Have you ever seen, pitched or been part of a pitch that relied on a level of referencability or social proof? I was in a conversation last week on this topic as it relates to sales methodologies and the claims of the sales methodology companies. My challenge related to the results of selling companies who adopt the sales methodology - of any sales methodology company bytheway as this isn't picking one out for greater attention than another.
My challenge was largely this:
- Companies invest in sales training to instill a language and process that can be relied upon to identify, qualify and close business in pursuits that are owned by individuals and collaborated upon by teams.
- The sales methodology companies rely on their process and "evidence" to prove their methodology delivers outcomes by way of accelerated pipeline velocity, greater percentage of closed deals etc
- The end user customer - the last mile in this process - cares little about these first two points and cares everything about business value.
Is business value the centre piece of any sales methodology? It isn't, because it is hard and it takes work to understand, establish and communicate. If it existed we would see social proof from the sales methodology companies that show evidence of business value weaved through the entirety of their sales process.
The difficulty here is that driving a business value methodology is a change program. A program that must commit to sustained behavioural change for sellers and their managers. Ultimately all trainers, sellers and buyers would need to be able to stand and fall on business value of their solutions and business outcomes.
It also means that the ultimate social proof of business value as the core thread of communication between buyer and seller will be a major differentiator. How many are up for the challenge I wonder.