The Value of Value = 2.5x


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In 2008 Gartner surveyed over 600 IT buyers, asking them to identify both the strengths and the weaknesses of marketing and sales efforts across all types of technology providers.

“More than half the respondents said the biggest weakness or shortcoming in IT sales and marketing efforts is the lack of a quantified value proposition. The survey data also showed that, on average, buyers are 2.5 times more likely to buy products if a vendor is able to effectively quantify its value proposition.”

[I’ve added the underlines]

This is a rather compelling reason to uncover the Delta, the value associated with the prospect making the change from their current situation to the solution you are offering. As Gartner points out, this Delta must be expressed in tangible terms of time, people or money – specific numbers.

Copyright © 2009 The Second Derivative – All Rights Reserved.

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Peter Cohan
Have you ever seen a bad software demonstration? Peter Cohan is the founder and principal of Great Demo!, focused on helping software organizations improve the success rates of their demos. He authored Great Demo! - how to prepare and deliver surprisingly compelling software demonstrations. Peter has experience as an individual contributor, manager and senior management in marketing, sales, and business development. He has also been, and continues to be, a customer.


  1. The language of business is money, and salespeople can’t compete in the B2B world without a persuasive financial case. But in my experience, these often lead to numerical “bake-offs” that provide an advantage for the most creative accounting or operational proof. For all parties to receive a fair hearing, a forensic accountant should analyze the findings–but that rarely happens. “Sure, Competitor X shows a 3% advantage in ROI, but they’ve based their calculation on initial investment, not on total cost of ownership.”

    The saying I keep in mind is “people make their decisions on emotions and back them up with facts.” By the time the numbers are offered, decisions are often already made.

  2. Which has more impact?

    “Using our software will save you time and money…”


    “Using our software will enable you to recover $40K and 1.5 FTE’s annually, based on your own numbers…”

    A very important aspect of the “value of value” is that the numbers need to come from the customer. This provides a stronger basis for supporting one’s emotional decision and to enable a person to sell/justify internally to one’s management.

    Peter E. Cohan
    The Second Derivative
    1538 Winding Way
    Belmont, CA 94002
    Telephone: +1 650 631 3694
    Email: [email protected]

  3. Peter, When one uses the term”value,” whose value? Value is always in the eyes of the beholders (i.e. customer and the customer’s customers, each of whom want a positive customer experience). So, while all buyers want a resource to quantify ROI as a criteria, they may be doing it not for a quantified answer but that they will be asked what the ROI will be. Interesting, no one can quantify ROI until after it has happened as ROI is an after-the-fact number.

    It is asked, sometimes by a customer because others will ask the customer what the ROI will be to justify their involvement in making their decision. It is part of the C-Y-A Syndrome. Some of this quest is to show still, even, others that those who are in on the decision-making process made sure the business is getting more than they are paying for or if it turns out not so, hey want a guarantee that if it does not meet that criteria, some compensation will be made.

    There are two another factors in wanting quantified answers or a stated ROI that is fuzzy thinking.
    * The final result of what ROI will be is determined on how the customer’s firm uses what they purchased.

    * No matter what they paid, if, after the fine tuning is done, if it does the job intended or even more, if it has a long life of usage, everyone wins and a new criteria is set, set higher, for the next firm wanting to sell their products/services.

    Lastly, one has to ask if customers want a quantified number, is it due to their being asked this by those they are trying to sell whatever they make/do?

    Alan J. Zell, Ambassador of Selling, Attitudes for Selling
    Recipient of the Murray Award for Marketing Excellence
    Attitudes for Selling offers consulting, workshops and speaking on all business topics that affect sales.
    He can be reached at [email protected] or through his web site,


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