Don’t Try Selling Sand to the Bedouins

A whopping 72% of new products and service innovations fail to deliver on customer expectations. This is largely due to an inward focus from the business – months are spent developing a new product or service without much time considering the customers’ point of view. Just as a clear business plan and strategy will provide a solid path towards your business’ success, creating a thoughtful and thorough Value Proposition will help you to avoid months developing a product that is ultimately rejected by your customers.

How to identify customer needs
Creating a value proposition requires thinking about your product or service from the perspective of your intended audience – what is the task you are helping customers with through the sale of your product or service? What are the difficulties they currently experience with this task? What outcomes are they aiming for by taking on and completing these tasks?

This first element of the value proposition planning is known as your customer profile. It involves understanding your market segment, their pains and their drivers. By doing so you are working smarter, not harder and give yourself a much better chance of developing a product that people will want. It also enables you to start from the point recommended by Eric Ries in the Lean Startup: “Should this product be built?” and “Can we build a sustainable business around this set of products and services?”

Running full-tilt towards developing a product that you believe to be a great innovation without first stopping to consider it from the customers’ point of view increases the chances of it falling into the 72% of products that just don’t attract sales.

Create Your Value Map
Once you understand your customers and their needs, it is time to consider the product you are developing in relation to them. How will the product or service help your customers complete the task they want to accomplish? Which of their difficulties will it relieve? What additional benefits will it provide?

Strategyzer have a great clip on how to do this which comes with a free template you can download to complete the entire value proposition. There are a multitude of similar resources available on the internet. What’s important is all of the pain relievers, benefits, and surprising perks, of your products and services are detailed and matched to the previously completed customer profile.

It is important to complete the customer profile and value map separately so that they do not influence each other from the outset – remember your aim is to create a product that people want, not people who want your product. In some cases, it can be beneficial to have a third party complete the customer profile research for you to ensure you are capturing the correct information for the value proposition work.

Perfect Product Positioning
An additional benefit of understanding your customer needs and the benefits that your product will bring them is the likelihood that throughout the market research stage you will be creating interest and building demand for the product that is still in development.

Sales representative will have a clear understanding of why the customers they are being asked to target will want to talk with them. Customers will respect your business for understanding their needs and listening to what they want. All of this builds credibility and sets you on the path toward sustainable growth. There is really no better way to build a solid foundation for your business.

If you are working with a small team or your business lacks an internal sales resource, it can be hugely beneficial to engage an external representative or sales resource to assist you with the process. The team at The Sales Desk have many years of combined experience helping businesses create and implement sales and business strategies that drive business growth and avoid the pain of chasing ideas and plans that have not been tested or properly researched. The Sales Desk covers all aspects of the sales process from planning to closing the sales and each step in between.