One of the top challenges for CMOs today is how to effectively define and communicate the value and differentiation of their products to prospects. Per a recent study conducted by The MHI Research Institute, the “inability to communicate value messages” continues to be the biggest inhibitor to sales success. In my experience working with hundreds of emerging-growth companies over the past 20 years, this challenge continues to remain the #1 hardest thing for B2B marketers to define – yet it also represents one of the biggest roadblocks to improving their company’s bottom line.
Why? Probably because many of those in senior management within smaller and mid-sized companies have roots deep in technical expertise and find it very difficult to put themselves in the shoes of a prospective customer. In addition, many early products have not yet brought the expected value to their businesses so it’s hard to really understand what that value may be. Sometimes the true value of a new service or product is not readily apparent to both the customer and the vendor until it is fully deployed.
Today, however, B2B marketing has a bigger budget, better skillset, and stronger mandate to define the brand value proposition and create the content to support that value message than sales. And it’s not just sales and marketing that need to understand this value. It’s everyone along the customer engagement lifecycle.
Value Proposition Defined
So what is a value proposition? It’s a statement that clearly articulates your competitive advantage, your unique value and why your target customers would want to buy from your company instead of a competitor. Value is what the customer gets as a result from your products. It answers “why should anyone care?’” Without cracking this nut, you may find your marketing efforts continuing to fall short and visitors dropping off on your website. So how do you know what this may be?
Know Your Customers Well
In order to articulate your value, you must deeply understand your customer’s needs and why they are using your product. In B2B technology sales, there may be multiple influencers in the buying process - gatekeepers, influencers, decision-makers.approvers and sometimes with multiple channel partners involved. So make sure you know which one(s) you are targeting and make sure the messaging you create is relevant to them now and into the future. Interview your customers to see what benefits (or expected benefits from beta users) they are deriving from using your products. Examples include ROI, cost savings, or improvements in the customer’s effectiveness and efficiency.
Define the Pain
Not only must you know who your target audience really is, but you also need to know their buyer personas and what keeps them up at night. When we all watch the nightly news, it predominately focuses on negative events. Research shows that people buy two-to-three times quicker to eliminate pain. We find that the most effective B2B marketers cleverly create value propositions focused on problems they solve for customers, not positive benefits.
How Are You Different?
You need to know your competition and understand why your product is different and better than any other solution out there. You don’t need to be the best in everything, just one thing that really matters to your target customers. If you don’t know this, do your research and figure it out.
It takes effort and skill to create compelling value propositions in any kind of business and we believe PR is typically the gatekeeper help define and communicate your message. Once created, we broadcast it out through news and develop and promote case studies and stories that your customers can relate to and believe in, demonstrating your company’s services and products really do solve relevant problems for your target customers.
Need help creating your value proposition?
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