ROI: Why It Matters and How to Reveal It

BY Jessica Helinski
Featured image for “ROI: Why It Matters and How to Reveal It”

ROI (or return-​on-​investment) is important to any buyer; they want to make sure that they will at least get their money’s worth. The responsibility is on the seller to showcase that ROI in a concise, clear way. Despite the importance of ROI, some sales reps still are unsure about how “to calculate and communicate the impact of their solutions,” writes RAIN Group President Mike Schultz. Instead, he explains, “They focus on features in their conversations and highlight the benefits, but don't convey what it means for each individual buyer and the difference it can make for them, financially, personally, and emotionally.”

ROI: Why it matters

Schulz first explains a few things that sellers must remember when seeking out the impact and ROI for each prospect:

  • The questions you ask matter. How you approach uncovering information will make all the difference when it comes to your success. Sellers must understand each prospect’s unique situation in order to determine just how their product or service will have an impact. They also must understand the goals, challenges and other issues that the prospect has in order to predict ROI. 
  • Impact cases will vary by prospect. “While you can create a general impact model for your solutions, you must ask the right questions and insert the buyer's numbers to make your case as strong as possible,” Schultz writes. Logically, it follows that no two prospects will experience the same impact from what you’re selling. And, you won’t ever present the exact same ROI to different prospects. Keep in mind that, as Schultz said, the questions you ask will help differentiate impact.
  • Buyers should articulate the impact themselves. It’s best if you can get the buyer themselves to clearly lay out the impact your product or service will have. This will boost buy-​in and make it easier for them to see the ROI. Schultz notes, “When you get the buyer to do the calculation, it's not your numbers you're trying to convince them of, it's the goals they've set for themselves and hope to achieve with your guidance.”

What to ask

To help sellers better understand, determine and present ROI, Schultz shares seven questions they can ask buyers. 

If you could overcome these challenges, what would happen to your company's financial situation?” Sure, as the seller, you could calculate the financial benefits of choosing to buy from you. But, it’s more powerful if you have the buyer come up with the numbers on their own. 

If you were to make this happen, what would it mean for you?” This question shifts the focus from the financials of a possible deal to the buyer themself. Put the spotlight on the prospect and ask how they individually can benefit, especially in the eyes of their company. “The more of a stake the buyer has in seeing the results realized, the more buy-​in you'll get, and the more likely the buyer is to support you internally,” Schultz explains. 

These are just two of the seven questions that he shares to help sellers successfully uncover impact and ROI. Their answers can help you build a strong case showing why they should buy, as well as reveal your value and willingness to work together for their business.