3 Common ROI Misconceptions In Sales

BY Jessica Helinski
Featured image for “3 Common ROI Misconceptions In Sales”

Demonstrating value is vital to successful selling. But there are quite a few ROI misconceptions that can hurt sales. 

Often, when it comes to impact and ROI case-​making, sellers fall back on one of many general misconceptions, and this leads to lower sales results,” writes RAIN Group’s COO Dave Shaby. 

By being aware and avoiding these, sellers will have a stronger grasp of how to effectively demonstrate ROI. And consequently they may close more deals. 

The Most Common ROI Misconceptions

In his professional experience, Shaby has witnessed a disconnect between sellers and buyers when it comes to ROI. “15 different seller skills we studied through the eyes of buyers, sellers were worst—15th out of 15—in ‘making the return on investment (ROI) case clear to me’," he reports.

This can be remedied with a more thoughtful approach on the part of reps. He points out that too often, sellers think ROI is only about numbers. But, that’s not the case.

While financials do matter to buyers, that’s not the only influence on their decision-​making. Sellers often mistakenly assume that logic is the sole driver of purchases. But as Shaby notes, “Even in business, decisions are driven by wants, desires, and fears. Purchases are then justified by rational ROI cases.”

So when discussing ROI, sellers should have the financials and facts to make their case. But they should also attempt to tap into a buyer’s emotions.

Writing for SalesFuel, Rachel Cagle suggests, "Instead of focusing on features alone, try implementing how each feature, or all of them combined, can benefit the decision-​maker as a human…Focusing on human benefits rather than just business benefits can help not only get the decision-maker’s attention, but get them to take action quickly.”

Sellers Think Too Highly of Their Delivery

Another major disconnect between buyers and sellers is at the heart of a common ROI misconception. Shaby reports that according to RAIN Group’s research, sellers are confident in their ability to demonstrate ROI. However, only 16% of buyers agree that reps are actually effective at it. 

Their findings reveal that sellers aren’t making the case for ROI clearly enough for their prospects. One way to have a more impactful approach is to use sales impact modes. As SalesFuel points out, “By crafting a compelling and highly personalized model, you will be able to clearly demonstrate why the seller should choose your solution.” 

Reps Don’t Follow Through

Another ROI misconception is that once a seller has shown ROI, their work is done. But they need to do more. According to Shaby, reps are missing out on a major opportunity to really show the buyer ROI’s impact. 

Salespeople need to clearly demonstrate how the solution will change how the buyer does business. They should show how they will overcome pain points and how they will achieve their goals. An engaging, personalized picture needs to be painted. One way to effectively do this is through storytelling. 

SalesFuel shares some great advice for effective storytelling. To get started, Sproutworth Founder Vinay Koshy suggests using these questions to “develop the kind of story your business needs to tell.

  • What problem are we solving for the customer?
  • Is the problem compelling enough to capture and keep their attention?
  • Is it convincing as the best possible solution to overcoming a problem when compared to your competitors?”

Once you’ve answered these, you have the foundation to paint a picture. Using a story that will resonate with the buyer and inspire action. 

Don’t let common ROI misconceptions keep you from making a sale. Keep these insights in mind when you approach the stage to make your ROI case. You’ll find that your approach aligns more closely to what buyers want to hear.

Photo by RDNE Stock project