Shifting to Consumption-based Pricing: Ensure Sales Alignment to Drive Numbers Up

Shifting to Consumption-based Pricing: Ensure Sales Alignment to Drive Numbers Up

Categories: Sales Messaging

SaaS trends show companies are increasingly making the shift to usage-based pricing models. The ability to increase monetization over time and emphasize a land and expand strategy makes consumption-based models attractive to growing companies. Aligning to new ways buyers use your product likely requires a shifted sales approach, one that equips sellers to communicate value in a way that improves their ability to (1) land high-consumption accounts and (2) ensure long-term adoption within them. Easier said than done.

Any shift that requires salespeople to get their buyers to see changed or additional value in a solution, demands that sales organizations enable teams to improve their buyer focus so they can: 

  1. Win competitive deals to land, retain and grow high-consumption accounts
  2. Close opportunities in a way that supports long-term adoption and consumption within a buyer’s organization
  3. Continually take credit for value created, drive expansion within accounts and validate the success of the solution to support usage-rate increases

Developing a Buyer-Focused Sales Message

The switch to consumption pricing demands your customer-facing teams have a framework that enables the right conversations throughout the customer engagement process, ones that focus on the long-term buyer value and the business challenges the consumption-based solution solves.

The first step, and one that many organizations skip, is to cross-functionally align your company’s leadership on the  solution’s business value and differentiation, ensuring that the buyer language is agreed upon and used by your entire company. Consider these essential questions and how they may adjust, given your changes to your pricing model: 

  1. What problems do you solve?
  2. How do you solve those problems?
  3. How do you solve them differently and/or better than the competition?
  4. Where have you done it before? 

We write frequently about the importance of the Essential Questions. When executive teams come together to establish consistency around their answers, they lay the groundwork necessary to develop a sales message that’s customized and relevant to their buyers.

Generate cross-functional company alignment on your answers to these essential questions as they relate to what is top-of-mind for your most influential buying audiences, particularly as it relates to the consumption model. Clearly defining these buyer topics and the sales messages that align with them will support your account teams’ ability to uncover problems that maximize the consumption of your solutions. When executed correctly, your customized buyer-focused sales message should equip customer-facing teams to align your solutions to their buyers’ desired business outcomes in a way that supports success after the sale and throughout the entire customer engagement process.

Implementing a Buyer-Focused Sales Message to Improve Land & Expand Success

When it comes time to renew, expand, or compete against new competition post the initial sale — how are your salespeople and customer success team prepared to validate success and support evolving customer needs? Alignment with your buyer throughout the customer lifecycle is critical to realizing sustainable consumption and adoption within a customer’s organization. Setting the foundation for long-term success within accounts starts with your sales team. That's why those initial sales conversations are critical.

Even your veteran salespeople may need support in developing a new talk track given the switch to consumption pricing. A buyer-focused sales messaging framework ensures sales conversations stay buyer-focused and aligned on critical components of customer success.

How a Value Framework Supports a Consumption-Based Sale: 

1. Supports Sales Conversations that uncover big business pains (that lead to high-consumption)

Your sellers may be aware that to drive consumption and numbers after the sale, they first have to uncover what aspects of your solution set that your buyer’s organization will use most. However, uncovering a buyer’s biggest business problems (the ones that will drive high consumption) is difficult.

An effective messaging framework outlines the specific reasons a company would choose to purchase your solution and then provides a talk track for sales, customer success and other customer-facing teams to use in the sales process. This alignment creates consistency in message, ensuring the value of the solution and the problems it solves remains at the forefront of the buying decisions. The most effective frameworks are customized to the nuanced audiences you sell to, and can be leveraged by a variety of teams within the company. That’s why alignment on the answers to those essential questions is critical to a consistent buyer focus. 

2. Enables alignment with their buyer on solution requirements, in a way that ensures successful adoption within a buyer’s organization

In order to increase usage in an account, the buyer’s organization has to successfully adopt your solution. Driving long-term adoption requires your sales reps to help buyers define their solution requirements in a way that aligns with your offering’s technical capabilities. This alignment is key to successful adoption and ensuring your buyer will be able to actually use your solutions. 

A Value Messaging Framework guides reps in influencing their buyer’s solution requirements in a way that favors your technical suite’s capabilities, supporting successful implementation. An effective messaging framework connects your solutions differentiation, aka technical capabilities, to the positive business outcomes and KPIs of your most influential buying audiences. This connection makes it easier for reps to help buyers define exactly what they need in a solution to achieve their PBOs, which helps reps create successful adoption plans and trap the competition around your solution’s differentiation.

When defining requirements for a solution implementation, it's not uncommon for buyers to have a desired future state in mind, but not necessarily a defined way to get there. This gap is where your sellers have the opportunity to influence the solution requirements around your differentiation. By leveraging your value framework, your reps have the questions to ask that set traps for the competition, enabling buyers to see that your differentiation is the only way they can achieve their positive business outcomes.

3. Enables reps to lay the groundwork for validating the success of your solution 

The ability to validate success is critical to ensuring renewals and driving further business within accounts, regardless of your pricing model. Your salespeople lay the groundwork that will enable you to take credit for any value created and validate the success of your solution within a buyer’s organization. After all, if competition approaches your existing accounts with great promises, your customer success team has to be able to point to and prove your solution’s value. If your salespeople don’t identify the right metrics on the front end of a deal that will validate solution success down the line, your existing accounts are at risk.

An effective value framework tool provides sales teams with a mechanism they can use to connect metrics of success to their buyers' designated PBOs, before and after scenarios and solution capabilities. Ensure your framework is customized to the different buying audiences and types of decision makers your salespeople will be working with. This customization ensures your salespeople can correctly identify the metrics that will allow them to get credit for value delivery, across the buying organization. Validating success across multiple verticals within your buyer’s organization will improve your ability to increase consumption, drive renewals and increase usage prices in existing accounts. 

Drive Consistent Land-and-Expand Success

The challenge for most sales organizations in shifting to a buyer-focused sales message is operationalizing it across their entire customer-facing organization. It is critical you have a consistent way of creating and capturing buyer value throughout the customer lifecycle in a consumption-based model. To do it right, you need a commitment from company leadership and an investment in a well-thought-out initiative to bring the sales organization, and other customer-facing teams, up to speed. When done correctly, the effort can bolster your consumption-based strategy.

Developing a well-thought-out initiative with cross-functional support behind it is a hefty feat for sales leaders, whose day job is hectic enough as is. Leverage our guide for insights on how to develop and roll-out an initiative that gets results.

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