Value-Based Selling at monday.com: Solving Problems, Earning Trust, and Growing Accounts in 5 Simple Steps
When I joined monday.com nearly seven years ago, I was the 16th hire and was excited to be transitioning to customer success following prior roles in sales. I wasn’t expecting to return to sales until I realized how much I missed it. I also saw the opportunity in value-based selling, and believed I could take monday.com’s focus on collaboration and customer satisfaction and build a really positive and refreshing sales culture—something I noticed was severely lacking in my previous sales experiences.
At the time, monday.com didn’t have a sales organization. I actually pitched the idea of value-based selling to the CEO and CTO. Although they had their concerns, they allowed me to split my time between customer success and sales. They also gave me three months to prove myself. In those three months, I brought in more money than the whole success team combined. That’s when they told me to start hiring.
I grew monday.com’s sales team in Israel and then spent two years opening the U.S. office and growing our sales team in New York. Today, monday.com has over 1,500 employees. Nowadays, I work as the director of sales, managing five sales teams across the organization.
Our sales success didn’t come from having the best feature list. Strong product capabilities help, but they won’t make the enterprise or larger sale. At the end of the day, it was connecting these features to value for the end user that really helped starting off with larger deals and get them to cross the finish line to grow even further.
From feature-selling to a value-based approach
When we first established sales at monday.com, a value-based approach was already part of the organization’s DNA. The way the platform is built, the way our leadership thinks—it’s all about creating as much value as possible for the end user. This meant that as I developed the sales org, I didn’t need to shift people’s mindsets.
In fact, I just needed to communicate how the concept of value translates throughout sales. From my experience in training sales reps and managers, I identified the following four cornerstones of value-based sales:
1. Know your product’s features and capabilities inside and out
This directly impacts your ability to pitch it—and ultimately sell it. Product knowledge creates the foundation that allows you to provide value as a consultative partner to your prospective customers.
2. Understand the need
When a prospect comes to you, take a moment to ask them what brought them to your product or company. What pain points are they experiencing, and what solution are they using today? How do they want to improve? If you can’t grasp a customer’s needs, you’re never going to be able to sell based on value.
3. Translate features into value propositions
Selling based on features does not work. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to know. But what makes the sale is the value behind the features, and that requires a whole different type of communication.
The value of a workload feature is the ability to make sure people aren’t over or underworked. The value of a person column is accountability. You want to make your client visualize the narrative and how your solution can address their pain points and change their life.
4. Talk to real customers
The best way to see the value of your product’s features successfully is to talk to your customers. Listen when they tell you where their value is coming from. Not only will that inform the direction of your deals, but also the direction of your product.
At monday.com, we built our platform based on customer feedback—and we’re constantly working on iterations. We attribute so much of our success to that.
The 5-step process of value-based selling
It’s always easy to talk about value-based selling. But walking the walk when it comes to moving to a value-based sales approach is challenging in addition to more time-consuming.
The most common piece of feedback I give to my reps is to slow things down. Naturally, salespeople want to close as quickly as possible. They’re trying to rush into a demonstration, and as a result, inadvertently resort to feature-selling.
The key differentiator of value-based selling is having the salesperson take on a consultative role.
Doing so effectively takes a lot of time, but it pays off in the future. Focusing on delivering value right out of the gate helps the account to grow more down the line. So as counterproductive as it seems, I tend to suggest that my reps take a tiny step back.
As a salesperson, your guiding question should always be “is this something that’s going to create success for the customer?”
It doesn’t sound very sales-y, but it’s our secret to value-based selling. Focusing on this allows us to grow accounts and win customer loyalty. In my time as a sales leader, I’ve constructed a relatively straightforward five-step approach to value-based selling:
1. Set the baseline
The first step is establishing a baseline: What is it exactly that your client wants to accomplish? They might come to you with a specific struggle or use case that your product can directly address. At this point, you’re letting your customer buy, but you aren’t really selling—you’re just providing the information about a service they already know they want.
The focus should be to deliver based on the customer’s expectations and build a foundation of trust. This means taking the time to fully understand the use case and show that you’re committed to providing value.
2. Understand the context of the use case
At this stage, you want to figure out every person who’s in some way connected to the original use case your client cares about. To identify peripheral stakeholders, ask questions like:
- When a project starts, where does it come from?
- How does it get to you?
- Who do you need to keep informed?
- Who does this key stakeholder report to, and how do they report to them?
As a salesperson using this context, you can piece together a much more comprehensive picture of the situation and everyone involved. Additionally, you can accurately explain to your client how getting other stakeholders involved in the project would provide so much more value to the company.
The key is to avoid straying from the original problem they wanted to solve. But, you can also be making suggestions that expand the solution across other teams or departments.
3. Create more use cases
You’ve got to prove yourself before trying to expand the deal. Let’s say you did a great job understanding who are the stakeholders involved in the use case. Additionally, you demonstrated your suggestions and at the end of the demo, your customer told you that they could really see themselves using your solution.
That’s a clear sign that they’re seeing value and you can start suggesting more use cases. Once you’ve won a customer’s trust, most people are willing to offer a little bit more of their time to see how you can add even more value.
Ask your point of contact if they’d allow you 15 minutes of their time to see if some other use cases you had in mind might be relevant. By demonstrating value before making this ask, you’re far more likely to get a yes.
In these 15 minutes, the goal is to demonstrate really simple use cases that are easy to set up, connect across the organization, and create a lot of value. Hiring and onboarding are great examples—it’s relevant to every department across the board and ties back to enablement, which is important to every business.
Once I hit a use case that the customer is interested in, or thinks somebody else in the company would be interested in, I go back to step one and determine the baseline for the use case. From there, I can cycle through steps one to three as many times as I want.
4. Ask for introductions
I very deliberately like to wait until my relationship with a customer has matured before I ask for introductions. Why? Because I really believe that you need to earn the right to ask that question. If you haven’t earned it, most of the time you’re going to hear a no.
Wait until you demonstrate a solution, validate it, and really partner with the customer as more of a consultant rather than a salesperson. Once they see you here as a partner, they are going to be far more willing to introduce you to other people in their org.
When the time comes to ask for an introduction, don’t ask your point of contact if they know anyone at the company they think would like your product. You’re going to tell them exactly who you want to be introduced to. This allows you to maintain more control of the process, and ensure that you’re going to be connecting with a person who you know you could provide value to.
Your question might sound something like this:
“Hey, I know you saw so much value with our CRM, but we also have a marketing product. Do you think I could get 10 to 15 minutes with the Head of Marketing to see if that’s something that could be relevant to them?”
5. Expand across the org
Once you have a certain percent of the company bought into your product (the specific number will vary depending on the org size), it’s time to start looking at IT. You’ll want to identify someone at the company who can make a decision on technology across the business, like a chief technology officer (CTO) or head of innovation. Going through this formal approval process will help your product expand across the org, eventually getting the entire company on board.
- Understand your product, and its value to your customers. Focusing on features rather than a solution for a customer means you can sell yourself short. When you take the long-term listening route, you create a trusting relationship with a customer built on adding value, not selling products for the sake of selling.
- Talk to your customers in order to set the baseline. Value-based selling as mentioned above is all about taking on the consultant, rather than vendor role. When you understand their needs, you can set a baseline for how your product can fit in seamlessly. When you are able to address their specific pain point with time and proven value, this is where you can see it helping them in the long-run.
- Create more use cases by talking to key people in the org. Don’t just ask to expand, ask to talk to specific departments and figure out where your product really fits in. After you’ve proven that your product works, provides critical value as a tool, and your interest in a long-term relationship, that’s when you can ask for an introduction. A 15-minute conversation with a specific department head to talk about potential use cases goes a long way than to just ask where you can fit in next.