Value Proposition: Mid-Year Review

At In the Funnel – Toronto Sales Consulting, our mission is to help Canadian small businesses sell better.

The intent of our blog is to provide advice on selling that you can apply to your business TODAY.

As we approach the mid-point of the year, you need to objectively review sales execution for the first half of the year. In the event that there is room for improvement, we suggest, revisiting your sales strategy along the following parameters:

  1. Value Proposition
  2. Target Market
  3. Awareness Campaigns
  4. Demand Generation
  5. Sales Methodology
  6. Approach to managing the sales team

Our next series of blogs will cover each one of these topics in detail.

Value Proposition

The entire, expansive, complex art of selling can be boiled down into 1 simple concept: selling is about solving a business problem for your Customer.

You need to understand and clearly articulate what business problem you are solving with your solution/technology. Nobody buys technology because of the fancy bells and whistles. People buy technology to solve a business problem and to achieve a specific business outcome.

So, in properly (re) defining your value proposition you need to document:

(a)   What business problem are you solving for your Customer and why should it be a priority for them?

(b)   How will you solve it with your solution?

(c)    Why is your solution the BEST of the many alternatives out there to solve this particular solution?

The last item on our list refers to understanding your competitive advantage vs. the market for what you do.  How do you articulate what really differentiates you from the competition?

Our experience working with small technology/services firms is that competitive advantage is one of the least understood concepts in their selling toolkits.

It appears as though we are not in the only ones who feel this way. In her book Competitive Advantage (Doubleday 2006), Jaynie L. Smith conducted research that proved over 90% of businesses “had no clue how to articulate their competitive advantage”. Smith goes on to argue that a “differentiator that is not valued by the Customer is not a competitive advantage”.

Your competitive advantage must be:

Fact based:

  • Your opinion that you have the best solution is the industry may not be persuasive.

Meaningful or relevant to your target market:

  • The only way to know what is meaningful to your Customer base if to have them tell you

Unique to your solution:

  • All companies say that they have great price/quality/service. By definition these things cannot be competitive differentiators if every company say they have them

Prior to the end of June, spend an hour work-shopping your company’s value proposition with those on the front lines who can help (sales and marketing teams, delivery organization, etc.). In addition, you can always look to your existing Customer base to understand why (exactly) they chose your solution, and what desired business outcome it has provided to them.

Our next blog will focus on the target market.