It was a weekday afternoon. One prospect had sent me the most challenging email replies I’ve ever had. He challenged my assertion that my company’s solution can help him save up to 70% more time. What was my source? How did I arrive at that figure? My sales value proposition was punched in the face right there.
I was drained! Using data from an independent industry survey which ranked our company’s software, there was no way I could verify that data. This prospect’s ass-kicking questions forced me to rethink sales value propositions. And I noticed that often, instead of taking the time to craft compelling sales value propositions, we take the easy route. The route that speaks little to the specific needs of prospects.
The value is not the same
The point of sales value proposition is the word value. It means that we articulate clearly how a customer will increase their own value (whatever it is) by using our services or solution. One reason why we stick to generic sales value proposition in B2B sales is that we assume that one company’s value (derived from using our solution) is the same as the other company’s value.
Jim Keenan, The Sales Guy & Author of Not Taught was right. He said potential customers might have the same symptoms, but their problems – and in effect the value they’ll derive – are different.
A good starting point for crafting compelling value propositions is to think of value buckets. This is an idea John Orekunrin, CEO and Founder of QUINN has learned to fine-tune in his entrepreneurial journey. QUINN is the premier shopping service where professional stylists meet with in person with clothes and accessories that fit customers style, budget and existing wardrobe.
Start with value buckets
John and his team noted that different customers had different lifestyles and considered value in different ways. For one bucket, time was super important. And so value propositions around time savings and freeing up of time were important for them. Another bucket of customers had a lifestyle which allowed for more free time. These folks just wanted good styling — and so a value proposition around styling was more relevant.
But knowing how customers will benefit or derive value from your solution or service is only the starting point. Research shows that there are three components to consider when crafting your value proposition.
1) Articulate the Value Statements
Often when we make mention of value propositions, we automatically think of a value statement — the clear, compelling and credible expression of experience that the customer will receive using your service. The elevator pitch.
True, we need to succinctly articulate the technical, economic, service, or social benefits that deliver value to customers. However, this expression of your value-adding intentions to the client will be more robust when you have figured your next ingredient to the recipe: value points.
2) Identify the Value Points
Values points drill your offering to see the similar elements in your solution that deliver the same value as the next market option. Think points of parity. Based on what the market knows, how do you compare with the guys next door?
“It’s okay to create value statements based on market similarities. But customers won’t give up the old for the same – they want more.”
So we have to think critically about the unique elements which makes us stand out. Those that make our offerings superior to the market. Think points of difference. This is the sweet spot we want to be at. But value propositions that thrive on points of difference are not empty promises! They should have the final ingredient in the recipe: value substantiation.
3) Bolster with Value Substantiation
This is my personal favorite. Because it shows the incremental and monetary value of the change you’re proposing as a salesperson. Thanks to hype of everything, your word is simply not enough! Value substantiations back your claims up with quantifiable benefits. Therefore creating an understanding of how the future state will differ from the present conditions.
This is where you blend intelligent assumptions about the industry and the business to define monetary gains. The three most common ways to develop value substantiations are:
Value equations: a value word equation expresses in words and simple mathematical operator how to assess differences in functionality or performance between suppliers offering and the next best alternative
Value case histories: It documents the cost savings or added value that reference customers have actually received from their use of the suppliers offering
Value calculators: Spreadsheets software applications used to demonstrate the potential the value customers will derive from your offering.
Combining these three ingredients will help us create a compelling sales value proposition that prospects can strongly relate to.
Note: This post is part of a series of learnings from my 15mins interactions with 52 tech startup entrepreneurs and founders. They share with me their biggest sales mistake, what they learned from it & how they are doing things differently as a result.
Author: Kwesi Sekyi-Gyinae