5 Reasons Customer Value Realization is More Important than You Think
While B2B sales organizations have quickly adopted value-based selling, many overlook the importance of carrying the principles of value-based selling into the customer relationship after the deal has closed. In reality, communicating value is just as important after the sale as it was before the sale. Continuing the value conversation post-sale is also known as value realization. In simple terms, value realization is the ability to track, quantify, and communicate the value of the solution to the customer’s business after it has been implemented. In other words, value realization is what validates for customers that they made a good purchasing decision, and it helps them continuously see the value that they (and their organization as a whole) have received from the business relationship. Value realization is a powerful capability because it not only ensures customer success, but it also secures your customer’s loyalty and helps you build profitable customer relationships that stand the test of time. Keep reading to learn five reasons value realization is even more important than you might think.
1. Ensure a Seamless Experience throughout the Customer Journey
Transitioning customers from the sales team to your customer success team should be seamless, providing a consistent and positive experience throughout the entire customer journey. In contrast, when value conversations drop off after the sale and when the value customers were expecting to achieve is unclear after implementation, the experience is incredibly jarring for customers. Your sales team has worked hard to gain your customer’s trust with quantified value aligned to their needs; your value realization strategy must build on that foundation of trust, not erode it. To do this, your customer success team needs to have the tools and training to continue this value-driven approach after the sale. On that note, it is important to remember that most customers won’t have their own value realization frameworks in place to track the success of your offering. Rather, they will depend on their solution provider to supply a framework to measure and communicate the realized value of the solution.
2. Create a Framework for Clear Customer Communication
Having a value realization framework in place makes it easier for your customer success team to clearly communicate with customers and ensure the solution’s results are meeting the customer’s expectations. This is because a solid value realization framework starts with having an understanding of your customer’s goals and expectations on three levels: the company’s corporate or financial objectives, the stakeholders’ goals, and the intangible personal goals of the human behind it all (for example, their reputation in the company, career aspirations, etc.). Read more about The Value Trinity™ for a detailed explanation of these three interlocking aspects of value. With a deep understanding of the customer’s interlocking needs, customer success teams have a blueprint to tailor value realization reporting to the customer’s unique priorities. This makes it much easier for the customer to clearly see exactly how your solution is solving their biggest pain points–as an organization, as a stakeholder, and as a person.
3. Encourage Customer Feedback
An important aspect of a value realization strategy is that it creates meaningful collaboration and communication between the customer and the customer success team. Customer feedback isn’t just encouraged with value realization; it’s required. Through value realization dashboards and regular reporting cadences, customers are able to see the results and value of the solution quickly without having to probe for this information, which gives them the ability to react to the results and provide constructive feedback when it’s needed most. Customer success teams can proactively address concerns that arise, pivot or calibrate as needed, or otherwise continuously improve the customer experience without delay. This means you can eliminate a lot of unpleasant surprises. For example, when you’ve been communicating customer value proactively and adapting accordingly throughout the entire process, you won’t be caught off guard six months down the line by a stakeholder that feels they haven’t achieved the results they were expecting. Instead, stakeholders will be able to see the real, quantifiable value that the solution has achieved, before the stakeholder even asks for this information. And, if an implementation is underperforming, you quickly see the warning signs, allowing you to address (and hopefully resolve) the concerns early before the account is at risk.
4. Improve Your KPIs
Customer value realization not only benefits the customer; it also has a measurable impact on your own key performance indicators, or KPIs. For example, customer value realization can help you improve your customer satisfaction metrics such as customer reviews or net promoter scores (NPS). In addition, value realization can have a big impact on your bottom line by increasing customer retention rates and enabling you to up-sell and cross-sell into existing accounts more effectively.
5. Drive Customer Loyalty and Retention, Reducing Costly Churn
Finally, while value-based selling brings new customers into your business, value realization is what keeps them in partnership with you for the long haul. Value realization has been proven to drive customer loyalty and retention, building long-term and highly profitable customer relationships for your organization.