Your value proposition is a statement that explains all the benefits you promise to bring to your customers. That’s simple enough. But, like lots of things in life, beautiful simplicity requires expertise, experiments, and effort.
A lot of Mission Drive’s work is in the emerging technology sector where new products and services are solving problems in new ways, for buyers who – through no fault of their own – may not always appreciate the potential for a new approach. For example, planners in social services could benefit from advanced data modelling, but might not have the skills to understand the problems these models can solve.
This can make it hard for innovative businesses to pick apart each of the elements that goes into creating a value proposition. For example it can be hard to identify who the buyer for new tech really is. Without clarity on essential elements, like your ideal buyer, it’s hard to explain the benefits you promise to deliver them, in language they’ll understand.
With a lack of clarity comes risk – your sales, marketing, and product development efforts can be misaligned, or worse, misdirected. Who should your sales team contact and what stories do they tell? How does your marketing team plan campaigns, create copy, and target adverts? What features do your product team prioritise?
There’s no easy solution to this. Especially if you’re just starting out. The key is to develop, implement, and iterate.
Develop your value proposition
- Download Strategyzer’s value proposition canvas.
- Identify the buyer you are focusing on, e.g. Finance Directors of SMEs.
- On the right-hand side, note the ‘jobs-to-be-done’ for your buyer associated with the domain you address. These are tasks your user must do to be effective (everything from technical stuff like producing forecasts to non technical work like presenting to the board).
- Note the pains and gains associated with doing each job. A pain is a negative outcome or obstacle associated with the job, like time consuming data collection. A gain might be something like ‘looking good by providing accurate forecasts to the board’.
- On the left-hand side note the tasks your service performs, and how you relieve pains whilst achieving gains, in ways that your customer both expects – and might not expect.
- Then create ‘fit’ by making connections between how your product eases pains, creates gains, and performs the jobs your buyer cares about. Focus on those you excel at.
Implement your value proposition
By implement what I really mean is get it out there. At this stage I’d recommend using your easiest to deploy channels – people, social media, and your website.
Ask sales people to start using your value proposition in their sales outreach and calls. Not verbatim – but close enough to identify whether the folks they’re speaking to are the right people to buy from, and how these prospective buyers respond to the benefits outlined. Ask product teams to get feedback from current customers. Ask leaders to get feedback from their network.
- Social media
Platforms like Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn are perfect for running experiments on your value proposition. Social media experiments can include polls (which problem is top of your mind?) or ads that allow for A/B testing of different messages.
Describe the problem you’re solving. Present ideas on how to address it. Create a call to action (CTA) related to the new value proposition, like a demo or a factsheet.
Iterate your value proposition
As the old saying goes ‘no plan survives contact with the enemy’. Or as Mike Tyson so charmingly put it, ‘everyone has a plan for me… until I punch them in the mouth.’
Iterating your value proposition won’t be so physically brutal. But you may need to develop a thick skin and be happy to get both good and bad feedback. In fact you should be actively looking for the bad, and be happy for things to fail.
It’s in the objections to cold sales calls, the social posts that get no reaction, and the calls to action that get no clicks, that you’ll find out what needs to change.
Data is your friend here. Review the stats, make changes, and if you can – A/B test different variants.
Keep testing. Keep listening. And take rejection for what it is. Nothing personal, but a hint that you’re not yet the perfect match.