Patterns & Insights


Value Proposition and a Whole Offer

by | Apr 16, 2020 | marketing, offers, sales, strategy

The opportunity to delve in and really get to the essence of a value proposition can be an excellent opportunity to innovate and differentiate your company and offers through a myriad of ways.  The actionable outcome of exploring your value proposition and how it plays out in your offers is to identify gaps and areas to refine your offer through either strategic partnerships, the addition of new elements, different packaging and pricing, and more.  Wikipedia defines the  whole product as “the product augmented by everything that is needed for the customer to have a compelling reason to buy.”  This term was originally coined and used by Regis McKenna, famed marketeer of Silicon Valley and elaborated upon by Geoffrey Moore in his book Crossing the Chasm.

Are you considering all elements of the puzzle when building your offers?

When considering your overall business model strategy, it is imperative to think about how you will surround core technology solutions with the appropriate elements that ultimately support and provide value to the customer.  Not every company needs an expansive support infrastructure, but your customers’ ability to implement and take advantage of your technology solution is at the essence of delivering your promise for value.  In today’s world, there are many ways you can augment the value of your core products including, but not limited to:

  • Forming strategic go-to-market partnerships with other businesses that compliment your core offer.
  • Taking advantage of new delivery models, such as SaaS (Software as a Service) for software as an example, that can eliminate the need for requirements on the customers’ part to maintain a secure working environment.
  • Leveraging the power of digital learning and social media for supporting and delivering valuable best practices, training, crowdsourced ideas on problem-solving, etc.

I have often shared that I learned more about effective sales and marketing when I was on the receiving end of it as a customer than I ever learned in academia or practice as a marketer!  And, this is a real-life example from a time when I was a customer myself, responsible for making technology acquisition decisions and leading a team that designed, implemented and operated a global network spanning 55 countries. In this post, I’ll share an example of how the successful sales team brought the right “whole offer” to me, my team, and my company.  On another date, I’ll share how two other teams totally missed the boat!  This firm stepped up to the plate by listening intently to the requirements that were shared with them that went beyond the technology itself and provided us with a value proposition and related offer that got to the heart of what we needed.

All effective sales start with listening to the customer.

I had shared what I personally, my team and my company really needed – in our own terms with all of the sales teams.  I had shared that I needed a “reliable support model,” and that I needed a path for educating my operations team on the new technology.   Because we had a very aggressive timeline to meet the business requirements, it was critical that we had a risk mitigation model in place as my team executed and ramped up.  And finally, I was very open with them about the strategic nature of this technology play and the role it played in our broader business strategy.  The ultimately winning sales team responded to this by delivering not just the obvious product elements (switches and routers) but by surrounding it with all of the elements that addressed our stated needs, creating a value proposition that they delivered upon very effectively.

Packaging the offer into a “whole offer.”

The “whole offer” they proposed and ultimately provided included far more than a technology product that met a laundry list of performance superlatives.  They demonstrated that they listened and put together a comprehensive combination of product, service, and support features to bring value to our business inclusive of:

Products:   Quality technology products that both met our immediate needs;

Shared Understanding of Our Vision for Digital Content Delivery:  A non-disclosure view of how the solutions they were recommending today would continue to evolve to meet our needs and our vision of the digital infrastructure for content and entertainment delivery of the future;  Inclusion of myself and my CIO into an advisory organization to continue to influence future product enhancements;

Risk Mitigation:  A tech refresh clause that reduced my risk and gave us options for trading in/up should new technology become available prior to the end of the depreciation cycle of the gear;

Education and Support:   A dedicated engineer willing to run weekly customized “lunch and learns” for my team to assure they were getting what they needed to successfully implement, troubleshoot and run the network;  Technical training coupons for my engineers to use to attend any of a variety of third party offered training on the technology we were implementing;  Excellent technical support during “day 2” after the sale;

Value: Audience-centric, Comprehensive in addressing the need.

It was this package that addressed the needs we had and ultimately gave us a compelling reason to buy from this particular vendor.  Bringing service and product together with the capacity to listen to and understand the perspective and needs of the client from the vantage of multiple decision-makers and influencers in our business won this vendor the business.

How do you incorporate elements beyond the core product to produce value for your clients?  Are there opportunities for innovation?

Are your business model and go-to-market strategy effectively incorporating and taking into consideration the customer adoption needs and challenges?  Are you strategically using partners in a collaborative win-win-win approach to differentiate your technology?

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