The term value proposition is thrown around so much in startup marketing and sales that you could be forgiven for thinking it’s just a marketing buzzword. But the truth is that your value proposition is critical in helping your potential customers understand if you can help them or not. More tangibly, a poor value proposition can lead to lots of technology tourists who just want to learn what you do (since they don’t understand from your value prop), the POC trap where you are stuck doing POCs and customers who refuse to pay for POCs and ask for major price cuts.
A strong value proposition explains to your potential customers what problem you fix for them, how you do it, and why you’re unique. This approach centers all conversations around the business problem and how you solve it, which drives sales, reduces the number of POCs and drives home the value of what you are doing.
So back to the question, ‘how to write a value proposition’:
What Message Are You Sending?
Identify Who You Are Selling To
The first thing to think about when you are trying to understand how to write a value proposition, is: who are you selling to? To be clear, I don’t mean what company, I mean what person. What job titles might they have? Where do they live? What challenges do they face? In marketing, this is generally called a Persona and it’s critical for you to understand WHO you are addressing your value proposition at.
Identify (and test) what problem you are solving for them
Once you know who you are targeting, you need to identify what problem you are fixing for them. Do they know this have this problem or are you fixing a problem that they have but to which they don’t even know there is a solution? If it is the latter, that will change your marketing strategy but that is a topic for another day. Regardless, once you have identified your target buyers and their pain points, you need to test all of your assumptions before moving forward.
Write the Value Proposition following this format
Now is the time to move on to actually writing your value proposition. Remember that the value proposition should be all about the customer and not about you. The best value proportions that we’ve seen follow this format.
We help (insert persona description) solve (insert business problem description) thanks to our tech (insert quick description of what you do) which is unique (describe why you’re unique in terms of business value not tech).
This is the starting point for a great value proposition. Of course, you can add to it more information like, for example, showing you have the authority to do what you say. A professionally designed site along with testimonials and logos will do the trick here.
If you follow these simple steps, you can write a value proposition that tells leads immediately if you can help them or not and shows them that you understand their challenges. However, once you’ve written the value prop, you need to take the time to test how your target buyers will react to it.