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How to create a value proposition that converts 

Picture of Corinne Thomas

Corinne Thomas

Founder & Managing Director

Does your ethical business have a value proposition? And if so, are you using it effectively to attract the right customers for your business?

We invited two experts to teach our Ethical Sales Academy members – Julie Marshall, CEO of consultancy Join up the Dots, and Rob Dumbleton, founder of Four/Four and B2B SaaS growth expert. 

Rob and Julie used their valuable experience to explain to our members why value propositions are important, what you need to do to create one, and how you can embed it into every element of your ethical business. 

By the time you’ve read this feature, you’ll have a clearer idea of exactly what a value proposition is and its benefits to your ethical business, as well as a step-by-step guide to crafting an impactful value proposition.  

If you would like to access the full masterclass and handouts, please sign up to our Ethical Sales Academy.

Let’s get going!

1. What is a value proposition?

A value proposition is defined by a 1988 McKinsey & Co. industry research paper (which is believed to be the first mention of the term) as “a clear, simple statement of the benefits, both tangible and intangible, that the company will provide.”

A strong value proposition should state how your product or service helps solve a client’s problems, its specific benefits, and why a client should choose it. A value proposition needs to be front and centre of your business, embedded into every element, and something clients can identify when visiting your website and other consumer touch points.

[4 minute watch]

2. The benefits and advantages of crafting a strong value proposition

There’s more to a value proposition than just being a strapline that summarises your business. Perfecting it really is the foundation of business success for several reasons. 

A well-crafted value proposition sets a business apart from your competitors in today’s crowded marketplace, leading to increased conversion rates. It will inform your marketing to make sure you’re getting the most from your outbound comms. And it’s also important for internal comms, helping employees understand just what your business is all about and creating the right culture for it to grow and thrive.

Creating a value proposition can also help specify exactly which clients are the best fit for your product or service, and who you want to work with. Knowing this permits you to turn away leads that aren’t the right fit for your business.

3. How to create a strong value proposition

A strong value proposition answers the following three questions: 

What are the specific benefits of your service or product?

How does the product or service solve a client’s pain points?

Why should the client pick your company to deliver this product or service?

“A value proposition is about aligning the value you provide with the needs of your intended market,” says Rob. 

“Think of it as a framework and an understanding of what people’s needs are at different times in their journey and how you can help them.” 

With this in mind, it’s important you understand your customers’ needs first, then align value to this, rather than coming up with what you perceive to be your value first. 

A value proposition must also be considered in the context of your company and its values. For example, being a B Corp is fundamental to business practices and will naturally affect a value proposition. 

Julie outlines some questions to consider when writing a value proposition:

  • Why do people buy from you? 
  • What do you deliver as a team?
  • What’s interesting to you?
  • What are the jobs your clients need help with?
  • How can your product or service help a client with marginal gains?
  • Why should people come and work for you?
  • What are your competitors offering and how are they standing out?

 

Julie suggests also having an honest conversation with clients and finding out what they do and don’t like about working with you. Yes, you’ll feel vulnerable – but your value proposition will be stronger for it. 

If you’re creating a new value proposition for your business, it’s vital that everyone in the company is involved in creating it, to help buy-in. Some employees may not feel it’s worth doing, but if everyone’s opinions are part of the process then naysayers are more likely to get on board.

[3 minute watch]

4. How to activate your value proposition: strategies for implementation

Once your value proposition is written, it’s time to embed it into every element of your business.

One considerable benefit of a good value proposition is that it gives focus and specific KPIs against which people can benchmark their achievements. This can be especially beneficial for new businesses.

A value proposition will naturally inform marketing and communications. Consider who you want to talk to, which channels you’re going to use and which ones will appeal to different clients. The messaging and script used for each channel will all be informed by the value proposition.

Creating a value proposition, especially if your business is pivoting or offering new services, can help provide clarity with budgeting. Consider the internal and external capabilities you need to deliver the value proposition – are you going into new sectors or expanding into new geographical areas? Many businesses fail in pivoting or launching new products because they haven’t fully considered what capabilities they require to fulfil their value proposition.

A value proposition can also be used for coaching a sales team, ensuring that customers’ needs are aligned against the product or service.

And finally, don’t underestimate the power of storytelling to support your value proposition. Humans love storytelling because it’s a potent method for sharing and embedding information. Encourage employees to share stories that highlight the benefits customers have got from your product or service, and just how your ethical business is making a difference.

Want to join the Ethical Sales Academy and gain access to this masterclass plus other sales training from experts? Subscribe today to find out more:

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