Value propositions need to be constantly refreshed as customer, competitor, and market dynamics change, which is all the time. Successful, energetic companies embrace this renewal and use it to sustain ongoing profitable growth. Let’s examine more closely why and how to adopt this approach.
When you don’t clearly communicate “what’s in it for them” to buyers, it leads to price discounting, longer sales cycles, and lower sales close ratios. Fundamentally, superb value propositions provide a value map at the market segment, company, and individual role levels.
Market Segment Value
A value map at the market segment level is basic to any value proposition exercise. It is critical to engage buyers in how a solution helps similar companies with similar needs. Imagine you are a seller of a wireless communications technology that improves reliability and speed. You can’t successfully close deals on the sole premise that the network is “better and faster.” For example, you need to show mine operators that the technology helps them keep track of equipment in the mine and retailers that it improves shopper experiences. Without this rudimentary understanding of differentiating the value proposition by market segment, sellers will find it difficult to connect in meaningful ways.
It’s also important to constantly monitor the market level value map to avoid blind spots that influence customer buying decisions. External market forces can dramatically alter, in either direction, the value delivered to customers. For example, a customer’s buying behavior may change due to a sharp fluctuation in a commodity price or market disruption fostered by technology innovation. A value proposition stuck on “customer business as usual” can lead to underperformance or lost growth opportunities.
The value map at the company level recognizes every business’s uniqueness. Sellers foster stronger relationships by helping buyers identify and quantify the size of their problems. Sellers that articulate in specific terms the financial business case for their solution can accelerate the buyer’s journey.
This deep discovery and problem identification process can also reveal new value dimensions. Using the network communications technology example from above, let’s consider how the value proposition might change between Target and Nordstrom. Target might buy your technology to improve the shopper experience with smart labels and personalized suggestions. Nordstrom might do the same but also look to your communications network to unlock digital dressing rooms and robot assistants. In this case, the value delivered to Nordstrom through increased sales and margin dollars can be much higher and should be included in your business case.
Individual Role Value
Role-based value is an influential motivator for closing deals. People buy from people, so it is important to establish trust and confidence with decision makers.
Individuals often have different value perspectives depending upon their role in the company. It can come across as tone deaf if sellers engage different stakeholders with the same value proposition discussion. Going back to our wireless technology and retailer scenario, a regional manager’s focus is likely to center on sales growth whereas a merchandiser is going to focus on product displays and the floor layout. Sellers should always adapt the value presentation to each stakeholder’s unique responsibilities and challenges.
Value propositions are tailored by market segment, customer, and individual. Once a value proposition is developed that recognizes these key differences, do not let it get stale. Value propositions need to be evaluated and refreshed regularly to keep pace as customers, competitors, and markets constantly evolve.
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