Developing the Value Proposition that Differentiates and Commands Competitive Advantage

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This blog post aligns with the themes of our Growth Evaluation; an intuitive tool which allows you to quickly uncover the areas of strength and weakness in your sales & marketing organizations. Click Here to learn more or take the Growth Evaluation. 


Contributed by: David Fang, Senior Associate Consultant

We’ve seen it over and over again – companies who are so sure that their product or service is the best in the market; that they’re utterly unique, that no one has ever seen anything like them. Yet upon scrutiny, these companies realize their perceived competitive advantage is simply that – a perception.

Building the Value Proposition

So how do companies:

  1. Build a true value proposition?
  2. Communicate the value proposition that allows them to differentiate themselves, and gain a competitive advantage in the market?

GrowthPoint uses a simple, data-based, and collaborative approach to building value propositions with our clients. This approach asks two basic questions:

  1. What is a pain point experienced by your industry or potential customer?
  2. How does your company’s product or service address that pain point?

Through a series of probing questions, we help our clients distill what it is that they do that truly gives them a competitive advantage. In a nutshell, this is our framework to building a value proposition – understanding and synthesizing how your company addresses your customers’ pain points and provides both quantifiable and unique value.

The Value Proposition in Practice

We worked with a client in the professional services industry who was experiencing a steady decline in revenue, largely due to a lack of lead generation and new client acquisition activity. It was a vicious cycle – no sales activity caused the sales funnel to dry up, and acquiring new clients became a passive occurrence, rather than an active function. Naturally, this had a significant impact on revenue. Like all businesses, there was natural customer churn, but without new client acquisition activity, this caused a steady net decline in top line revenue. This negative impact on their cash position left them unable to hire a full-time sales resource, perpetuating the cycle of slow decline. Yikes. So how did we begin tackling this problem?

We first ran them through our value proposition exercise. Our client was well-versed in the industry, having been in business for nearly 40 years. So what was happening? The lack of sales activity was a major contributor to their declining revenue, but we quickly learned that even if we hired a full-time sales rep, the underlying issues still weren’t being addressed. What the client lacked clarity on was their exact competitive advantage in the marketplace. What pain points and challenges were they solving for their customers? How was this client different from their competitors, especially in a market which is more saturated, with screening and reporting becoming more automated, and with troves of data easily accessible online?

As we began this exercise, these were the themes that we honed in on. Through working sessions with the company’s ownership group, stakeholders, customers, and through additional research, we concluded that: 

  1. Buyer personas in the industry had changed
  2. The education level of the industry had grown immensely
  3. Previously price-conscious customers had begun to value quality and a premium levels of service

These insights, gleaned through a thorough and methodical value proposition exercise, accomplished two things: it confirmed that our client’s premium product and service were valued by the market, and that it was a competitive advantage not being offered by its competitors. This value proposition informed the development of sales and marketing collateral, as well as our go-to-market strategy. Part of this go-to-market strategy leveraged the industry’s high acceptance of social channels to network, which quickly began to restart dormant sales activity.

Key Learnings

So what were our learnings from this case, and indeed, from all our experiences running value proposition exercises? We can distill down to 3 key learnings:

  1. A well crafted value proposition identifies not only what specific pain points and challenges you are solving for your customers, but also why you are different from anyone else in the market (and therefore why your customers should spend their money with you)
  2. The value proposition forms the basis for all the sales and marketing collateral you develop
  3. Companies should periodically revisit their value proposition to ensure that it continues to reflect changing markets, buyers, and trends

David Fang, Senior Associate ConsultantDavid Fang

David’s experience as a management consultant has taken him across Europe, North America, and Asia, working on projects for some of the most well-recognized companies in the world. He’s built commercial strategy and go-to-market plans for companies such as Coca-Cola and SC Johnson, helping drive profitable growth and expansion into new markets. David holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Waterloo, and an MBA from IESE Business School.

Upon joining GrowthPoint, David has led the consulting team in delivering data-driven insights to clients. As Senior Associate, he is responsible for shaping the analysis used to create strategic plans and managing a team of analysts and associates in implementation projects. He works hand in hand with clients on executing those plans, with expertise in data analytics, commercial strategy, and operational finance.

This blog post aligns with the themes of our Growth Evaluation; an intuitive tool which allows you to quickly uncover the areas of strength and weakness in your sales & marketing organizations. Click Here to learn more or take the Growth Evaluation. 

 

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