To Add Value – Know what is Valuable

Posted on Jul 18, 2010

By Dan Hughes, Co-Founder and CSO of Broadlook Technologies

I just got back to the office from the American Association of Inside Sales Professional (

annual conference held in Minneapolis the week of May 10th.It is a good conference with a bright future attended by many professionals; executives, directors, managers and personnel who operate on or within an inside sale unit.

Like many conferences, there were speakers from various walks of business life.Some are authors, a few are “subject matter experts’, while others actively manage, oversee or operate within their own inside sales team.Many topics were covered, but often mentioned within each presentation was the point that each sales call that all sales professionals, whether inside or outside, should add-value.

Well, I should hope so.But often times this is easier said than done.

The critical part of adding value is to know what is valuable to each individual you attempt to connect with.This is particularly true if you execute your sales process via the phone, email, web-conference and the web.

So how does one accomplish the task of knowing what is valuable to the target individuals of prospect companies you wish to penetrate or major accounts within which you wish to expand?

The good sales professionals at least know the general overriding challenges that target contacts have in common and face routinely.They include these common challenges in initial conversations, establishing some knowledge and credibility,and then qualify if their target contacts experience the same challenges and are interested in hearing about how solutions to address these and possibly other challenges.

Unfortunately, most sales people don’t get this far.The good ones do.But how does one take it to the next level?

How does one begin to uncover information about the individual players, the company, their relationships, the market and industry within which they compete in order to begin to really understand what is valuable….in order to add-value.

Research.It is a simple answer, but difficult to do if you have neither the skills nor tools to do this quickly and effectively.

Within websites, press releases, social networks (linkedin profiles), blog posting and responding, twitter, tweets and retweets and many more, may reside the information necessary to begin formulating that which is important to each of your target contacts so that you can truly add-value.

It is time consuming, particularly if you do not have the right tools, but then again so is calling 50 times without a response.

I would much rather spend the extra time to “know” my target contacts as best as possible so that I can ascertain what, along with the general overriding challenges, may be most valuable to them so that I can attempt to truly add-value.

At the bare minimum, my efforts will be appreciated by my target contacts and they will know that what may be valuable to them will help me potential add-value to them.

By the way, anyone who wanted to make a sales calls and add-value to me earlier this week, would have earned a great deal of “points” could they have told me where to get a great hamburger on Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis.