Value-based selling doesn’t end when you close the deal. Once the solution is implemented and customers are onboarded, value realization is key to delivering on the customer’s presale expectations. Value realization refers to the process of tracking the quantified business value a business receives from the solution once it has been deployed within the organization.With value realization, customer success teams seamlessly pivot from presale conversations about expected value into tracking the actual value customers experience—including KPIs like top-line revenue growth, cost savings, reduced hassle or risk, and more. In addition, measuring value realization enables customer success teams to refine the solution based on actual performance, ensuring better customer results and driving account retention and growth. Monitoring value realization further enables teams to recognize early indicators that an account might be at risk—as well as identify strong candidates for upselling or cross-selling opportunities. Value realization is key to retaining and expanding your relationship with your customers because it allows you to be proactive and come to every renewal, cross-sell, or upsell conversation with the support of tangible customer value.
What Customers Expect with Value Realization
With value realization, meeting customer expectations is critical to success. Most importantly, customers expect consistency between the business value assessment (BVA) presented to them during the value selling cycle and the business value realization (BVR) post-implementation. However, while value realization has quickly become standard practice, many customers still do not have their own value realization frameworks in place. In fact, in a poll conducted during a recent webinar, just 6% of customers indicated that they had a framework they expected their vendors to work within. Meanwhile, 48% of poll participants indicated that customers expect their vendors to be strategic partners that can educate them on value realization and provide a value realization framework for them. In addition, 24% of customers don’t really focus on value realization at all until it’s a fire drill request—further highlighting the need for vendors to come to the table with these capabilities.
How to Make Customer Value Realization Expectations a Reality
1. Get Customer Buy-In for Value Realization
When asked what their biggest challenges are for measuring and realizing value, 44% of our poll participants answered that getting customers to buy into the process and invest in value realization was their primary challenge. As with every stage of value-based selling, the key to securing buy-in is helping the business stakeholders understand the benefits to them and their organization. Help them understand that adoption and consumption of the solution is not enough to ensure the results that they expect. Vendors can demonstrate this by providing customers with value realization education and resources that can empower business champions within the organization. In addition, vendors can gain buy-in by making value realization easier for their customers, for example, by providing the framework for how realizable value will be continuously measured, monitored, and optimized.
2. Provide Customers with a Value Realization Framework
Since most customers do not already have a value realization framework in place, vendors should be prepared to provide this framework for them, as well as the education and support to ensure success. Consider also building a value realization framework natively into your solution. (See an example of a value realization framework in the following graphic).Providing a framework like this helps vendors and customers clearly align on the challenges, goals and objectives, desired outcomes, and key success metrics of the solution. Furthermore, a clear value realization framework not only enables meaningful reporting on the actual value to the business, it also helps drive continuous improvement and optimization.
3. Have a Strategy to Scale Value Realization
Another challenge vendors face is the inability to scale value realization for their customers. For example, our poll results showed that the second largest hindrance to value realization execution (24% of respondents) is that internal value resource capacity is largely dedicated to presale activities, leaving few resources for value realization post-sale. Top strategies for scaling value realization include having a dedicated value realization team to support post-sale customers, building value realization into the product and analytics for ease of use, and building value realization into negotiations and renewal discussions.
4. Recognize that Value Realization is a Continuous Process
Finally, it is important for vendors and customers alike to recognize that value realization is a continuous process of growing, discovering, quantifying, tracking, and maximizing value. Traditionally, solution implementation was generally a waterfall process. As new use cases were identified, they would be parked rather than used to reassess the value target. With value realization, as new use cases are identified, focus is provided to iteratively quantify, re-prioritize, and implement. This approach provides many benefits for vendors and customers alike, but it is a continuous cycle that requires resources and attention to achieve optimal results.
For more information on value realization or how this approach can work for your organization, we invite you to schedule a demo or contact our team of experts. We are here, ready to help.