Key Elements for Making Product Value Offerings Comprehendible in Value-Based Selling - a Study of Energy and Fuel Saving Solutions in the Marine Industry
Value-based selling is broadly discussed in today’s business world. Selling value is not just about selling a product/solution by adjusting price and negotiating contract terms. It requires detailed and deep understanding of customer needs, acting in proactive manner and delivery of product value in terms of improvement of customer’s business and elimination of his problems. However, it has been shown in academic literature that there is a lack in understanding of value in the offerings submitted to the customers, thus there is an existing need to identify key elements of value proposition that make it comprehendible for the customers. The objectives of this thesis aim to add knowledge about how to make value proposition understandable for the customers. Theoretical framework built on the basis of literature review serves as a tool for narrowing down the discussion topic and to design insightful questions for interviews. Case study as a research method has been selected for this thesis where two companies delivering energy and fuel saving solutions to marine industry are interviewed. Data was collected through 10 semi-structured interviews with employees in different sales management positions, a Bricolage analysis approach was thereafter applied on the material. Our findings show that there are several important elements for making an offering more comprehendible. The result points toward that both tangible and intangible form of value are important elements to include in offerings. The choice of value forms and value elements, to be included in the offering, depends on customer segments, but price associated with low acquisition cost is, in general, mostly utilised and found to be best understood by customers. It is shown that quantification of value elements is another important aspect and that resonating focus is the most suitable method for presenting benefits. Our findings also show that reference cases in combination with value calculators are a fruitful approach for making offering´s value understandable by the customers. Finally, the study shows that sale force plays an important role in value-based selling and that the advising role of sale force is a key element attributable to better value understanding of the offerings. Thus, this study contributes to the knowledge about elements for making customers to comprehend product value in offerings in value based selling, both from practitioners’ point of view and from theory perspective.
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