Your sales value proposition is one of the most important tools in your arsenal when it comes to selling your product or service to potential customers. It’s important, then, to create one that’s truly compelling. Let’s take a look at what makes a great value proposition.
What is a value proposition?
First things first: What is a sales value proposition? It’s a mission statement of sorts and an overview of your unique value proposition as a business. It helps you to understand what sets you apart as a company and outlines why customers should do business with you rather than with a competitor.
It’s a clear and simple statement that helps you communicate to your target audience why they should choose you, and it should demonstrate the benefits of the services offered. Put yourself in the shoes of your target customers. What challenges do they face, and how can you solve them?
Put simply, a value proposition:
- Outlines how your product or service can improve / solve problems for prospective customers
- What specific benefits your company offers
- Why people should buy from you over competitors
- A slogan or catchy post for social media
It’s usually an internal document, although you can also use the details in your value proposition to develop customer-facing documents that communicate your values and benefits.
Key components of a value proposition
When you’re writing a value proposition, there are three main elements to consider: the headline, subheader or paragraph, and a visual element.
The headline outlines the benefits that customers experience when they engage with your services or purchase a product. You’re not trying to write a catchy slogan - although you can incorporate this as part of your headline - the focus should be on crafting a clear and compelling message that directly communicates the benefits your company can offer.
This section should go into a little more detail, explaining what products or services your company offers, who your ideal customer is, and why they should work with your business. It’s usually around two to three sentences long, which should give you just enough space to highlight the key features and benefits of your product and how you can solve the customers’ pain points.
Including a visual element allows potential customers to see what your offering is at a glance, and it might help you get your point better than simply using words.
Writing a value proposition
Ready to start crafting your sales value proposition? Here’s our step by step guide.
Understand your customers’issues
The first step is to understand what issues your customers and prospective customers have. You should talk to both your sales and customer service teams to get an insight into the common issues encountered. If you have a CRM system, they should have a wealth of data that offers valuable insights into common complaints from both existing and prospective customers.
Identify the features of your products
Once you understand what the main pain points are for your customers, you can map out how your company can solve them. Write out a list of your products or services and what features they offer.
Identify your product benefits
Features and benefits are often lumped together, but they’re actually two distinct things. Each feature of your product should come with a benefit. Here you might also want to consider specific results.
Has your product led to an increase in revenue for your customers? Have they saved a significant number of hours every week thanks to your service? These results can make a compelling case for why you offer a competitive advantage over other companies.
By mapping your product benefits against your features, you’ll start to build up a picture of which features offer the biggest benefits, and it’s these you should focus on in your value proposition.
Understand what value your benefits offer
Does your product solve your customers’ issues? This might require a little more research and a deep dive into your customer’s needs. If you offer accounting software for sole traders, a customer might buy your service because they need accounting software - but if you dig a little deeper, you’ll realise that what they actually need is more time.
Your software can save them valuable time that allows them to focus on their projects and client work, removing unnecessary stress of worrying about their finances. When you tap into that real need, it can be compelling to prospective customers.
How are you different from competitors?
Finally, outline what your company can offer that your competitors don’t. Is there a specific service you offer that’s unique to your business? Are there any services you include as standard that other businesses charge for? These details can set your value proposition apart from the competition.
Put it all together
Once you’ve mapped out each of these elements, you can put it all together into an effective sales value proposition.
Value proposition examples
Value propositions are typically internal documents that help your team to get inside the customer’s head, helping them to sell your product. Whilst it’s a highly useful document for companies, it typically means that these documents aren’t publically available. However, there are some templates that you can use to craft your own proposition.
Steve Blank, the author of Lean Startup, suggests this simple structure for your value proposition: “We help X do Y by doing Z”. For your business, this could translate to “We help [target customers] do [customer needs] by [product features and benefits]”. This is a straightforward approach that clearly outlines what your business can offer - although it does put the business, rather than the customer, front and centre.
Geoff Moore, the author of Crossing the Chasm, suggests a slightly different approach: “For [target customer] who [needs or wants X], our [product/service] is [category of industry] that [benefits]”. This outline is slightly longer and more complex, allowing you to focus on the benefits for the customer.
Brant Cooper and Patrick Vlaskovits wrote The The Entrepreneur's Guide to Customer Development in which they spell out a customer-problem-solution approach to writing value propositions. To write a value proposition in this format, you should consider the following three points:
- Who is your target customer?
- What problem is the customer-facing?
- How will you solve that problem?
Whatever approach you take, a value proposition will help you to understand who your target customer is and how your business can solve their problems. Using the tips outlined in this article, you can create a compelling value proposition that will help your sales team position your business in the best possible light.
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