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Articulate the Value You Offer

by | May 23, 2018 | Monetising Service

Too often we see that (new) services, solutions or features are promoted without connecting the dots to their bigger problems.
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Common mistakes in the industry

Too often we see that (new) services, solutions or features are promoted without connecting the dots to their bigger problems.

For example, a client of mine – a major equipment manufacturer – experienced the power of explicitly connecting the dots. They were launching the first version of a portal to serve DIY clients which had their own maintenance departments. They initially presented the benefit of the portal with many online manuals (version 1 of the portal) as a way to save time every time a maintenance engineer of their client would need to find the right manual. It appeared to be tough to sell paid subscriptions for this portal.
Only when the manufacturer articulated their view of the key problems of their clients’ maintenance departments and how the portal would solve these problems, did the clients get really interested. The dominant problems of the maintenance departments were not finding manuals, but the daily pressure to increase availability and uptime at shrinking budgets and that that their engineers had slow learning curves due to low volume of certain problem-solving work. A portal which would evolve into a broad toolset for best practices, trouble-shooting and maintenance management was considered a crucial asset.

Furthermore, we often see manufacturers thinking and talking about features and activities, instead of customer value. Clients only pay for the value they perceive, not for what you do.
A striking example were field service engineers of another client, who would spend a full day in pairs to install equipment which was already delivered a couple of days before. A few days after installation, another colleague would visit the client for training and commissioning. The two engineers would unpack all components and assemble the components, connect it to a couple of other devices from different brands which involved many integration issues, connect their equipment to the computer network – which involved loads of security and networking issues which the engineers had to solve with IT departments – which by nature tend to be reluctant.
And here is how they briefed their client when they started the job: “We are here to unbox the components, put the bits and pieces together and make sure everything is there, so the trainer is ready to go……” . Their client did not even know what kind of complex integration problems the engineers were solving. Actually, their client even wondered why his supplier did not have more mature and efficient processes to get the job done. And by no means are the engineers to blame for this.

Some practical solutions

You can easily start improving on these common mistakes:

  • Build a compelling story of your view of your customers challenges, opportunities and problems, which is validated by (a segment of) your customers. Relate this as much as possible to strategic or crucial priorities of your clients.
    Include a view on how your clients could best pursue these opportunities and solve these problems. Don’t make this a big thing, just start with a first strawman version and let it grow in time.
  • Link the characteristics and benefits of your solutions and services to the view of your customers.
  • If possible, quantify the benefits in terms of the strategic or critical priorities.
  • Ensure that your value story is well articulated in your messaging to (the specific segments of) your clients and is consistent across all touch points. This may involve some staff training.

The Benefit

Manufacturers which are better in solving bigger customer problems, better articulating the value for customers and staff and have higher momentum for change and monetisation see that they generate more new revenue streams and differentiate more – in the eyes of their customers – from their competitors. They perform better and have more resources to keep innovating their business and hence grow in our disruptive world.

Essence

Great offerings and solutions won’t sell themselves.

It’s the various colleagues together that drive the value perception and sell the solutions, because they are eager and passionate to perform, learn, develop and make new things happen. Without encountering unnecessary obstacles which reduce confidence and maintain internal conflicts of interest.

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