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The Art of the B2B Value Proposition

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How to make impact statements that drive your messaging home.

We see value propositions every day. Some are memorable, but most are fleeting. As a central component of your brand’s image and reach, the effort and thought put into creating these pieces of messaging should be a marketing priority.

In the B2B tech world, nearly every company is a trusted, qualified, certified, and experienced partner. It is a market filled with seemingly similar companies, so being able to differentiate your brand is key to beating competitors.

Most businesses know the value they represent and offer in their solutions and services. Buyers, however, won’t use up too much of their own time to figure out what that value is if it isn’t explicitly represented within the first few seconds of their interaction with your brand. Your mission, as a sales/marketing leader, is to find a way to express your business’s value in an engaging enough way that they single you out from your competitors.

Let’s try to get there.

So, what is a value proposition?

Our friends at Hubspot have mastered the definition of a value proposition, so we’ll quote them on this:

“A value proposition is a short statement that communicates why buyers should choose your products or services. It’s more than just a product or service description — it’s the specific solution that your business provides and the promise of value that a customer can expect you to deliver.”

Moreover, in terms of an actual marketing campaign, your value proposition is a primary conversion factor.

Creating Value Propositions

1. Defining target audiences

Knowing who you are trying to sell to is almost as important as the value prop itself. Are you trying to reach just any business owner or do you have someone specific in mind? The more specific the target of a marketing campaign, the easier it is to get nurtured leads; trying to cast a wider net can be more difficult, especially if you are working on a limited budget.

In terms of online B2B marketing, the more specific the audience, the more they’re likely to become “low-hanging fruit” that you can convert leads from without too much effort. For example, your general target audience for a specific solution could be any type of manufacturing company. However, for a marketing campaign that you have an assigned budget for, you could focus on a more specific part of that audience. Is there something unique that you can offer, say, industrial manufacturers? Is there something unique you can offer an even more specific audience, say, industrial manufacturers of airplane parts? Once you have this, try to define the role they play within their industry, and then make a list of challenges that all or most members of this audience share in common.

Defining your target audience is the first thing on this list, but it may not be the first item you complete during this exercise, so you can come back and redefine a more specific audience later.

2. Defining the value of your offering

Part of accurately defining the audience with whom your campaign can succeed consists of analyzing your own offerings and how they really offer value to your potential buyers.

Often, people confuse a value proposition with their company’s mission statement, tagline, or slogan. While these are all an important part of corporate messaging, they are quite distinct. Your value proposition specifically tries to differentiate your offering from similar ones by communicating the highest value you can offer to a common denominator challenge in the audience.

So what does your offering really do for them? What do you know that you do differently from your competitors that your potential buyer can truly benefit from?

In an ideal world, you have a specific quantitative figure that you can pitch that makes an impactful visual statement at first read. For example, “An easy-to-adopt solution for industrial manufacturing companies that can reduce your production costs by 50%” is a pretty bold statement that should get a few people interested, if high costs and complexity are major issues facing the industry. However, if that’s a promise any other competitor can make as well, then you’ll have to try and appeal to something they can’t promise.

So, let’s have a reality check for a moment. Sometimes, there really isn’t anything too unique that your company is offering amongst its competitors. You might be limited by offering a standardized solution with a standardized implementation process that you can’t really change. If this is the case, then you’ll have to sell yourself and demonstrate the intangible value you bring to the equation. This can be supported by success stories, customer testimonials, awards, achievements, etc.

3. Defining Differentiators

Pointing out what makes your company different from its competitors can be a bit more complicated than it sounds. Adidas and Nike both sell comfortable, fashionable sneakers, but the value they offer their target audiences come in the form of more intangible differentiators like the status they give the wearer or what using a certain brand communicates about a person’s identity.

Some differentiators are very obvious, easy to point out and use as a selling point. If you can sell the same thing at a lower price, you can say it clearly: “ours is the lowest price”. Lower prices often come at the cost of something, like service or quality, which is probably something your competitors would use in their value proposition (e.g., “If you care about quality and service: work with us”).

At CXGS, we work with a lot of B2B technology companies where differentiators may not often be as obvious as a lower price or higher-quality sneaker. This is why accurately defining your target audience and their unique challenges and expectations are necessary to create value propositions that land. Consistent market research into buyer behavior and trends that help you pinpoint your target audience’s true needs is a must in our modern business environment. This will always help clarify if the differentiators you’re pitching really mean something to your potential buyers.

4. Drafting your value proposition

To help you start drafting your value proposition, we’ve created this easy reference chart (go ahead, feel free to copy/paste it into your document). Finding these answers will help you have a better idea of how to draft and pitch a value proposition while keeping your audience and your competitors in mind.

Who is the target audience?Define your target audience. The more specific you can get the better. (e.g., Manufacturing companies -> more specifically airplane component manufacturers)
What do they do?Define their role/job/function in their market (e.g., they manufacture and sell industrial components for *specific industry*)
Target audience’s challengesCreate a list of common challenges your target audience shares (customer pain points).
Target audience expectationsCreate a list of what your potential customers expect to gain from working with a company like yours.
What does your company do?Define your business and the role it plays in its market.
How does your solution address the target audience’s challenges?Create a list of challenges your solution addresses (customer gain points)
What is the value your solution brings to the target audience?Define how the way you address customer challenges actually creates value for them (e.g., we help customers keep their data secure with less hassle, at a low cost).
What do you/your solution offer that your competitors don’t?Find your true differentiators from your competitors (e.g., your solution is more affordable, your implementation process is faster, you have 24/7 support, you have the only certified solution, etc.)
Why should customers choose your company?This is where you start defining your value prop. You can follow this template to start: Our (solution) helps (target audience) who want/need to (target audiences challenge) by (describe how you address customer pain point) and (describe value point you provide), unlike (competitor value prop).

Here’s an example for that last part:

Our packaged HR solution helps school districts who need to improve their staff’s HR user experience by implementing an easy-to-use system that can be up and running in less than a month, unlike Junior Digital who offers a more complicated system with no guarantee of rapid deployment.

This is not your value prop, but it does cover everything you need to build a final value prop. For the first step, we’ll drop the mention of the competitor, and turn it into something more subtle, like: “Don’t waste time with traditional systems that take forever“.

Now lets take the initial part of that initial proposition and word it out with a bit more pzazz:

Transform your staff’s HR experience with a user-friendly system that can be ready to use in 30 days or less.”

Now, that by itself can work as a value prop, and you can use the line addressing the competition as a sub-text or secondary statement when presenting your value prop on a website or some other marketing asset. You can also work it into the value proposition itself as an alternate way of presenting it:

Don’t waste time on traditional systems! We can transform your staff’s HR experience with a user-friendly system that can be ready-to-use in 30 days or less.”

It’s a bit wordy, but it still works. The general rule is to be concise whenever possible, but you also want to provide as much necessary information as possible, and reminding the target audience of their pain points might be a good way to get their attention.

We hope this guide comes in handy when crafting your own value propositions. If you need help with this or any other marketing challenge, feel free to schedule a free discovery call with us!

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