ROI calculators are nothing new to sales teams. ROI is a long-standing business metric and one at the forefront of buyers’ minds. Sales teams know that tapping into this proactively and approaching buyers with an ROI-based selling technique is an important way to advance customers through the funnel while demonstrating the value of their product. An ROI calculator can be a great tool to make the process more interactive and get the customer involved, but it’s important for sales reps to remember two things in particular: presentation is just as important as the numbers that are generated, and you can build compelling ROI estimates with a limited number of assumptions. You need to build a story with the customer’s numbers, and you need to make them believe they’re missing out on something big without your product. Just simply having a calculator can’t do that. Here are three ways you might be using your ROI calculator wrong:

You’re Not Properly Organized

Your customer shouldn’t need to call in the accountant to use your ROI calculator. By the time you’re ready to do the math, your conversation should have given you the information you need to give them an accurate picture of how much you can save them. Do basic diligence before you grab the calculator, and make sure you’re adding up the right costs, accounting for the right cost and risk factors, and choosing a reasonable time frame — typically one to three years. To paint the most accurate picture possible, consider all of the details in the data you need from your customer.

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How to Do it:

  1. Understand your customer’s goals. What are the business objectives your product or service can make easier, cheaper, and more effective?
  2. Understand the metrics your sponsor – and the sponsor’s executive team – use to measure the benchmarks toward this goal. Which metrics do they use to measure success, and how will your product or service improve upon those metrics?  If they don’t have metrics currently, or if they have an incomplete set, you should be prepared to share best practices.
  3. Understand how your customer gathers data. What is their preferred method of analyzing data? Tailor your messaging to methods they’re accustomed to.
  4. Track metrics after the sale. In the new “services economy,” the sale doesn’t end at the time of purchase. Good customer relationships require continued dialogue around value realized. How accurate was your initial assessment of missed value? Are there suggestions you can now make to further optimize their value?

You’re Too Focused on Closing the Sale

Keeping the sales cycle as brief as possible is a high priority for sales teams, and ROI calculators certainly contribute to that, but racing to close a sale may not benefit the team in the long run. Take the time to understand your customer’s real needs and think of the process as more of a consultation than a sale. How can you guide and coach your customer through their buying journey? Most customers will have done a considerable amount of research before they make contact, and they’ll be using their interactions with you as a gauge for whether or not they want to partner with your company. If they get the impression you’re just trying to get a contract, even the most exciting ROI calculator won’t make a difference.

How to Do it:

  1. Take your time. Do proper discovery, get to know your customer, their goals, their frustrations, and why they’re interested in your product in the first place. Aggressive tactics don’t work, so slow down and think of yourself as an advisor.
  2. Read the room. Know when to pull out tools, and when to keep digging for information. It can be effective — and sometimes truly delightful — to lead with ROI calculations early in the discussion to help the buyer understand that you are trying to improve their business outcomes.
  3. Be flexible. You will likely need to adjust the inputs of the calculator based on your buyer’s environment. Businesses aren’t one-size-fits-all, so offer to modify the assumptions so that they accommodate the customer, not the other way around. That said, leading with an industry-specific template can be a nice way to begin the discussion.
@VisualizeROI says you’re using your ROI calculators wrong. See why they say #ROIselling requires more than just crunching a few numbers: Click To Tweet

You’re Framing the Conversation Wrong

Be careful not to over-promise and underwhelm. To ensure you’re building the best possible customer relationships, make sure you’re presenting relevant, measurable numbers. Don’t strictly focus on dollar savings, since they can hide what’s really happening.  What you really should be focusing on are the improvements to operational metrics, which can include cash savings, productivity gains, risk reduction, and sales acceleration. Instead of promising a big, glossy number, depict specific areas where your product or service will make daily, monthly, and quarterly processes more efficient and more effective.

How to Do it:

  1. Educate with numbers.  Add to their stated needs a set of “latent needs” that other clients like them tend to experience, then quantify the cost of all of the needs in a concise, compelling way.
  2. Be specific. Sweeping generalizations won’t convince clients to take action. Translate your product or service’s capabilities into specific, quantifiable impact on their operations.
  3. Offer value. Nobody wants to hear the same speech twice. Tell them something they (likely) don’t know to show them you really understand how to help.

Successful sales reps know how to create a meaningful conversation with buyers that provides real value and leverages buyers’ time well. To learn more about how a modern value selling platform can affect the quality of the discussions your sales team is having with their customers, schedule a demo with us today.

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