- Existing sales productivity vendors are expanding into new categories by adding features, functions and capabilities
- Adding to the confusion is the inability of many vendors to accurately describe what exactly it is that they do
- A clear, compelling value message that helps people understand the problem a solution solves or value that a solution adds is key
I recently wrote about the explosion of sales productivity solutions entering the market. Existing vendors are expanding into new categories by adding features, functions and capabilities, while new vendors are emerging every day. Adding to the confusion is the inability of many vendors to accurately describe what exactly it is that they do. Case in point is the text below, found in a recent press release (company name redacted to protect the innocent):
XYZ Software today announced an evolution of its interactive solution that combines the collaborative capabilities of the enterprise network with its new suite of purpose-built mobile apps. Fully integrating mobile apps with the industry-leading solution liberates employees to work wherever and however they want through the power of a truly mobile, interactive intranet. Additionally, the latest release accelerates time-to-deployment with out-of-the-box, best-practice templates that deliver immediate value for all lines of business.
The only buzzword missing from the press release is “predictive analytics”.
Kidding aside, I think this press release language is indicative of a problem that many vendors of sales technologies are experiencing: Rising above the general noise level in the marketplace can be daunting and difficult. I’m not a marketing or communications expert, but as someone who focuses on sales and sales technology, I can offer some general advice to sales technology vendors on how to differentiate yourself and provide clarity to your prospects.
- Stop making un-provable claims. If you claim to be the world’s leading solution, I’m going to ask “according to whom, and how was that evaluation made?” If you claim to improve sales productivity by x percent, I’m going to ask for details – where, with whom, from what starting point, by what measurement and over what period of time?
- Words have meaning – chose carefully. In conversations with prospects, state your value in clear, customer-focused terms. What problem do you solve? What economic value do you add? What service do you provide? How will I measure the results? Why should I buy from you? Answering these questions will be difficult but is essential to separating yourself from the pack.
- Propagate the knowledge across the company. Don’t assume everyone – or, for that matter, anyone – in the company understands and can express your unique value proposition. It must be continually reinforced and coached throughout the organization. And by the way, if getting your employees to understand your value proposition is challenging, you haven’t defined it well enough.
Avoiding “buzzword bingo” takes work and discipline. But a clear, compelling value message that helps customers and prospects understand the problem a solution solves or the value that a solution adds is well worth the effort.