Strategic Selling: How effective is your Value Message?
Value proposition is a phrase that became ubiquitous during the 90’s dot.com (dot bomb?) era. You may still encounter this, or the “value messaging” term on a regular basis in the business world. Buzz word or not, value messaging will help quickly convey the value of your product or service without overwhelming or boring potential customers away in a landslide of features and benefits dumping.
Based on the research performed by Sirius Decisions, communication plays the biggest role in sales failures. The number one inhibitor to achieving your sales quota is the inability to communicate value messages, followed closely by an information gap, and then by having too many products to know.Top Inhibitors to Achieving Sales Quotas Insufficient leads: 13.3% Poor sales skills: 16% Too many products to know: 21.4% Information gap: 24.3% Inability to communicate value message: 26%
If you can’t articulate what your product is in a simple manner that is easy to digest, how do you expect customers to understand why they should choose you over the competition? To get you on the right track, here are three strategy development tips to work against these statistics and help you develop and convey a powerful value message:
- Learn about your customers – Develop an ideal customer persona. First, from a demographic or “firmographic” perspective, do your research. Learn about their market, what they sell, how much they sell, the organization size and the roles involved in the decision making process. Next, conduct informational interviews within your network. Talk to anyone in the industry who has been exposed to your ideal customer. Even third hand knowledge can be valuable in preparing for the next step – which is to talk to your customers and/or prospects. Find out about their goals, how they measure and track their success, and ask about their pain points. Once you have a solid definition of your ideal customer persona, you’re equipped with the knowledge to successfully position yourself to appeal to your target audience.
- Demonstrate value – Take what you’ve learned about your customer; their pain points, needs and goals to start crafting a message that demonstrates the value of your product from their perspective. How will your product eliminate pain points and help them achieve daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly goals? Messaging that shows that you, the seller, understands the customer’s view point will make your message much more powerful than an organization that suffers from “Me Syndrome” and constantly talks about themselves and product capabilities. Here are two examples of how you can paint a picture for the customer:
- “Imagine a day without the stress of x, y, and z. With the time you save you’ll be able to accomplish twice as much of what you need to do.”
- “Whether it’s daily, weekly or yearly we understand that goals are always top of mind. Let (product X) help reduce the time it takes to meet those goals by taking advantage of x and y capabilities.”
- Position and differentiate –What makes you different from your competitors? Is it your exceptional customer service, large number of capabilities, or the price of your product? Whatever it is, be sure to reiterate the difference across all sales and marketing channels, and especially when you’re physically speaking with a prospect or customer. Proper positioning involves being able to identify who you, as an organization are, and consistently demonstrate that to prospects and customers. A mistake some companies make is forgetting to consistently use the same positioning statements and language in sales and marketing when speaking about how they help your customers create value. Make sure what you’re saying on your website is demonstrated similarly on your social channels, in your marketing materials and through the words that sales reps use with customers. It sounds obvious, but unfortunately many organizations fail to do this.
Successful sales strategies are all about the creativity and adaptability that your sales management can create in conjunction with Marketing. Understanding your customer, demonstrating value and positioning yourself are all simple strategies to help streamline the sales process. Don’t fall into the 26% that are unable to communicate value messages about their product consistently and effectively.