Unless you live under a massive rock, you know that inflation is back.
While you might have had the luxury to offset increasingly expensive supplies, some two-thirds of B2B companies have already implemented price increases, according to Simon & Krucher Partners.
The same study points out that 57% of the B2B companies surveyed are apprehensive about losing customers. And in fact, they are right to be worried.
Couple the facts that the previous inflationary wave was some forty years ago (how old is your sales force again?) and that most salespeople are already nervous about price discussions could lead to an explosive situation!
Fortunately, there is a 3 step approach that minimises the risk of losing accounts or sales while boosting the salespeople’s confidence.
This approach leverages the 3 of the five steps of the Value Funnel (head over here to learn more about the entire funnel).
Step 1: Revisit your Value Proposition
As a must, you need to revisit your ROI calculations behind your tangible value drivers. In most cases, inflation has changed the values and sometimes significantly. Imagine the positive ROI impact if one of your value drivers is better energy performance!
At the same time, try to alleviate some of the new emotional pains that your customers are going through. Indeed, price increases are never pleasant news for buyers and generate a tremendous emotional sense of insecurity. Is there a way that offset this with some commercial conditions, e.g. hold the price for the next six months?
While Value Propositions often focus on the Intrinsic Value your solution offers. Now is an excellent opportunity to update the Relative Value you offer compared to the competition. Shopping around may be a natural reaction for some customers.
Step 2: Craft Value Narratives
Support your sales teams by crafting value messages to reflect the updated value proposition and support your price increase.
Ensure that the narratives connect and are relevant for your buyers, and don’t forget the emotional hooks required for decision-making. Best-in-class messaging include an overview of past service and customer satisfaction, balancing the magnitude of the increase against its perceived fairness.
Step 3: Train your teams to discuss prices with confidence
Even the best value propositions and messages will falter if poorly delivered. You must help your salespeople overcome the natural human fear of rejection and maintain emotional composure. Focusing on the positive verbal and non-verbal cues that inspire confidence, the chances of price acceptance are vastly improved. Make sure your teams have the space and time to prepare. Equip your teams with the best practices and approaches to handle price objections successfully.
As you can probably apprehend, this is not a free online webinar approach! (Would you trust your company’s bottom line on a freebie?)
It is a collaborative approach where marketing, sales, finance, customer service (and more such as technical support) must work together to update the value proposition and messaging. The sales teams will acquire the necessary confidence through a live face-to-face workshop with role plays and exchanges. Assurance to deliver price increases without losing accounts or sales.
Feel free to reach out if you want to discuss more on how we can help you be more successful in these volatile times.