Steve Thompson, Managing Partner at Value Lifecycle, was interviewed by Adam Torres of Mission Matters Business Podcast.
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Steve Thompson consults with some of the largest companies in the world, working with both the seller’s and buyer’s sides to help clients position, negotiate and close critical deals. Thompson is passionate about ensuring deals are good for both the buying organization as well as the selling organization. Through Value Lifecycle, he aims to disprove the myth that deals have to be predominantly good for one side rather than mutually beneficial.
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How can sales executives close great deals?
“The reality is selling is becoming much harder,” Thompson says, explaining that is because it is more overwhelming and challenging for organizations to buy. It’s difficult to make an informed decision leading to a purchase, especially in an age of technological ubiquity.
“I often hear from tech people saying, ‘We sell this really cool technology,’” he says. “I get it, but your customers don’t buy ‘really cool technology.’ They’re buying better business outcomes because everybody right now who’s in a critical decision position on the customer side came of age in the late 90s. In the early aughts, when companies were spending money like drunken sailors on technology, if you were on the sales side, it was a great time to be in sales. Then came the killer question from executives in buying organizations: ‘We just spent billions of dollars; what are we getting for this?’ And then, you look at the success rate for technology rollouts, which is abysmal.” Technology has become too important to companies to leave it to the IT department.
Today, due to COVID-19, more sales than ever are taking place without a salesperson in the room. Now, a potential customer can simply go online and conduct deep research into your company, your products, your services, and your customers or clients. And yet, many brands are still doing the same thing they were doing in person to make a sale, except the transaction is happening virtually. But the environment has changed; the majority of the “selling” is happening when the sales rep is not in the room. So, Thompson says, the question has to be: “How do you make it easier for customers to make an informed decision?”
How does Value Lifecycle help?
“I work on both buying and selling sides, and it’s interesting to me,” Thompson says. Value Lifecycle spends the majority of its time—75 percent, he estimates—when working with buying organizations, helping them figure out exactly what they want to accomplish and where they’re trying to go, and then determine what a great deal really looks like.
The biggest disconnect between selling and buying organizations, he says, is that buyers are ultimately aiming for a new and improved outcome; that’s why they’re spending money. Sellers, on the other hand, are generally satisfied with just closing a deal. “At Value Lifecycle, we look at managing value all the way back from the marketing messaging to the sales value proposition to the deals that are closed,” he explains. “Then, you have to go in and ensure you deliver on that promised value and get credit. You’re going to have a sales pipeline chock full of upsell and cross-sell opportunities,” shares Steve.
Recurring revenue models and customer churn
There’s been a significant shift over the last ten years, Thompson observes. “While new business is important, it’s that installed base that you’ll have to take care of. Because in a recurring revenue model, your install base is going to dwarf net new within a few years. Most importantly, if you’re not ensuring you’re delivering the value that the customer expects, you’re going to face churn or not get the upsell or cross sell that you wanted.”
Value Lifecycle, he explains, helps clients keep delivering on their value propositions not just in the interest of winning new customers, but also to ensure existing customers’ success and therefore loyalty, minimizing churn and keeping them coming back for more.