Thoughts on Value-based Selling

I have worked in or for software companies since the late 90s and found, that messaging is often very self-centered (“we are the best”, “see our new 100 features”, “see why our new partnership with xyz is so cool”). While this is typical thinking of leaders of software companies, this misses the viewpoint of customers. You don’t given an answer to the “WHY” is this valuable for them?

I have offered a service for software companies analysing their USP and messaging. Here are 3 key findings:

  • Very often, the USP is mixed up. You should focus on either company USPs (why is it beneficial for customers to work with you and no-one else?) and product USPs (why is it important for your customer to use your product and no other solution)? For me, it worked out many times to have this view on USP clearly separated between company and product.
  • On the messaging, which should build on the USPs, I have observed the self-centered wording mentioned above. Instead of having a constant exchange with customers about what’s perceived as value, companies often make something up. They think of USPs but customers don’t see that. And if you don’t understand what value means for your customers, you can never make them really happy. Examples: customers don’t want to have another 100 features (they never use) but something like a dashboard for keeping management in the loop. Keep you customers close and understand their perception of value.
  • I have seen many messaging frameworks. While it is good to have a messaging framework for consistency in communication, most of them are overcomplicated and therefore inapplicable. If they are inapplicable, they are useless. As you can see in many of my articles, I usually use 3-5 statements for making a point (no-one can remember more). Do the same in your messaging framework. 3 key statements for corporate USPs and 3 key statements for the product. Apply the Golden Circle to this. Simplify your messaging.

I have written more about starting with the WHY here (Vision and Mission) and there (the typical trap for technical leaders).