Sunday, November 08, 2009

How Specific do Value Propositions Need to be?

It depends on who is delivering it when in the customer buying cycle.

Early in the buying cycle, marketing and sales can use generic statements. Later in the buying cycle, salespeople must be able to articulate very specific statements, tailored to the individual customer, demonstrating specific value to the customer as well as superiority and differentiation against the competition.

This is how I would summarize the message of my Masterclass “The Dynamic Value Proposition” I gave over at the Top Sales Experts last month. It was also the consensus from a discussion I triggered with the blog post “Can Value Propositions be Generic”.

My friend Dave Brock was the most vocal supporter of the idea by publishing an own blog post. He has actually written a second post since; further elaborating on the dynamic character of a value proposition.

Although having a dynamic value proposition following the customer's buying cycle and the evolution of ones competitive position is necessary, it is not sufficient if salespeople want to follow the recommendation of an IDC Customer Experience Panel in January 2009. They identified that “Putting aside the generic pitch” as the #1 item to be improved by sales people to bring more value to the relationship with the customer.

Even an objectively and technically well crafted message, delivered by the salesperson, has a high chance not to pass with the individual at the customer's organization as we all interpret messages in our own context.

In my next Masterclass “The Adaptive Value Proposition” on November 10, 2009 I will suggest to pay attention to three aspects of the receiver's context (customer persona) to facilitate reception of the value proposition:

  • Functional Position

  • Attitude to Change

  • Sensory Predicates

I discussed why they can be inhibitors for your message to pass and give you suggestions how to overcome them.

If you scroll down on this page, you will find the slide deck used for this presentation.

If you want to know more about what Dave Brock had to say on the value propositions you can follow these links: Post 1, Post 2.

This link will lead you to my post “Can Value Propositions be Generic”where I discuss the dynamic aspect in the context of the customer's buying cycle.

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