The ultimate comparison between value selling vs solution selling

What’s the ROI of your product?

If you’re able to answer that question in your sleep, you’re probably into value-based selling. You like to focus on the numbers, bring real data into your pitch, and close deals smoothly by heightening the perceived value early on.

Pushing value before anything else is a good way to build expectations and help close more deals. But how does value-based selling compare to solution selling? With two models that are so similar, what are the real differences? And how can you use each (or both) in your sales process?

Let’s dig into:

  • What is value selling?
  • What is solution selling?
  • Value selling vs solution selling: how are they different at a glance?
  • How value and solution selling differ in the sales process

What is value selling?

Value selling is a sales technique that focuses on the measurable value the prospect sees when purchasing and using your product. When you lead with value, you help prospects put a dollar value to the problems they’re facing, and show them with real numbers how their business will be affected by purchasing your product.

This model takes the challenges, roadblocks, or goals of a prospect and helps define these with real numbers. Then, using average ROI from current customers, the value seller focuses attention on how much will be improved by using the product.

The goal of the value-based selling model is to prove that the product is worth its price tag. Especially in the world of SaaS sales, it can be hard to justify a higher price tag when your competitors have similar features. This is where value-based selling can be useful—it helps focus attention on and clarify the real value prospects will get from your product.

The key is making sure your value-based arguments are parallel to the type of value this prospect is looking for.

What is solution selling?

Solution selling focuses on the outcome—what will be the result of using the product? This might include the measurable results seen in value selling, but also include non-measurable results, such as goal achievement, career advancement, or improved team morale.

Your prospects have a problem. The solution selling model digs deep into the root causes of that problem and then positions the product as the perfect solution to the problem. The focus is on the results—what will life be like for your prospect after purchasing the product?

Value selling vs solution selling: how are they different at a glance?

When comparing value-based selling and solution selling, you’ll see that the two models are relatively similar.

For example, both focus on the prospect rather than the product. Both have the goal of providing a valuable solution to the prospect’s problems. Both start by identifying needs.

So, how do they differ in practice?

Value sales Solution sales Assigns a dollar value to features and capabilities Focuses more on non-measurable results Always includes social proof of successful customers Builds a narrative that helps the prospect imagine themselves using the prospect

How value and solution selling differ in the sales process

In a practical way, there are some slight differences between how value selling and solution selling are used inside the sales process.

Where do they match and where do they differ in the day-to-day life of a sales rep?


At the qualification stage, both value sellers and solution sellers will ask lots of good questions.

These will include open-ended questions like:

  • Tell me more about your process for…
  • Walk me through how your team handles…
  • Can you give me an example of…

These types of qualifying questions help sellers determine true needs, dig into the roots of current problems, and determine how to present the value of their solution.

Psst… looking for more ideas of good qualifying questions to ask your prospects? Check out our free resource, 42 B2B Qualifying Questions


The pitch is where these two sales models start to branch off. How do value sellers and solution sellers differ in how they present their solutions to the prospect?

With value: Since this sales pitch is all about the real-world value of the product, it maintains a high focus on the dollar value attached to current problems, and how that number could be improved by implementing the solution.

With solution: Using the information gathered during qualification, the sales model digs into the results of the product. The solution selling pitch may bounce between real customer stories and a personalized narrative that helps the prospect envision their life after using the product. It focuses on goal achievement, job satisfaction, team morale, and other non-measurable results.


Negotiation and close

When it comes time to negotiate and close the deal, how do sellers using these two sales models act?

With value: The early stages of the sales process are the place where value-based sellers focus on building the perceived value of the product they’re selling. So when they get to negotiation, they’ll be harder negotiators than solution sellers. This is where they’ll bring in rock-solid social proof that’s relevant to the prospect, as well as focusing on the ROI rather than the price tag.

With solution: Solution sellers are ultimately focused on bringing the best solution to their prospects. At this stage, they’re more willing to make compromises when possible and adapt the product to the needs of the customer. The goal is to enable customers to reach their goals, so solution sellers work as advocates and advisors at this stage, bringing the deal to a close by proving with real data that their solution works for other similar businesses.

Comparing value-based selling to solution selling: is there a winner?

After comparing both of these popular selling models, can you definitely say that one is better than the other?


Some sales ‘gurus’ will dogmatically tell you that THIS sales model is the best, you must only use THIS sales model if you want to win.

That, simply put, is a load of crap.

The best sales model for you and for your business is highly dependent on:

  • Your personal sales style
  • The industry, needs, and attitudes of your prospective customers
  • The type of product you sell
  • The type of business you work for

Sales leaders and their teams must work together to build their own sales methodology, one that works for their team over and over again. This can pull from different aspects of popular sales models, such as solution and value selling.

The point—keep learning, keep improving, and build a sales model that works for you.

Whichever sales methodology you chose to adapt for your company—our free collection of templates, scripts and worksheets will help you set up a winning process faster.


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