Thursday, July 09, 2009

Do You Know Your Customer's Value Proposition? What Are You Doing To Help Them Deliver It?

We know that a clear differentiated value proposition is critical to sales success. Over the past month, I have been writing about various aspects of developing communicating and delivering differentiated value to your customers. I'll stay on the same theme, but take a slightly different direction.

How many sales professionals understand the core value propositions of their customers? Do we know how our customers present their value to their customers and differentiate themselves from their competitors? Most good sales people have a pretty good idea of this.

Now, here's the twist---what do you do to help your customers deliver on their value propositions to their customers? Do you know---more importantly does your customer know and do they see it as an important contribution to their value proposition?

Now you are probably thinking, "Dave, I've bought your stuff up until know, but you are getting pretty far out there. We are just a small component of what our customers do."

Try thinking about it in these ways:

1. Remember the old story, "for the lack of a horseshoe, a kingdom was lost." Think of the value delivery chain--start with your customer's value proposition, work backwards through the value delivery chain and see where you fit in and how you can contribute. I've found if very useful to engage the customer in doing this--often they don't know where they fit in. Mapping it out on a whiteboard can be a very interesting and enlightening discussion for both you and your customer.

2. Take the classic quality and process analysis approach. There are internal and external customers. Think about your direct customer, who are their customers? They may be internal or external. What is your direct customer's value proposition to their customers, internal or external? How do you contribute to that value proposition? Does your direct customer see how critical you are in helping them deliver their value proposition?

Your customers are worried about defining, communicating and delivering value to their customers. Show them how you help them in delivering differentiated value, make your offerings an integrated part of their value delivery process. You become indispensable in their offerings.

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