The need for value-based selling isn't some new-age revelation—it's a fundamental part of any good playbook.
The market is saturated, budgets are tight, and the competition is relentless. To scale, land new accounts, and increase revenue, some fly-by-night push of “selling value” isn’t going to be a game-changer.
Your game-changer all comes down to the execution.
Execution, in this context, is the linchpin of success. It's translating the knowledge of value-based selling into actionable strategies and leveraging trust, alignment, language, and enablement to differentiate your solution—helping your prospects make confident buying decisions.
Successful value selling is about having the right tools to streamline your processes, educate your buyers, and communicate a very specific ROI story—ultimately boosting your bottom line.
In this guide, you'll learn:
- the foundations of value-based selling
- how to define a clear ICP
- sales techniques for effective discovery and qualification
- strategies for champion collaboration
- tools to maximize a value-based selling approach
First, let’s start with the basics: the foundations of value-based selling.
What is value-based selling?
Value-based selling (or value selling) is a sales methodology that prioritizes aligning your product or service with the measurable value a prospect needs and wants rather than focusing on your solution or the sale itself.
A value pitch rather than a sales pitch, value selling approaches the entire sales process through the lens of needs, pain points, and tangible outcomes.
Using a more consultative sales approach, sales reps become trusted advisors who deeply understand the return on investment (ROI) a prospect seeks and expects.
Four types of value-based selling
The core of value selling lies in telling an ROI story, typically one of the following four:
1. Money saved through direct decreases in cost and indirect savings (like saving time).
Example: When pitching the value of Dock, we explain how Dock can replace other tools in a tech stack—leading to lower monthly subscription costs and less tech bloat.
2. Money earned by attracting more customers, customer expansion, or opening up new revenue streams can significantly impact business growth.
For example, Champify helps businesses track when their customer contacts change jobs, which opens up the opportunity to reconnect with former customers—increasing revenue potential because former customers are more likely to convert.
3. Risk avoided, like potential future costs or damages.
Example: Nectar helps measure and improve employee engagement, which can preemptively address potential issues like disengaged employees, decreased productivity, and negative work culture that lead to future employee churn.
4. Efficiency gained like increased productivity, better use of current resources, and indirect financial benefits.
Example: Loom lets teams quickly communicate and offer feedback over asynchronous video messages, leading to less meeting waste, faster decision-making, more transparent communication, and reduced misunderstandings.
Benefits of value selling
Value selling taps into the core of what prospects genuinely want and need in a partnership.
Below are tangible benefits that come from adopting a value-selling approach:
- Reduced friction: When salespeople understand the unique ROI that resonates most with their prospects, there's less pushback and resistance during the buying process because they directly address the issues prospective buyers are most concerned about.
- Differentiation from competitors: Every vendor claims to be the best in a saturated market. Value selling allows you to back up those claims and demonstrate a unique selling proposition in terms that directly relate to a prospect's pain.
- Shorter sales cycles: Closed wins move forward faster when the most urgent concerns are addressed with a clear ROI because prospects can see the tangible benefits.
- Increased expansion opportunities: Once you've established a relationship based on trust, value, and a specific ROI, it's easier to upsell and cross-sell—introducing other products or services that align with your customer's goals and pain points.
Incorporating value selling into your sales strategy not only streamlines the buying process but also opens doors to long-term relationships and growth—and that means increased sustainability and, ultimately, more revenue.
Value-based selling tips
Now that you know what value selling is and the benefits it offers, let's explore execution with these actionable strategies for differentiating your solution and helping your prospects make confident buying decisions.
1. Develop a clear ICP with product marketing
In today’s market, trust is currency. A clear ICP is a framework to build that trust.
On The Modern Selling Podcast, Sumit Mahajan, Chief Data Officer at Datamatics, says the buyer is taking a significant risk by purchasing, which means they need a very high level of initial trust. And according to Mahajan, your team builds that trust very early in the sales process.
In a value-based selling strategy, sales leaders work closely with product marketing to create this ICP.
Product marketing plays a crucial role by telling a story about the product's features, benefits, and ROI that resonates with the ICP.
To get clear on your ICP with Product Marketing:
- Conduct collaborative workshops to define and refine
- Gather customer surveys for preferences and insights
- Analyze sales data to pinpoint characteristics of successful customers
- Ensure continuous alignment with regular meetings
- Collaborate on sales enablement—tailoring materials to align with ICP needs and preferences
Now, if you don’t know if your content resonates (even with a crystal clear ICP), there’s an easy way to track analytics like views, clicks, downloads, and more with Dock.
Using Dock’s content management platform, you can track how prospects engage with your sales content.
You can either share assets directly and track who viewed the asset and when—or you can share the assets as part of a digital sales room.
2. Communicate your value in sales enablement content
With your clearly defined ICP as a guide, create sales enablement content that shines a spotlight on the differentiated value you bring—syncing it with your prospect's ROI expectations.
Sound simple? Sure. But, to tap into your ideal customers' needs, the right enablement material will spell out the distinct value gains from your product or service.
For example, we wrote The Business Impact of Dock to explain how Dock impacts ROI for each possible use case.
For each ICP, the explainer focuses on:
- Sales: Close rates, sales cycle reduction, and improved forecasting—aligning with the need for efficiency and revenue growth
- Customer Success: Reduction in time to value, decreased churn, and streamlined renewals—aligning with the need for increased customer value, satisfaction, and long-term loyalty
- Marketing: Analytics—aligning with the need to optimize content and impact
Here’s how to create the right sales enablement content for your ICP:
- Collect data on your ICP's industry, challenges, and goals. Deep dive into social media and networking sites like LinkedIn, read updated news, and collect (and understand) data from industry reports.
- Tap into your other revenue teams, like Marketing and CS, for a holistic view of your offering from every angle.
- Your existing customers are your single greatest asset. Survey them and engage in 1:1 interviews to get (and implement) feedback.
Map Pain Points to an ROI Story:
- Link each pain point to one of the four types of ROI: Money saved, money earned, risk avoided, and efficiency gained.
- Identify where your solution fits and how it can address multiple parts of each specific story.
Craft Persuasive Narratives:
- Write engaging case studies, customer testimonials, webinars, and whitepapers that articulate the value of your offering.
- Use a compelling mix of metrics, customer anecdotes, and real-world examples.
3. Speak your prospect’s language
Personalization of your assets and communication is vital—especially regarding language.
For example, let’s look at Lavender.ai. Lavender’s primary ICP is sales reps (SDRs, AEs, etc.), but the product is also used by recruiters and job seekers—two very different camps with different pain and language.
Lavender Customer Experience Expert Ashleigh Bergh Duggan says, "Meeting people—your prospects—where they are is the core of personalization. It shows you understand their goals and the pain points potentially keeping them from achieving them."
Here are some insights into her approach.
- Listen and learn: Start by actively listening to understand unique needs and challenges.
- Bridge language gaps: Acknowledge that while specific terms (for example, "sequencing" and "follow-ups") may share common core meanings, they're uniquely used across different groups or roles. Then, apply this understanding to bridge the gap.
- Customize your communication: Tailor your messaging and language to match your prospect's specific situation and role.
- Articulate value: Connect all your communication back to ROI—demonstrating a clear understanding of priorities.
4. Prioritize strong discovery and qualification
You can’t value sell to prospects that aren’t a good fit.
A strong discovery and qualification process helps sales reps identify two key factors that lead to closed wins: What are the prospect's pain points and ROI goals?
Using a methodology like Sandler Selling, sales professionals can:
- Build trust by digging deeper into what defines value for each prospect.
- Uncover pain points with probing, open-ended questions to better align the unique selling proposition (USP) of their offering.
- Focus on qualification by understanding whether a prospect will genuinely gain value from a solution.
Using a methodology like MEDDIC Sales, your team can:
- Identify metrics to tailor their value proposition and show how the solution directly impacts those KPIs.
- Evaluate decision criteria to ensure the proposed solution aligns with specific value expectations.
- Quantify the economic impact with clear data on potential ROI, cost savings, or revenue growth.
5. Collaborate With Your Buyer Champion
Your buyer champion or sales champion is the biggest internal advocate for your solution. But they have to convince their team of stakeholders your solution is a winning one.
They help your team sell when you’re not in the room, so you need to support them along that journey. It’s a partnership.
That means equipping your champion with the information they need to make the argument for your product internally.
To maximize the potential of this partnership, your sales team needs to understand and implement effective collaboration strategies. Here are some ways to do that and optimize internal advocacy:
Equip them with the right resources and education.
Offer tailored educational resources like product guides, case studies, ROI-focused data, demos, and comprehensive training on your product. Centralize all essential information in a digital sales
room (like Dock), giving your champion a more organized and effective way to present your solution internally.
Understand the internal buying process.
Dig into your prospect's internal decision-making process by working closely with your buyer champion. This deep dive can help you uncover details about decision-makers, criteria, timelines, and additional unique challenges.
Tackle deal roadblocks ahead of time.
Roadblocks are inevitable. And to navigate them effectively, proactively prepare your champion for potential challenges (like budget constraints or security concerns). Offer solutions, provide comparative competitor data, and equip them with alternative pricing strategies.
Use mutual action plans.
A mutual action plan (MAP) is a shared roadmap between your sales team and the buyer's org. A MAP fosters accountability and transparency in the sales process by defining clear goals, milestones, responsibilities, and timelines.
6. Educate, don’t sell
Value selling is about articulating your solution's worth to your buyers in a relevant way. But how do you guarantee this value is understood, appreciated, and communicated? Through continuous buyer education.
Equip your buyers with the right knowledge, and they'll become your strongest advocates. So, how can your team focus on education throughout the sales process?
- Adopt an evolving curriculum that acknowledges as the market and products change, so do the needs and questions of your buyers. Regularly update educational materials, demos, webinars, or workshops to address new challenges or features.
- Use content to reinforce the value of the unique proposition of your product or service. This could include ROI breakdowns, whitepapers, or testimonial videos demonstrating real-world value.
- Conduct regular check-ins with the buyer champion and provide them with the latest insights, data, and tools they need so they have responses to new questions, concerns, and solutions for potential roadblocks.
- Implement feedback loops in a centralized workspace like a Dock Digital Sales Room where buyers can share their questions, concerns, or areas of confusion—addressing immediate needs and refining your buyer education. By showing buyers that their feedback directly impacts and improves their resources, you reinforce trust and remind them of the value of the partnership (and the solution you're offering).
7. Create a centralized sales hub
Combing through multiple email threads, trying to find attachments, and the never-ending search through Google Docs is a big potential deal blocker for your buyers.
Using a digital sales room (DSR) as a centralized hub for all sales materials, insights, and communication gives buying teams access to everything they need in one place.
A DSR simplifies everything from education and communication to the handoff to Customer Success—ensuring a smoother purchase and a more positive customer experience.
A DSR like Dock:
- Aligns ROI expectations by housing unique enablement content that pinpoints differentiated value, linking product features directly with the prospect's ROI expectations.
- Offers tailored buyer education and seamless communication because everything is readily available, from demos and pricing details to case studies and meeting recordings—ensuring each stakeholder is on the same page.
- Enhances personalization and reduces friction with a fluid, efficient experience that doesn't require jumping between multiple platforms or communication channels, leading to faster, more seamless closed deals.
8. Share pricing quotes with relevant context
When prospects request a pricing quote, it signals the desire to purchase.
But, sending a quote only to be met with requests for breakdowns, questions about ROI, and concerns about long-term value illustrates the cost of providing quotes without any context. This lack of context is magnified when the back-and-forth delays potential deals.
Rather than a messy, drawn-out process, with Dock’s price quotes and order forms, you can include your quote in a workspace with essential details—like case studies, documentation of conversations, meeting recordings, action plans, demos, and more. (They also integrate with popular CRMs like Hubspot and Salesforce so you can pull the data into your workflow.)
Sharing context-rich pricing quotes doesn't just justify a price—it's the heart of a value-selling framework.
Keeping the deal context handy shares the ROI story the prospect is looking for, especially for the final decision-makers who weren’t involved in the initial conversations.
Here are some other pricing quote strategies that can help your sales team close more deals faster:
- Personalize them: Just like everything else, pricing quotes are no exception to personalization. Tailor your quotes to each prospective customer’s needs, preferences, and ROI expectations.
- Streamline the documentation process: Use efficient systems (like Dock!) that simplify and speed up the creation and approval of quotes.
- Offer options: Provide clients with a small range of choices in terms of pricing or packages.
- Include next steps: Clearly outline the procedures or actions required after accepting the quote, ensuring the customer has a clear path forward.
9. Prove value with a proof-of-concept project
You have to give value to get value.
With a sales proof of concept (POC)—a paid or free test project where your team provides direct implementation and tech support to a prospect while they try your solution—your team can demonstrate the real-world value of your solution.
For example, when customers want to gauge the tool's effectiveness at Dock, we might offer a 30-day POC. During this period, our team collaborates with the customer to implement the product, showcasing real-time results and ensuring a smooth integration into their current workflows. In turn, this POC can help prospective customers determine what they need to become a Dock customer.
In a value-based selling strategy, your team should leverage every phase of the POC to highlight the prospective ROI. The objective isn't just to validate that your solution works but also to emphasize the real-world value and economic advantage the prospect will experience.
So, what are some ways to implement a successful POC?
Optimal timing: Ensuring that a prospect's needs and pain points are well-understood before introducing a POC guarantees that the trial focuses on high-impact ROI areas.
For example, if a prospective buyer struggles with the high costs of manual processes and your solution automates them, the POC should illustrate this ability and link to "money saved."
Clear benchmarks: By outlining tangible success markers tailored to the prospect's goals, you create direct ROI indicators.
For instance, if a goal is to "cut down manual tasks by 20%," and this is achieved or surpassed during the POC, it translates directly to "efficiency optimized."
Ongoing communication: Staying in touch ensures that the prospect understands the value and prospective ROI in real time. Regular updates shed light on immediate results. And real results close deals.
For example, if midway through the POC, your solution leads to a 10% increase in lead conversion rates, and the prospect's current conversion rate results in $1M in sales from 10,000 leads, this improvement could mean an additional $100K in sales from that same number of leads—money earned.
Execute value selling with Dock
In today's economy, if you’re still using a one-size-fits-all approach to your sales process, you’re doing it wrong. Potential buyers require a tailored, value-driven approach showcasing an ROI story that resonates with their specific needs.
Use Dock to execute a value-based selling approach and:
- Centralize your communication, creating a seamless flow of information
- Streamline content sharing with the most relevant and impactful resources tailored to a specific ROI story
- Personalize your buyer's journey with Dock's analytics by understanding which materials resonate most
- Enhance pricing quotes with more context, emphasizing the unique value your solution brings to the table
Want to try Dock to execute your value-selling framework today? Sign up now for a free trial.