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Value-ology: Aligning sales and marketing to shape and deliver profitable customer value propositions Hardcover – 27 Jan 2017
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From the Back Cover
This book offers both marketing and sales professionals a rare combined insight into both worlds to continuously capture customer intelligence and create value, by blending detailed research with academic rigor and commercial experience of the authors in both Europe and North America.
It has never been easier to produce great marketing content and sales collateral. And yet, 90% of the content that marketing produces is NEVER used by sales. Why not? Because it’s not relevant to the audience or the prospect doesn’t even know the content exists. Furthermore 58% of deals end up in “no decision” because Sales has not presented value effectively.
Companies are creating lots of noise but failing to resonate with the customers.
So what? The danger, aside from marketing wasting tens of millions of dollars on ineffective content and tools, is that customers will disengage. 94% of prospects say they have completely disengaged with vendors because of irrelevant content.
In order to grow fast, the authors argue, Sales and Marketing teams need to slow down. They need to work together to truly understand their customers’ needs, wants, motivations and pain points so that they can offer customized “value”. The book sets out how to establish a formal program to continuously capture customer intelligence and insights – the shiny gems of understanding that help prospects to connect the dots – so that value can be consistently articulated in marketing and sales conversations.
By integrating the best ideas and practice from commercial experience and academic research the authors show how to create value across the entire marketing and sales value chain – not only get a new customer, but to continue to create value for future purchases by creating “post-sales” value.
About the Author
Simon Kelly has 35 years’ experience in the ICT industry in customer service, sales and marketing. He was Marketing Director for BT Major Business where he pioneered the move from ‘product push’ to ‘value-based’ selling and marketing. He led a canon of knowledge for the CIM on best practice B2b marketing. Now a ‘pracademic’. he has developed innovative marketing and sales skills modules for Sheffield Business School where is is a Senior Lecturer. He is President of SHAKE Marketing Group, based in London.
Dr Paul Johnston joined Sheffield Business School (part of Sheffield Hallam University) over ten years ago. Prior to this, he spent 20 years in the gambling and electronic games industry. He served on the boards of several companies in competitive strategy, research and product innovation roles. Paul has recently been involved with a customer-centric services module of the Sheffield City Leadership Programme and a range of large corporate projects, as well as undergraduate and postgraduate student tutoring.
Stacey Danheiser is Founder of SHAKE Marketing Group, based in Denver, Colorado. Prior to founding her own consultancy, she had 15 years’ experience as a marketing/sales enablement leader (including at board level) at large firms across cable, telecom, financial services and banking sectors.
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Top customer reviews
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I particularly valued the blend of academic research and commercial practice which provides guidance on how to efficiently maximise marketing efforts.
It really opened my eyes to what value actually is, what it does and doesn't consist of and how hard it is to actually define.
Everything in the book has been put into practice before. The authors have cleverly mixed their own research and business experience with that of others, which I really liked.
It's one of those books that you can read paragraphs and get no meaning from and, when you go back to read them again, you realise that it's describing something obvious to anyone who has commercial experience but it's dressed up in corporate-business-speak. If I wasn't reading a kindle version on a tablet, there were times when I was tempted to throw it across the room with frustration.
I became interested in competitive strategy in the early 1990s and on one level I understood the concept of differentiation but, on another level, it all seemed very vague. It was only in the mid to late 1990s, with the development of customer value concepts that I really got to grips with it. I had high hopes of this area of research and expertise but it hasn't developed in the way that I'd hoped.
I agree with the authors that (customer) value is the elephant in the room. Its importance is acknowledged along the lines of "we must provide better value for money " but it's meaning is rarely explored so different people have different ideas of what value is a) important to the customer, b) what is actually provided through the products and services and c) how the offering compares with its closest competitors.
I found the book very frustrating as it struggles to walk a line between being academic and practical. It leans towards a big business B2B bias rather than SMEs or B2C businesses. I am surprised how much I read from the book and how little goes in. This rarely happens to me with business books. It was a struggle to finish but I kept hoping to find a few nuggets to reward my efforts.
The book is quite wide ranging across the marketing and sales disciplines and it brings in plenty of ideas from other academics and authors. Unfortunately I never felt it was making worthwhile advances on its own. It seems to talk around the topic of value a lot but I haven't come away with any significant new insights into understanding what customers value, how to develop distinctively valuable products and services, how to organise the company to consistently deliver value or how better to communicate that value to customers.
I don't like writing bad reviews but I'm finding it difficult to find nice things to say about the book. I normally read and write from the perspective of small business owners. To do so here would generate a ONE star rating. The concept of value is just as important for small businesses but this book is too academic and too much about big business.
For bigger businesses I thought it had some useful things to say about bringing the sales and marketing departments together along with the more specialised groups within those functions. For a large B2B audience, I'll give it THREE stars although I'm not sure what level of personnel in these organisations will get the most from it. Senior managers may be in denial about the disconnects or already accept much of what is said here, lower levels may lack the influence to pull everything together.
Here are a few books I recommend that I feel will advance your understanding of value from a customer perspective much more than this one:
Competing on Value - it was published in 1991 but I feel it really gets to grips with value in a B2B context for sales, marketing and pricing.
Know Your Customer: New Approaches to Understanding Customer Value and Satisfaction (Total Quality Management) - the author wrote a superb academic paper on customer value which this book extends. Unfortunately it is quite dry to read but I learnt a lot from the paper and book and I must find my copy and review it.
Blue Ocean Strategy, Expanded Edition - a fascinating look at value for innovation and finding new markets and I feel the strategy canvas is a great way to think about the value attributes.
Delivering Profitable Value - another inspiring book I've read several times that I must review.
About my book reviews - My goal is to help you to find the best business advice in books. I aim to be a tough but fair reviewer because the main cost of a book is not the money to buy it but the time needed to read it and absorb it. A two star review indicates that I'm very disappointed and I believe the book should have been much better to deserve your attention. I will respond to any comment you make about my review.
Paul Simister, business coach
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