221 Set the Value Vision – cont BV Part 13

Set the Value Vision – cont BV Part 13


Here are 5 Tips for Setting the Value Vision


  1.  Establish checkpoints for measuring the release of value over time. Monitor the progress and document proof of achievement through the project stages. This will enable you to continue to build your relationship with your customer’s organization and help your customer advocates improve their position within the company. This approach can also help you develop the basis for future customer testimonials.


  1.  Keep it simple. Your approach must be easy to understand. Keep it as simple as possible. If your proposal takes several pages to explain, it will seem too complex and might reduce your customer’s confidence in the project. The customer might be scared off, viewing your proposal as too challenging and risky to achieve. 


  1.  Avoid a “big bang” approach. Whenever possible, avoid an approach that requires the customer to invest heavily up front and receive little or no benefit until the end. This increases project risk tremendously and could make your customer executives more likely to delay or defer the overall project. 


  1.  Create small, incremental wins. Structure your initiative into a set of smaller, incremental steps. This way, you deliver wins early in the project, which raises the confidence level in the overall project and fuels momentum and excitement as you move forward. 


  1.  Reduce the risk. Focus on valuable yet achievable goals. Do not attempt to “boil the ocean.” Some projects get shelved before they get off the ground because they are perceived to be massive, overwhelming, and too risky. Break up large projects into smaller, more doable phases. 


I’m DJ Sebastian, and we will continue this discussion on creating customer value in the next briefings. 


220 Set the Value Vision BV Part 12

Set the Value Vision BV Part 12


Set the Value Vision 


Attaining business value on a project can represent a one-time event or a situation where the value will be released over time. Structuring your business value realization over time can help strengthen your business case and increase the probability that it will be accepted. Involving other departments or developing additional sponsors in the customer’s organization will also build momentum to move forward with the initiative.


For initiatives where value is released over time and can be expressed in a series of project phases, create a graphic to visually depict the project phases as it relates to value and complexity. A visual representation can assist in setting project priorities.  


When multiple project phases are involved


  • Initial project phases might lay the foundation and often must be accomplished first, while some can be prioritized based on financial return or ease of implementation. 


  • Project phases that have good value with low complexity could be good choices to schedule early in the project. 


  • The most complex phases could have the highest potential for delivering substantial value, so the early phases must go well in order to realize those gains. 


When multiple departments are involved, you can facilitate discussions where these departments make their case for scheduling their steps early on. These can be spirited conversations that help you position your selling team as the experts to guide your customer through the prioritization process. 


Use charts to graphically depict the business value release over time. This can be structured in terms of major milestones or in project phases. Presenting the business value with inflection points to denote significant milestones can be a good way to represent your customer’s journey and how the customer will achieve substantial business benefits. 


I’m DJ Sebastian, and we will continue this discussion on creating customer value in the next briefings. 


219 Jointly Establish Value BV11

Jointly Establish Value BV11


It is important to build the business value together with your customer so they believe it, embrace it, and own it. Here are three important steps to get you there. 


  1. Work Collaboratively: The best way to gain agreement on the business value that your customer can achieve is to work collaboratively on building the value proposition with your sponsor or “internal champion.” (This champion is a person or group of people in the customer organization that supports your solution approach and will advocate for the selection of your company as the chosen candidate.) Collaboration with the customer helps them take ownership of the value proposition. Where possible, build into the customer review process a summary from members of the customer team that includes the customer’s own assessment: how your solution will impact the operation, facilitate improvements, and deliver the measurable business benefit the customer expected. This can help streamline the approval process with your customer. 


  1. Build Confidence: Gaining internal support for your value proposition will build confidence in your solution and streamline the approval and acceptance process. Establish at least three people in your customer’s organization who are in favor of your approach and your value proposition.


  1. Make Your Internal Champion a Hero: Value can mean more than just financial numbers to your customer. “What’s in it for them” can be personal in nature, so strive to make your internal champion a hero within their organization. Make the department or division that will benefit the most a shining star. A successful project delivering substantial benefit could propel your internal champion to increased visibility within the company and position that person for a promotion as their perceived value in the organization increases. This would create a huge win-win for you and your customer. 


I’m DJ Sebastian, and we will continue this discussion on creating customer value in the next briefings. 


218 Make Value Achievable and Provable BV10

Make Value Achievable and Provable BV10


Make Value Achievable and Provable 


The most compelling value proposition is meaningless if it does not lead to progressing your deal. Here are five steps that will make your value proposition real. 


  1. Be Conservative: Tossing out an outrageously high value number will harm your credibility and stall your deal. Offering a number that is conservative makes you more believable and helps avoid deep levels of scrutiny. 


  1. Give a Range: It often makes sense to specify a range of numbers in the value proposition. The range can consist of a low, a medium, and a high number. Include the factors that will affect the range, such as timing, staff availability or market acceptance. 


  1. Focus on Your Unique Value: Connect the value amount and approach to your solution’s competitive differentiators. It does you no good if you lay out a value proposition that your competition can just “steal” by claiming the same capabilities. Highlight how your solution is unique to avoid handing your value proposition to your competition on a silver platter. 


  1. Offer Proof: In most cases, you will need to offer some type of proof that will achieve the desired result. This could be as simple as relating customer success stories or as involved as conducting some level of demonstration or pilot program. Work with your customer to determine the appropriate level of proof that will satisfy their requirement without turning the proof into a project of its own. 


  1. Provide Customer Ownership: Your customer must own the business value number. They need to believe the value calculation is realistic and be willing to sign up for delivering this value to their organization. You cannot just feed your customer a number and expect it to be accepted at face value. 


I’m DJ Sebastian, and we will continue this discussion on creating customer value in the next briefings. 


217 The Cost of Delay – BV9

The Cost of Delay – BV9


The Cost of Delay


Part of helping your potential customer understand the business value of your proposed project is articulating the cost of delay. This is a way of showing the customer the impact of time on business value. Simply put, estimated business value will “leak” over time if no action is taken. Breaking the value down to smaller increments and highlighting what could potentially be lost can create a powerful and immediate call to action.


Once you have determined a solid business value estimate, you can use the cost of delay argument as a way to shine a spotlight on the financial impact of not moving forward. For example: 

  • The business value to be realized from this project will be $900,000 annually. 
  • By delaying the project, every day the sun sets, you will lose $2,465. 
  • Every month you delay the project will cost you $75,000, money that you can’t recover. 


Conversely, you can turn this into a positive message, as follows: 


If you can begin this project one month earlier than planned, your early-bird benefit will be worth $75,000. You can use this amount to fund additional resources and equipment for your regional operations. 


I’m DJ Sebastian, and we will continue this discussion on creating customer value in the next briefings.