01.15.2021

The Guide to Writing Value Propositions For B2B Tech Companies

Think back to the last big investment you made. Be honest with yourself. Was there a moment right before you pulled the trigger when you wondered, “Is this really a good idea?”

Now, think back to a time when you didn’t have that moment of doubt nagging in the back of your mind. With childlike faith, you knew, without hesitation, that this was exactly what you wanted.

What was different between these two pivotal moments in your buying journey?

You guessed it … the value proposition.

But if you’re selling to other businesses how do you write a value proposition that will influence ALL the stakeholders? Sometimes it sounds downright impossible to come up with a strong value proposition for B2B prospects when you have a team of decision-makers with a variety-pack of goals to choose from.

At Martal Group, we have spent 10 years helping tech companies like yours increase conversion rates by transforming their value proposition from an interesting concept to an irresistible offer. We built this guide to take you through the steps of creating, or repositioning, a value proposition that will outshine your competitors. We will go over what a value proposition is, what a value proposition is not, and the steps you can take to write a value proposition that will attract all the decision-makers in your pipeline.

What is a value proposition?

You probably know what a value proposition is and are tempted to skip this section. For the sake of clarity though let’s define it quickly so we can get to the more exciting part.

A value proposition is a statement that directly relates the benefits of your offer to the customer in a way that clearly establishes the value while setting your company apart from competitors.

Ah, but the benefits for a sales manager might be different than the benefits of a c-suite executive. This is a pickle, and generally where most people get stuck and move on to “more pressing matters” like reporting or lunch. But that’s not you today, right!?! Great! Let’s keep going.

What is not a value proposition?

While you can package your value proposition in many different ways, there are a few things that get confused or substituted for a strong value proposition like trying to replace a hamburger with tofu. It doesn’t work.

Common imposters of value propositions are taglines, slogans, vision statements, mission statements, and special features. Sure you might talk about the benefits of your solutions while forming these different brand messaging, but they are not a good stand-in for the good, old-fashioned value proposition.

Other offers masquerading as value propositions are generous free trials, limited-time discounts, workshops, etc. These are great lead generators to draw the eye of prospective customers and show off your tasty, new features, but it won’t stop them from canceling once the excitement is over.

Ignoring the distinction between your value proposition and everything else can have a negative impact on your conversion rates as well as retention. But focusing on the value proposition when nurturing B2B prospects will give you an undeniable competitive advantage.

How to write a strong value proposition

Now that we’ve tackled the difference between what is and is not a value proposition, we can lay the groundwork that will lead to a clarified value proposition to entice even the most skeptical of decision-makers.

  1. Identify the Buyer Personas for ALL Stakeholders
  2. Discover the Jobs Your Products and Services Preform
  3. Connect the Customers Desires to the Benefits Of Your Offer
  4. Use the Customer’s Language to Describe the Value
  5. Putting It All Together
  1. Identify the Buyer Personas for ALL Stakeholders

Yikes! I know it sounds overwhelming if you don’t have buyer personas sketched out already, but they are the foundation of developing a good value proposition. Technically buyer personas are the foundation for great sales, marketing, and customer service but that’s a topic for another time.

You need to dig deep into the personas till you can describe each one like they are you would a close friend. Go beyond the traditional job titles, income, revenue goals, etc., and get in touch with what keeps them up at night. Those problems that follow them around, relentlessly haunting them like an endless pile of unfinished business. Then, and only then, can you relate on their level and get an understanding of how each decision-maker influences the other.

2. Discover the Jobs Your Products and Services Preform

Have you heard of the “Jobs To Be Done” (JTBD) methodology? It was developed by Harvard Business School professor, Clayton M. Christensen, and to put it simply it’s a different way of looking at how your products or services help your customers.

In the JTBD theory, the customer is “hiring” your product or service to perform a “job.” Many different solutions could be hired to perform the job, but the product or service that performs the job the best will be rewarded with continued employment while all others get fired. So think about what “job” customers hire your products or services to perform and what is the outcome.

Simple enough. But how do you apply it to your value proposition?

Think of your value proposition as a very powerful cover letter on your resume. It grabs the attention of the reader in such a way that they can help but think, “Finally, this is the person we’ve been looking for!

3. Connect the Customers Desires to the Benefits Of Your Offer

Finding what connects your prospects’ problems with your solutions will be like organizing the junk drawer in your kitchen. You know the one I’m talking about. There are things in that junk drawer that you love and think might be useful one day, but deep down you know you have to toss it out to make room for the more important, everyday items.

Likewise, you will have ideas and phrases about the benefits of your solution that you love and think are relevant, but really they aren’t connecting to your prospects’ problems and must be tossed to make room for what’s truly important.

So examine each benefit objectively and try to connect it to as many stakeholders’ problems as you can, without stretch the fabric of reality. The more stakeholders that the benefit relates to, the more likely it will be a good fit for your value proposition.

But what if you can’t make a benefit relatable to each stakeholder simultaneously?

Valid point. We’ll get to that in the final section.

4. Use the Customer’s Language to Describe the Value

This step probably seems like a no-brainer, but before you dismiss it, take a moment to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Would you describe your customers’ problems the same way they do? If you can’t answer that with certainty, then it’s time to consider some market research, or at the very least, a quick pow-wow with some of your top clients.

Pay close attention to the special nuances in terminology. Say you are offering a service to integrated systems across departments. Did your customers complain about “data

flow” or did they more commonly use the term “data silos” or something else entirely? How do they describe the solution your products or services provided?

Making a distinction between the language your company uses and how your customers describe their problem will make all the difference in how your value proposition is perceived. Consider this… if you can relate to prospective customers on a deeper level than your competitors, who do you think they are going to run to in their time of need?

5. Putting It All Together

So here we are, the most intimidating part of the process, writing the value proposition. But now, unlike all the other times, you are prepared.

You’re probably wondering how long or short should a value proposition be? Should it be a headline? A paragraph? Some bullet points? A short essay?

Every good value proposition is short, simple, and sweet but as we said before, it can be packaged in many different ways. The most effective ones we have seen usually look something like this:

  • Headline
  1. Use about 5 to 7 words; give or take a word or two.
  2. Describe the value that relates to the majority of stakeholders.
  3. Relay the benefits with the language your customers use.
  • Sub-headline
  1. Define the value with more context.
  2. Try something like, “{Product/service does} so you can {desired outcome} without having to deal with {current problem}.”
  3. If your headline doesn’t relate to all the stakeholders, then cover the other benefits relatable to the left out stakeholders in this part.
  • Bullet points (optional)
  1. Use a bulleted list or a 3 column layout if you find your sub-headline is more like a paragraph.
  2. Make them similar to your headline by cutting out the excess and using customer language.
  3. Use bullet points sparingly. Don’t make it into an outline, but keep it at around 3-5 exciting benefits.

Takeaways

Sometimes, it’s the simplest of sentences that make the biggest difference when it comes to value propositions. Take DoorDash for example, “Your favorite restaurants, delivered.” Those are four, little words have changed the way people view dining-out or dining-in for that matter. It’s also the statement that helped DoorDash generate $1.9 billion in revenue. Not too shabby.

At Martal Group, we have found that many tech companies face unique challenges when selling B2B solutions. We understand that those challenges cut into valuable time that could be better spent developing and enhancing your products and services. If you are struggling to write a strong value proposition and present it to the right prospects at the right time we can help. Check out Martal Group to see how you can start closing deals now.

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CEO and Founder at Martal Group