Five Steps to Improve Your Value Messaging Approach

What’s the role of value messaging in sales enablement? Basically, value messaging is the glue that allows you to align your content and training services to each other and the customer’s path to ensure consistency and effectiveness.

However, two-thirds of organizations (64.7%) work with enablement services that are inconsistent with each other, as I discussed last week here. In reality, it means sales content and product training services are not purposefully aligned to each other. The business impact of aligned-versus-misaligned enablement services is both significant and remarkable, as stated in my previous blog post:

“The win rates for forecasted deals are 7.5% better if sales content and product training are aligned at least on the value message level. The costs of doing nothing are worse: 22.6% decline in win rates.”

Organization’s approach to value messaging

One of the root causes of inconsistent and misaligned enablement services is a fractured or non-existent value messaging approach that covers the entire customer’s journey. In our 2017 Sales Enablement Optimization Study, we asked our participants a set of questions regarding value messaging. This chart shows how organization’s approach value messaging in general:

  • Only one-quarter (24.0%) reported having a formal approach to value messaging.
  • More than one-third (35.7%) either have no structured approach to value messaging or don’t know if they have one.
  • And the remaining 40.3% create general value propositions.

A formal value messaging approach is based on the shared understanding that value messaging has to cover the entire customer’s path, all relevant buyer roles and their business challenges. A formal value messaging approach understands that value messages are different at each phase of the customer’s path.

A formal approach is also based on a common understanding that value messages for demand and lead generation purposes are created to address a broader audience (macro perspective) especially at the early staged of the customer’s path. In contrast, salespeople need value messages that cover the entire customer’s path. Furthermore, salespeople need value messages to address individual buyers (micro perspective).

If you would rank your organization’s approach to value messaging anything less than formal, these three ideas could be useful for you:

  • Clarify who owns value messaging:
    Often, marketing owns all value messaging efforts. As we live in the age of the customer, and their customer experience along the entire customer’s path is essential for their buying decisions, this is an approach that doesn’t work any longer. In the absence of a chief customer experience officer, a strategic sales enablement function that orchestrates all enablement efforts from content to training to coaching along the entire customer’s path is in a perfect position to own the value messaging approach. And, marketing’s role is actually growing because of the broader scope along the entire customer’s path. Because the enablement teams have to ensure that the value messaging is integrated in all content, relevant training and coaching services, it makes sense to have them orchestrating the process.
  • Develop a value messaging framework:
    After clarifying the ownership and the scope of value messaging, the question becomes how to organize the complex issue. A framework is essential to do so. CSO Insights has developed a value messaging framework that defines value messaging types (value hypothesis, value propositions, specific value propositions and value conformations) for each phase of the customer’s path, and also shows how it impacts the enablement content, training and coaching services. Without a standardized framework, you will never gain scalability and efficiency.
  • Define the criteria that impact your value messaging types:
    Think about business challenges your products and service can solve, the relevant buyer roles, and the different phases of the customer’s path. Think about the impact of different buying situations and their embedded risks (renewal versus new problem to be solved), and your own position as vendor (example: if you are a start-up you have usually to provide more value to cover the bigger risk).
  • Creating value messages is a collaborative approach:
    Ideally, have a neutral moderator leading the workshops. Choose one who is very familiar with your approach. Have all functions involved, marketing, sales, product management, industries, etc.
    Capture the rough value messages that need to be integrated in content, training and coaching services.
  • Enablement has to ensure a solid integration in enablement services:
    Enablement is in the best position to ensure that all relevant content and training services are updated with the new value messaging. Ideally, they also create interactive playbooks that guide salespeople along the customer’s path with all the messaging they need at their fingertips, including links to additional content to be used.

Stay tuned. Next week, we are going to discuss what criteria organizations use today to create their value messages – and what the business impact will be!

Questions for you:

  • Who owns value messaging in your organization?
  • What’s the role of sales enablement in your organization when it comes to value messaging?
  • Do you have a value messaging framework in place?

 

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