Pipeline Dragging? How Compelling Is Your Value Prop?
Cloud-based technologies will continue to change the competitive landscape of the technology industry for the foreseeable future.
The cloud solutions of today are like the mobile technologies of a decade ago. Just as those addressing mobile took the time to figure out the best way forward, so, too, will those serious about conquering the cloud.
How you differentiate your service, support and the intellectual property (IP) you bring could help you stand apart from competitors.
Almost 94% of B2B buyers research online, and somewhere between 60% to 80% (research varies) often make a purchase decision before they ever talk to someone. In this environment, getting attention and standing out is more difficult than ever, which is why having a value proposition is an integral part of the sales cycle.
Why a Value Prop?
There are many reasons to develop a value proposition, but listen to an expert. Caroline Egan, founder and director of Inspiren, is a consultant whose company has worked with SAP partners to help them hone their own value proposition skills. According to Egan, not having a strong value proposition means you can’t effectively engage with your target audiences, and that you won’t be able to drive the right kind of pipeline or convert opportunities.
A value proposition cannot be created in a vacuum, according to Egan. To be effective and well-tuned it needs the appropriate input from different stakeholders in a channel partner company, including sales, marketing and business leadership.
Before I cover what a persuasive value prop looks like, I’d like to share how Egan frames what a value prop is not. According to Egan, a value proposition:
- Is not a product description
- Is not a mission statement
- Is not an explanation of your intellectual property
Those samples tell what the partner, or the partner’s products, are about. But it does not tell what the partner can do for the customer. That is a very important distinction.
Egan views a value proposition as a key driver in capturing the hearts and minds of prospective customers. She states a value proposition is a “promise of value to be delivered and a belief from the customer of the value that will be experienced.”
Simply put, a value proposition needs to speak directly to your target market and customer segment–for instance, their industry or line of business (LoB), compared to some generic pitch that is given to every customer. If you cover multiple industries or LoBs, you should have multiple value props that are tailored to each audience.
While developing effective and powerful value propositions may take some effort, it can help you reap big rewards. A strong value prop can help
- Improve win-loss ratio
- Drive profitability
- Showcase your competitive differentiation
- Drive higher marketing ROI
A Tool to Help You Get Started
Egan is a big fan of the Value Proposition Canvas, a methodology from a company called Strategyzer that provides a template that you can use to pull together and brainstorm on value-based messaging for net new customers.
In addition, Egan suggests that a single value proposition is not enough. I agree. As I mentioned, you should tailor a value proposition for each line of service offering, industry, and/or LoB, along with how that value can impact your market customer segment. After all, nobody wants to feel like they are part of a generic sales pitch. Everybody appreciates being catered to.
If your value prop is not resonating with customers, there may be a gap between how you articulate your value and what your prospective customers see as value to them. Check out the tools I mentioned, and, if you already partner with SAP, check out some of our marketing webinars, which can help you develop and showcase your value proposition. Getting it right and creating the value your customers want can have a positive impact on your business.
This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.