Value Engineering

Defending value over price in a high value, high-touch sell.


Ian H Smith

As CEOs and sales leaders, you're constantly on the lookout for innovative strategies to enhance your sales processes. One such strategy that can significantly impact your Salesforce Sales Cloud implementation is Value Engineering.

This translates into customised, forms-based ROI calculators integrated with .salesforce Sales Cloud and Salesforce Lightning Platform applications. The transformation here is to bring the buyside into determining the true value of the sellside offering. It effectively means enabling buyers to tell sellers the optimum price and timing of a purchase.

Let's explore why and how Value Engineering can transform your Salesforce experience.

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ROI Modelling Advantages

ROI Calculators are interactive tools that allow prospects to input their data and receive an instant calculation of the return on investment they can expect from your product or service. By customising these calculators and integrating them into your Salesforce Sales Cloud, you create a dynamic, interactive experience for your prospects, fostering engagement and trust.

1. Enhanced Prospect Engagement

Custom ROI Calculators provide a hands-on experience for your prospects. They can play around with different scenarios and instantly see how your offerings can impact their bottom line. This interactive process not only keeps them engaged but also educates them about the value of your products or services.

2. Data-Driven Insights

When prospects use your ROI Calculators, they input data that is crucial for understanding their needs and pain points. This data, when upserted into Salesforce, gives your sales team a clear picture of the prospect's expectations and how they perceive the value of your offerings.

3. Alignment of Buyside and Sellside Perspectives

One of the most significant advantages of integrating ROI Calculators into Salesforce is the ability to compare the Buyside view (prospect’s input) with the Sellside view (your sales team’s estimations). This comparison can be incredibly insightful. For instance, if there's a significant discrepancy between the opportunity amount and close date as perceived by the prospect versus your sales team, it could signal a need for better communication or re-evaluation of the offering.

4. Streamlined Sales Process

By automating the process of capturing and upserting prospect data into Salesforce, you reduce manual entry errors and save time. This efficiency not only speeds up the sales cycle but also ensures that your sales team has access to accurate, up-to-date information.

5. Customisation for Specific Needs

Every tech firm is unique, and so are its customers. Customising your ROI Calculators to reflect specific use cases, industry standards, and unique value propositions ensures that the tool is relevant and effective for your target audience.

6. Building Trust through Transparency

Providing prospects with a tool to calculate ROI themselves enhances transparency. It shows that you're confident in the value of your offerings and are willing to let the numbers speak for themselves.

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ROI Calculators, Applied

To effectively integrate ROI Calculators into your Salesforce Sales Cloud, consider the following steps:

1. Identify Key Metrics
Determine the key metrics that matter most to your prospects and are relevant to your offerings.

2. Customize the ROI Calculator
Tailor the calculator to reflect your unique value propositions and ensure it aligns with your brand.

3. Seamless Integration
Ensure the ROI Calculator integrates smoothly with Salesforce, allowing for automatic data capture and 'Upsertion'.

4. User-Friendly Design
Make sure the ROI Calculator is easy to use and understand, even for non-technical users.

5. Training and Support
Provide your sales team with the necessary training and support to leverage this new tool effectively.

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Return on Investment (ROI) is a metric used to evaluate the profitability of an investment relative to its cost. When comparing a Current State (As-Is) to a Future State (To-Be), the formula can be adapted to represent the net benefit gained from purchasing a product or service relative to the cost of making the purchase.

In this blog post we will look at how a combination of ChatGPT 4, Salesforce Sales Cloud and Web Forms can be brought together to achieve an important shift in sales forecasting. This means adding Buyside Forecast outputs for Opportunity Amount and Close Date - compared with same values from the Sellside Forecast.

The Buyside Amount is generated by a ROI Model; not a price list, nor an unchallenged copy of the Sellside Amount. As illustrated in the examples below, ChatGPT 4 is a powerful Co-Pilot in applying Prompt Engineering to create appropriate ROI Models that makes sense to both buyer and seller.

The ROI Models are then generated as set of Questions or Fields in Web Forms, which, in turn, are mapped to a Salesforce Sales Cloud Custom Object (e.g. Model). This is done via Upserting which ensures that one or more Unique IDs for each buyer (Email, Reference) populates or updates the right record.

The Model Object record in Salesforce then becomes part of a Related List on the Opportunity record, showing all Buyside ROI Model submissions. Then comparisons can be made between Sellside Amount and Sellside Close Date with Buyside Amount and Buyside Close Date - as illustrated in the infographic below.

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ChatGPT 4: ROI Examples

As a Co-Pilot here are some examples of ROI Modelling created with ChatGPT 4 Prompts.

Here is the general ROI formula:

ROI = (Cost of Investment / Net Profit​)×100%

To adapt this formula for an As-Is vs. To-Be comparison, consider:

  1. Net Profit: This will be the difference in profits between the Future State (To-Be) and the Current State (As-Is).
  2. Cost of Investment: This is the cost incurred to move from the Current State (As-Is) to the Future State (To-Be).

Given the above considerations, the formula becomes:

ROI = (ProfitToBe​ − ProfitAsIs​​ / Cost of Transition) × 100%


ProfitTo-Be = Profit or (benefit) in Future State
ProfitAs-Is = Profit (or benefit) in Current State
Cost of Transition = Cost to move from As-Is to To-Be

Note: If you're measuring benefits other than strict monetary profits, such as time saved or other intangible benefits, ensure you can convert these benefits into a monetary value for this calculation to be valid.

To calculate the Return On Investment (ROI) from Digital Innovation with the specified inputs, we can formulate several equations. Let's define the variables first:

BVAs-Is = Current State (As-Is) Business Value generated per annum without Digital Innovation.
BVTo-Be = Future State (To-Be) Business Value generated per annum after investing in Digital Innovation.
CDI = Cost of Digital Innovation as a Recurring Annual Subscription.
ROI = Return on Investment as a ratio relative to the Cost of Digital Innovation.
CoD = Cost of Delay per day when not investing in Digital Innovation.
CoDN = Cost of Doing Nothing per day when not investing in Digital Innovation.
CoDday = Cost of Delay per day when not investing in Digital Innovation.
CoDNday = Cost of Doing Nothing per day when not investing in Digital Innovation.

Calculating ROI from Digital Innovation:
Net_Gain - BVTo-Be - BVAs-Is

Calculating ROI:
ROI - Net_Gain - CDI / CDI
The ROI is expressed as a ratio. Multiply by 100 to get a percentage.

Cost of Delay (CoD):
This represents the loss per day by delaying the digital innovation. Assume the delay starts from the beginning of the year and goes on for d days:
CoD = BVTo-Be - BV As-Is (d x CoDday) - CDI / CDI

Cost of Doing Nothing (CoDN):
This is the loss per day for not implementing the innovation. Similarly, for d days:
CoDN = BVAs-Is - (d x CoDNday) - CDI / CDI

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When considering a high-value product or service and assessing its Return on Investment (ROI), a buyer should inquire about several key metrics to make an informed decision. These metrics help in evaluating the potential financial benefits relative to the cost. Here are some essential metrics the Sellside and Buyside should convert into a ROI Calculator:

1. Cost Breakdown
Understand all the costs involved, including initial purchase price, installation, training, maintenance, and any ongoing fees. This helps in calculating the total investment required.

2. Revenue Generation 
Inquire how the product or service will directly or indirectly contribute to revenue generation. This could be through increasing sales, expanding market reach, or enabling the introduction of new products or services.

3. Cost Savings
Evaluate how the product or service will save costs in the long run, such as through improved efficiency, reduced labor costs, lower operational expenses, or decreased waste.

4. Productivity Improvements
Ask how the product or service will impact productivity. Improved productivity can often translate into cost savings or increased capacity for revenue generation.

5. Quality Improvements
Consider any improvements in quality, reliability, or customer satisfaction that the product or service might offer. These can lead to increased customer loyalty, repeat business, and a stronger brand reputation.

6. Payback Period 
Inquire about the expected time frame for the investment to pay for itself. This is crucial for understanding the short-term financial impact and planning for cash flow.

7. Longevity and Scalability
Understand how long the product or service will remain relevant and effective for your needs, and whether it can scale with your business growth.

8. Risks and Mitigations
Discuss any potential risks associated with the investment, including market risks, operational risks, or technological obsolescence, and how these risks can be mitigated.

9. Comparative Analysis
If applicable, ask for data comparing this product or service with competitors or alternatives, including performance metrics, cost-effectiveness, and user testimonials.

10. Support and Service
Inquire about the level of customer support, service agreements, warranties, and training. These can have significant implications for ongoing costs and the effectiveness of the product or service.

11. Compliance and Regulations
Ensure that the product or service complies with relevant industry regulations and standards, as non-compliance could result in fines or additional costs.

12. Resale Value or Exit Strategy
For tangible assets, understanding the resale value or having an exit strategy is important, especially if the asset may become obsolete or no longer needed.

13. Environmental and Social Impact
Consider the environmental footprint and social impact, as these can affect brand image and align with corporate responsibility goals.

By thoroughly evaluating these metrics, a prospect can develop a comprehensive view of the potential ROI, aiding in making a better, more strategic, timely high-value buying decision.