Why Most Value Propositions Fall Short

October 28th, 2013

Often value proposition statements are crafted as marketing slogans or simple tag lines. But this does not fit with the actual purpose of value propositions. A Gartner survey of 600 IT vendors revealed that most fail to quantify value propositions. Besides this, many value propositions also suffer from other shortcomings.

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Before digging into the world of shortcomings, first slip into the role of a customer. How do you react when you hear these value proposition statements?

  • “We are the leading SAP reseller.”
  • “Headquartered in UK, we offer premium business intelligence solutions.”
  • “We have been collaborating with SAP for more than 15 years delivering products and services that meet various business needs.”

How likely are you to buy products or services from the companies with the value propositions above? Rather unlikely. And what is your reaction to this value proposition? “[Company] is an award-winning provider of business intelligence solutions. [Company] helps SME companies to tap the value of their data: clients identify trends, uncover new insights, and streamline their operations to react to issues and meet corporate goals. [Company]’s customers typically realize up to a 30% ROI by making good business decisions based on reliable and accurate data.”

Worst practices

The worst and most common pitfall with regards to value propositions is  egocentricity. When crafting value proposition statements companies mistakenly tend to focus on themselves instead of their customers. They show a sophisticated “It’s all about me” attitude.

Most value propositions fail to stand out in the market because they lead with the corporate ego or the provider’s product or service features, rather than the value of the business outcome the customer can achieve with the provider’s solution.” Richard Fouts, Research Director at Gartner

When value propositions are that ego-centric, other worst practices will appear in the statements:

  • Value propositions are confused with the long-term vision.
  • Value propositions are led with product features.
  • Value propositions are overloaded with all of the benefits companies can think of (see the “all benefits” type of value propositions).
  • Value propositions fail to communicate quantified business outcomes.

Rise above the market noise with your value proposition

Eventually your value proposition should help you to move your company above the market noise – to stand out from the crowd. For that you simply have to answer one question with your value proposition: “What business outcome do we deliver at a price our customers are willing to pay?” Your answer should persuasively convey an experience that only you can deliver, and do so in terms of numbers related to the bottom line.   Need help getting started or perfecting your value proposition? We can help you get started – contact us and join one of our Sales & Prasales Special Academy trainings.  

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