Continuing our series on economic theory and its application to sales, we here take up an extremely important factor: sustainable value. As you will see, it has an intrinsic application to commerce, the sales force, and in fact personal lives and even the activities of nations – and is one of the key aspects in new sales era.
While today sustainable value has come to the forefront of many economic debates, it is actually a very old concept in economics. Sustainable value describes a product or service that not only benefits the developer and seller of that product, but the customer, the community and society as well.
Ultimately it is only products and services with true sustainable value that will last—products that are innately destructive in the end must fail. The term has taken on an added dimension and meaning today, with our ecology in serious jeopardy and economic crises such as the one which just ended, which of course had its roots in highly destructive financial instruments. So, what is the role of sustainable value in the sales process of tomorrow?
A Bit of History
How far back does the concept go? At least in our contemporary society, sustainable value was originally described by the “father of modern economics” Scottish economist Adam Smith all the way back in the 18th century. Smith wrote about the something he called the “invisible hand”: in a free market, individuals’ efforts to maximize their own gains may benefit society, even if they begin with no particular intention to do so. Not long afterward the same concept was expressed by French political thinker and historian Alexis de Tocqueville in his famous work Democracy in America as “enlightened self-interest”: individuals who act to further the interests of others (or the interests of the group to which they belong), ultimately serve their own self-interest. The concept runs all through the Austrian School of economic thought, popular for the last 150 years: trade is only lasting and sustainable when it has a beneficial effect on society.
Your Product or Service
You might have already realized some of the ways that sustainable value applies a sales force. To start with, the product or service you are selling should have its own sustainable value. The more beneficial a product is, the more sustainable value it has. An example can be seen in the modern trend in fashion.
Apparel has always had some sustainable value to consumers: it makes them more attractive, provides protection and maintains modesty. However in the last half-century apparel has become very unsustainable in the way it has been made: using third-world labor, with dyes that contained carcinogens, with manufacturing processes that polluted the environment, and with lower quality processes and material reducing longevity. Today an increasing number of manufacturing processes are utilizing sustainable-grown cotton, with non-poisonous dyes, made using only fair labor practices. Therefore the customer not only looks better, the clothing has a lasting sustainability on all other fronts.
In B2B sales, your product or service can be rated as to its sustainable value. If you are, for example, selling a software product that greatly benefits its users, those users will be better employees at their companies, the company itself will be better performing, and will, in the end, have a positive impact on the overall economy. The examples of sustainable value are endless.
Sales Force and Insight Selling
Today’s sales forces are having to utilize the practices of insight selling—you must learn all about prospects, their particular issues, and how your product or service will precisely benefit them. A question any salesperson can ask themselves is: what sustainable value will my product bring my prospect? The answer to that question should be fairly detailed for each prospect’s individual sales pipeline: the more ways a product can be shown to benefit a client, their company and beyond, the more sustainable value it can be shown to have. You will find that long-term sustainable value will be the primary selling point of your product or service.
The more a sales force is able to isolate sustainable value for each sale, the more likely the deals will close. It is a powerful factor in sales force effectiveness.
To help you isolate sustainable value, you should turn to a CRM solution that offers the most sustainable value itself. Learn all about it here.