and be able to talk about them all day. Business value is not so apparent and may be different for each prospect making it a little more difficult to discuss. With this being the case, it can be easy to get in habit of only talking about features and benefits and not taking the extra step to identify and communicate business value.

Stand Out From the Competition

It is likely that you are trying to sell into a competitive environment. There can be other companies trying to sell similar products to your prospect, there can be companies trying to sell unrelated products that compete for the same dollars, and you are also competing against your prospect doing nothing. One of the best ways to stand out from all of this competition is to communicate business value.

When to Communicate

In order to increase sales, business value should be communicated early and often. It should be outlined in a first cold call, it should be discussed in all meetings and presentations, and it should be detailed in any proposals and documents given to the prospect. The goal is to use the information of how you are going to help their business to get in the door, to drive the sales cycle, and to close the deal.

Calculate and Quantify

As you qualify an opportunity and get into the sales cycle, work to calculate and quantify the estimated business value that you can bring to the prospect. This may not sound like an easy thing to do as there is likely not an exact formula for calculating this. But if you get creative and build out some assumptions, you can create some quantifiable numbers that display how you can help the prospect and this can be used throughout the sales cycle to increase sales.

Business Justification

Once you have quantified and created more customer specific details around business value, you will then have business justification for your prospect to purchase from you. This information can be brought to the table to get and secure interest, to keep the sales cycle moving, and then to close the deal.

How to Improve the Business Environment

The concept of social legitimacy is based on the premise that business relationships between a company and a particular stakeholder will not irresponsibly damage the legitimate interests of other stakeholders. Legitimate is used in a broader sense than legal. It implies an entitlement which is recognized by others as correct.

Justification

Justification means that the action is acceptable to both affected and interested parties. Very often the affected party is being overlooked.

Confidentiality

Despite the need for openness, in some areas, such as customer data, employee data, citizen data and others, confidentiality is crucial. It is a source of added value to these groups.

Sincerity

Sincerity excludes pretending and leads to doing what is right, not only is what dutiful. It covers also honesty, respect for others and adherence to promises.

The importance of the above mentioned pillars is interrelated and changing in different situations. Within the democratic and market reforms in post-totalitarian countries, these pillars themselves are being built / re-built. In the transition and adjustment periods, there may be tensions or even conflicts among individuals pillars. The most problematic relations are between legality, legitimacy and justification. We may assume that the reconstruction of the entire legal system and functioning of courts is at the core of this disharmony.

Responsibility (accountability) is another related concept which needs further specification. In the context of building the national integrity system we are not concerned with the so called causal responsibility which may be characterized as a relation between one event and another when the former causes or helps cause the latter. We should focus on moral (personal or collective) responsibility when ones role is defined by virtue of moral, legal or some other sort of rules. In business ethics debate, a considerable attention has been paid to the problem whether collectives such as nations or formal organizations may bear responsibility. There are some very influential critiques of collective/corporate responsibility arguing that corporations and other formal organizations are at best legal but not moral entities. They can be held legally liable, but only human beings have moral responsibility. Among the main arguments for the existence of corporate responsibilities the following ones can be mentioned: A firm (an organization) is qualitatively different from an individual and other entity such as community or country. Since the organization makes decisions and takes actions, it can be qualified as an actor. Its actions affect people, and these actions can be evaluated from a moral point of view. A company or organization is capable of moral behaviour and, therefore, has a moral responsibility.

The Federal Sentencing Guidelines adopted in the U.S. A. in 1991 represent an important input into this debate and especially in the cultivation of business practices. This model of good corporate citizenship is designed on the basis of compliance approach and stresses the concept of due diligence. It requires companies set up compliance standards to be followed (communicated, trained, enforced sanctioned).

Personal, as well as collective, responsibility requires two conditions: freedom and intention (awareness of the moral character of an action). Basically, responsibility involves three components: the subject who bears responsibility that cannot be completely determined by rules and laws; for what the subject is responsible (the spheres of responsibility); and the authority to whom the subject is accountable. We have to go further and try to evaluate the degree of responsibility or the kind of the ethical challenge involved. It is suggested in the business ethics literature to distinguish between minimal ethical requirements, positive obligations beyond the minimum, and aspirations for ethical ideals. The first degree includes basic ethical norms such as do not kill, not rob, not exploit, etc. Going further means that it is becoming more and more difficult to find consensus than in the first case. Here is a broad space of freedom and inspiration companies (acting with integrity) can use to define their mission, build their culture and reputation.

From a very vague concept of social responsibility of the whole system, where it was hard to find concrete bearers of this responsibility, and to define their responsibility in a totalitarian regime (the condition of freedom was not fulfilled), which by its behavior in fact discredited the idea of social responsibility, at present we find ourselves in a very different environment. With democratization of our societies and market of the economies, new actors have emerged. They play various roles in the economy, and have also various interests. Consequently, companies and other organizations in this new system have to deal with various new stakeholders (mainly shareholders, management, employees, competitors, suppliers, creditors, local community where the business operates, global community). What is their responsibility towards the stakeholders? This is a crucial question which is being raised by businesses all around the developed world, and also by the academic sphere. Neither business, nor academics have fully answered this question. Moreover, there is not a consensus on the stakeholders’ model itself (in some perceptions, only shareholders are important). I would like to even broaden this problem and to interpret it in the political and economic context of emerging market economies. The identification of various responsibilities from both sides could help to improve the business environment and even to clarify some basic concepts or categories of the market system.

FTC Justification of FY 2007 is BS

The United States of America Justice Department Federal Trade Commission has put forth a request for their FY 2007 budget to Congress along with a justification of such need. Unfortunately the Federal Trade Commission’s piss poor performance in all activities seems to indicate that it might be much wiser to close the agency than to grant them their desired level of funding.

Let’s review; The Federal Trade Commission’s War in SPAM was a complete and utter failure and the amount of SPAM actually increased during their time on the job of enforcing the new CAN SPAM Act. The amount of identity theft has increase and although the FTC was able to levee fines against businesses who were the victims of the theft of personal data of their clientele, the FTC was not able to stop it. The Do Not Call List was mismanaged and only partially successful in our review.

Why is the United State’s taxpayer liable for the failures at the FTC and why should we be funding this agency any more money? Obviously it appears that they cannot do anything right and fail to curb crime when it is identified and assigned to them. I believe we would be better off funding the feces research on various upright walking mammals then to fund any more money to the FTC. Why can’t we close such poor performing agencies in our government? Consider this in 2006.