What is the secret to a winning value proposition?
You have probably heard this statement many times. In order to succeed in your marketing and sales goals you need to differentiate yourself from your competitors. If you are like me, you are thinking “that is easier said than done” - especially if you are a SMB without a fully staffed marketing department. And it is hard to create Unique Selling Propositions (USPs)
Most business really find hard to find differentiating factors to set themselves apart from the competition. I personally think that the biggest problem comes from the fact that most businesses think that the main responsibility of finding the differentiating factors lies in the marketing department.
For sure, marketing plays a major role in crafting and communicating these differentiating factors as a value proposition to prospects and customers but nobody knows better what is working and what is not working than the following three groups of people: (1) the end users of your product or service, (2) your front-line and (3) supporting team. These groups should be top of mind for gathering information in developing your value proposition statements.
You might ask “But doesn’t the marketing department send surveys to end users to gage their “needs” in order to create products and services?” “Can’t we use these surveys as the guiding principles for developing new product and services?”
You can and most companies use this process today. The issue with using marketing driven surveys is that the questions are usually asked in the form of “I have these sets of needs (questions) that I think you have, can you please rank them for me so that I can create a new product or service to help you do your job better, faster and cheaper?
Unfortunately, the questions are usually started from a biased idea from the marketer and not from a true unmet need that the end user has. In order to really discover an unmet need, a more methodical approach to analyze what the end user is trying to accomplish and where in the process he/she is having a hard time is usually required.
But wait a minute, why are we talking about all these “unmet needs” and discovery process? I thought we were talking about “Value Proposition” and “Differentiation Strategy”?
In my opinion, in order to have a truly differentiated value proposition, a company needs to deeply understand the different groups of end users and why some of them have a harder time performing the task or tasks at hand than others.
By looking at things from a functional point of view instead of a marketing point of view, one can then create a feature set, a product or a service that can reach the unmet needs of this segment. Best of all, because you are the one curating these needs into a possible product or service, chances are that your competitors will not have the same “set of features” to compete with you.
With that kind of understand of what really matters to the end user and how they measure a successful completion of their task, now marketing can come to craft a value proposition statement that can set the company apart from the competitors.
Sales people can start smarter conversations and lead to the important factors that will determine the winning or losing that opportunity since the pain points that were identified previously now can be turned into questions or “sales stories” that intelligent reps can use in their discovery call.
Differentiation starts in your product or service development not in marketing.
Knowing the pain points of your users leads to developing products and services that have a clear value proposition - to help a certain group of users do specifics tasks faster, cheaper, with more simplicity or enjoyably.
Your users have unarticulated problems. When you help your end users articulate what is making their jobs hard and communicate that to them clearly then you have found the “secret to a winning value proposition.”