As someone that spends a lot of time in the field and with customers, I am always interested in understanding why we win and why we lose deals. And by the way, my view is that the lessons learned apply somewhat universally regardless of what it is you are selling. Not surprisingly, I frequently hear that we win based on the relationship with the customer and that we lose based on price. But is it really this simple? I think not……
This is why one of my favorite questions for a sales rep is “what specific elements of differentiated value – in CUSTOMER VALUE TERMS – did you articulate in your proposal and how did these compare to other alternatives available to the customer?”
There is actually a lot more to this question than you might think. It requires that the sales rep: Understand the customer’s business, know what matters to the customer and why; Understand what we have to offer that aligns with the customer’s value points; Know what the competition is offering and why we are better; and Understand how price and value align in the eyes of the customer.
Within HP Technology Services, we have spent a significant amount of time investing in our business to ensure that we can answer the higher level questions about what matters to our customers and then articulate why HP has a superior set of capabilities in each area that customer’s value. How did we come up with our list of focus areas? We paid attention to our customers, solicited external analyst opinions, collected field experience, and conducted our own internal research. The result is something we call the 12 Points of Value framework. This framework reflects what we know customers consider when selecting a Technology Services provider:
Over the next few blog posts, I’ll share this framework with you and I’ll also provide some proof points and detail in each area to highlight why I feel HP is the best alternative in terms of the Services, Products and People to meet our customers’ needs for each point. I think that this framework will be useful in helping our customers make the best decision on the Services Partner they choose based on an objective capability assessment in a defined set of areas. I hope you find this useful and look forward to your feedback and input. Now let’s get started going through the 12 points!
The first point of value is that customers tell us they want us to know them, know their business, and know their challenges and opportunities. In fact, a key aspect of being a consultative Services provider is to listen before talking so you can provide an insightful point of view and set of recommendations aligned with a particular business need. In short – this means understanding the customer’s needs before determining which solutions are best for their unique situation. When we listen to our customers - we provide invaluable insights and match their needs to HP’s unique capabilities, strengths, and offers. For example, HP’s global delivery capabilities wouldn’t really matter to an organization that only operates in a single local geography, but it might matter a lot to a company that has global operations or is considering expanding to new regions or countries. Another example is that our new Portfolio offers like Proactive Care or Datacenter care might not resonate with a customer that has a simple non-business critical infrastructure where some degree of downtime is tolerable, but these offers would matter a lot to a customer that is deploying an internal private cloud with heterogeneous technology or a customer who’s deploying business critical applications on a scale-out bladed and virtualized x-86 infrastructure. Once we understand what’s important to a customer, we can highlight – in detailed value terms - why HP is the absolute best Technology Services provider to engage as a partner.
In my next blog – I’ll talk about point 2 - specifically, information related to our Services Portfolio, which is critical to delivering the Always On Support experience customers expect from HP.
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Steve King is WW VP of Competitive Sales for HP's Technology Services Organization. He has 25 years of experience in the IT industry with an extensive background in Services and Sales. Steve works with customers and HP teams on a worldwide basis to help them leverage the unique and comprehensive capabilities of HP to accomplish their business and IT objectives. He is a frequent speaker at HP events as well as a recognized leader in developing HP's Sales talent.