Not sure that your value proposition is really delivering the message that you intend? So many of us in marketing and sales are expected to create value propositions, but the majority of us have never received any kind of training on how to do it effectively. Here’s a quick check-up that can help you identify points at which you can refine your value proposition so that it is truly ready for customer engagement.
Step 1 – What is it about?
Does the value proposition focus on your product or services, or is the focus on the potential customers’ need, challenge or pain? Your targets are short on time and patience, so putting the focus on your own company, rather than their issues leaves them to figure out for themselves if you are relevant. I’m sure you can guess which of the 2 choices above will be more attractive to them.
Step 2 – Who is it addressing?
Many value propositions try to cover multiple target audiences. Yet, one-size-fits all usually fits no one. So if I was your prospect, could I easily tell by reading or hearing your value prop if it is addressed to me specifically? If you are thinking that you have to have a broad one because you have multiple targets, think again. Consider developing a core one, and then multiple targeted value propositions that speak to key players in the buying decision.
Step 3 – Is it Understandable?
Use of acronyms, technical language, internal jargon, and “marketing speak” can completely derail the clarity of the message you are trying to drive home. This is a frequent issue that many value propositions fall prey to. Keep it clear, crisp, and in customer language. If your prospects have to translate it to understand – they won’t.
Step 4 – Is it Provable?
The very essence of a value proposition is about making a “claim” of value. Given that the claim is coming from your company, most buyers will automatically be skeptical. You’re trying to sell them something, after all. So consider offering objective, third party (i.e. not YOU) proof that the value delivered is real. Testimonials, case studies, survey results, research results, analyst reviews. No proof? Get some or your value proposition will be just words on a page.
Step 5 – Is it Quantifiable?
Many value propositions include key attributes such as increased productivity, lowered costs, additional revenue, and the like. There are a handful of key buyer imperatives that your prospects are typically looking for. The sticking point is that if you include an imperative, you need to put a stake in the ground and tell me by how much. The amount or % that your offer delivers is key to putting the oomph into your statement. Afraid to actually use a number or %? Then reconsider the inclusion of that imperative. If you can’t make it specific and real, then it’s just a claim like millions of others.
By now, you should be getting a good idea on the strengths and weaknesses of your current value proposition. Resist the urge to start over from scratch. Instead really think through where you can make improvements that will speak directly to the customer. The value proposition as a marketing and sales tool can be thought of, metaphorically, as a mirror. When your prospect looks in that mirror – make sure it’s their face they see, and they will step forward. Differentiate yourself as a vendor by making it all about them.
Lisa Dennis is president and founder of ValueProposition.expert and Knowledgence® Associates. She is an international marketing and sales consultant, trainer, writer and strategist. Her forte is in helping organizations develop and integrate customer-focused value propositions into the marketing and sales mix of B2B companies across a broad range of industries.