Creating and Selling Value: Creating Value: Sales & The Value Pyramid

By Dora Cheatham, Emerging Enterprise Center

Going from supplying a product that meets basic customer expectations to contributing to a client’s organization can be hard to establish and even harder to maintain, but is an invaluable strategy for long term profitability. Keeping a customer requires the creation of a relationship of mutual trust and partnership that goes beyond supplying a quality product.

Seeking to create value and a sustainable competitive advantage is increasingly difficult in today’s data-filled environment. Buyers today are educated and savvy. In the B2B world, the buyer can be 60-65% through the purchase process before he or she even makes contact with an incumbent or potential vendor. They know what’s out there and what it costs so if all you have to offer is a product that meets specifications, then you have effectively created a situation where your only option is to sell on price—and the lowest price invariably wins. That also means that as soon as a competitor emerges with the same option at a lower price, then chances are that customer is lost to the newcomer. So how can you ensure that your customer remains loyal to your product and business?

Smart Buyers Seek Value

A truly smart buyer understands the value of a vendor that contributes to the smooth running of his or her business. If you can deliver a flawless product, on-time, every time, with excellent customer service, then it behoves him to use your product—because spending time dealing with vendor-related problems and quality issues costs money and impacts his own customer service and bottom line (think about the UPS “I’m happy” ads where department managers and customers are happy thanks to UPS Logistics).

By supplying a quality product with excellent customer service you have already established some level of competitive advantage. And many companies today provide good products with good service – it is a prerequisite to staying in business. To sustain that advantage however you need to continually climb the value pyramid and add to your product in terms of additional service and knowledge, eventually making a quantum leap to the peak of the value pyramid to establish yourself as more than a vendor, but a trusted strategic partner.

Can you help lower your customers’ costs or improve their productivity? Can you help them identify new products or markets? At an even broader level, can your customers call on you for advice on operational systems and processes or strategic direction? In other words, does your customer consider you a supplier or a partner?

Schematic adapted from Doyle P. and Stern P., Marketing Management & Strategy, 4th ed., Prentice Hall

 

As you climb the value pyramid, commoditization decreases and company and product value increases, with fewer competitors able to compete at the same level. The fundamental difference between the lower and upper levels of the pyramid is distinct: to be good at the former, the salesperson and business needs to have a top quality product to sell and needs to understand his product and his own business well.

To be good at the latter, the salesperson and business needs to have an understanding not only of his own product and business, but of his customer’s business as well. He needs to understand his customer’s individual and industry needs and must excel at consultative selling, offering solutions that are of mutual benefit to both organizations. Only then can you hope to ensure an enduring partnership and long term rewards.

You don’t close a sale; you open a relationship if you want to build a long-term, successful enterprise. Patricia Fripp.

Office Space Available for Start-ups and Early Stage Businesses at the Emerging Enterprise Center!!

The Emerging Enterprise Center has open office space for new start-ups and early stage businesses looking for a jump start on their way to a successful business!  The Emerging Enterprise Center, located at the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce is a business incubator that provides Support, Access to resources and Advice help develop and nurture entrepreneurs.

Qualified participants receive affordable office space and business services, access to to all of the training and networking resources of the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce, plus on-site professional advice, mentoring and a network of professional advisors. The EEC has a variety of office sizes in both individual offices ranging from 80 square feet to 342 square feet, and 2 to 5 room office suites that range from 224 square feet to 807 square feet. As part of the incubator program, leases are for 6 month increments for flexibility, and include secure access 24/7, receptionist, and the EEC Services Room which includes copier, postage meter, individual secure mailboxes, coffee service, microwave, and refrigerator. The program also includes free access to conference rooms, business educational and networking events along with mentoring from experienced business people.

Founded in 2008, the EEC provides a comprehensive program that is designed to nurture entrepreneurs as the focus on Growing their business, Developing business skills and Refining their business model so they can Graduate with a business model that is scalable and sustainable!

In recent years, small businesses were the largest job generator in the U.S., as they have been historically. They will become even more important as large business continues with automation and efficiency improvement efforts. Small business provides financial opportunity and a chance to develop wealth. Creative, motivated individuals can use their talents and expertise to the fullest providing satisfying careers, job opportunities, and the backbone of the market economy.

What Types of Businesses are candidates for the Emerging Enterprise Center?

There are several qualifications that the EEC Admission Committee looks at in determining who to admit to the program. Recognizing the role small businesses play in the economy, the highest consideration is given to businesses with the potential to produce jobs and significant revenues in four to six years, and have the intent to remain in New Castle County upon graduation! The other primary qualifications include:

  • Be a new or an early stage business (less than 3 years), with a business license
  • Have a written business plan
  • Be privately held
  • Have adequate working capital to enter into a six-month lease
  • Be a current member, or become a member to the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce.

How does the Emerging Enterprise Center actually help a new business?

The Emerging Enterprise Center at the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce offers assistance to early stage, start-up businesses in New Castle County and the greater Wilmington region. The goal of the EEC is to offer a comprehensive program of assistance so that early stage firms can develop the skills necessary to graduate and grow into thriving businesses. Our EEC companies are exposed to a Balanced Scorecard, designed to help them focus on activities in four key areas: Customers, Education/Personal Growth, Financials and Internal  Processes. The incubator program helps nurture the entrepreneurial spirit while promoting economic development in New Castle County by providing affordable office space and business support services, training, mentoring and a network of professional advisors.

For more information on the EEC, please contact us at 302-737-4343 or info@eecincubator.com.