Solution Features or Business Benefits? The Necessity of Value-Based Messaging
Businesses of all sizes continually fall victim to the “features trap”, which is a primary focus in sales and marketing materials on solution features and functionality, rather than business benefits and value. A very common mistake, this approach turns off the sales prospect who comes to you for offerings that solve their challenges, not bells and whistles. Features and functionality may mean a lot to you but not to them. They want to know how you are going to help them, not how many shiny buttons your widget has.
I can’t tell you how many companies (across all industries, all sizes) I have come across that do this.
Recognizing this right away at a drug development services company I worked for (as Senior Manager of Strategic Customer Messaging), I proposed a shift away from service features and functionality, and toward customer needs and business value. This “needs/value-based” approach fundamentally changed this $1.2B organization’s whole go-to-market strategy. This seminal shift in sales/marketing strategy promoted a more consultative promotional culture that resonated better with clients.
This business-value focused philosophy puts the primary focus on your target customer/user rather than on you and your products and services. This makes perfect sense, right? I mean, why would you want to talk all about yourself in a sales presentation, website content or sales sheet when you have the opportunity to pose solutions and value to your customers’ business and personal challenges instead?
Here is an example:
Let’s say we work for a payroll services company. This is an example of what NOT to do:
XYZ Payroll offers full payroll services including invoice creation, check printing, check mailing, payroll tax calculation, direct deposit, and more.
INSTEAD, this is how you can talk about these services in business value terms:
XYZ Payroll helps small and medium sized businesses automate and streamline the entire payroll process in order to accelerate payments, reduce administrative workload, increase data accuracy and elevate the company’s business profile with a more professional look.
This is just a small example of value-based messaging, but I’m sure you get the idea.
To learn more about value-based messaging and for access to “Steps and Formulas for Developing Value-Based Key Messages”, please learn about our Brand Positioning Jumpstart Toolkit.