👋 Hi, I’m James. Thanks for checking out Building Momentum: a newsletter to help startup founders and marketers accelerate SaaS growth through product marketing.
Everyone knows the saying: “people don’t buy a drill, they buy a hole in the wall.”
And yeah, that’s true, but is it the full story? While making a decision to buy a drill, they also had to evaluate whether:
They wanted a drill could be used anywhere, or only near a power outlet
They wanted to save time and money by buying an all-in-one set, or if they wanted to buy drill bits separately
Whether they wanted the confidence that the Black & Decker brand name stands for, or not
And we also need to consider why they want the hole in the wall. Is it to showcase family photographs in their living room, or to hang their bike up in the garage?
Every purchase decision that a consumer or business makes is based on their perception of the value it will deliver them. That perception is made up of the benefits they will achieve, and the features that they are delivered through.
In B2B SaaS, it’s not quite as simple. More often than not we sell to buying groups, made up of different stakeholders who all have their own perception of the value to be gained. They disagree on which features are a must-have, and whether a benefit is relevant for them or not.
This makes it really hard across sales and marketing to craft product positioning and messaging that works.
Marketing teams often want to focus on the aspirational value as a way to differentiate from competitors. But doing this without building on a solid feature/benefit foundation means messaging can feel fragile, soft, and fluffy.
On the other hand, sales reps think it will be easier to sell just on features alone. But without tying features to the tangible benefits and overall aspirational value, the product is perceived to be a commodity whilst deals don’t gain urgency, traction, or importance.
So what really is a value? What’s a benefit? Where do features fit in? How do we enable sales/marketing to use these in their messaging to drive momentum?
In this post:
Introducing the value nugget
A value nugget is a way to package up your product features and benefits, while providing a clear hierarchy to navigate effortlessly in sales conversations and marketing.
A value nugget is comprised of:
A value: an attribute or state that the buyer hopes to attain. Examples might be “hire future leaders, faster”, “deliver repeatable results”, “workforce flexibility”, or “visibility into their processes”.
One or more benefits: the advantage a buyer gets when using your product. It’s tangible – something they can report on, and starts with a verb. Examples might be ‘save time’, ‘increase customer satisfaction’, or ‘maximize time-to-value’.
Benefits are gained via features: a specific piece of functionality that’s used by your customer. These might be an obvious product capability like an integration, a less obvious consideration like a modern and clean UX, or even service elements like a dedicated account manager.
Benefits are justified through proof: stats or testimonials that can be highlighted to provide social proof, additional context, and evidence that it works.
You can move through the value nugget by asking ‘why’ and ‘how’. This makes it easier to train a narrative and talk track that can be navigated in real-time.
For example, moving down by asking ‘how’:
We help our clients hire the right candidates, faster (value)
How? Clients can ensure candidates are a good cultural fit and have the right skills and attitude required for the role (benefit)
How? Through our psychometric interview and report process (feature)
How? Our customers see a 50% increase in employee performance (proof point)
And moving up, asking ‘why’:
Our customers see a 50% increase in employee performance with our product (proof point)
Why? By using our psychometric interview and report process (feature)
Why? To ensure candidates are a good cultural fit and have the right skills and attitude required for the role (benefit)
Why? So our clients can hire the right candidates, faster (value)
Using value nuggets in messaging and positioning
Based on your customer research, you’ll have discovered the top value that each persona aspires to achieve. These might also cross over multiple personas, which makes life a lot easier!
For each value, build out the nugget:
The value theme: as condensed as possible into a word or short phrase
A value statement: the phrasing you want to use every time
Value bullets: combine benefits and features into single sentences (like ‘[benefit] with [feature]’) – you’ll have multiple value bullets
A list of associated features and proof points
At the end of the process, you’ll have a persona with the top three values they want to achieve. You can describe how your product helps them achieve that, how it links to features, and how you’ve proven it.
Using value nuggets in marketing
One of the things I learnt from a failed product launch was messaging your product at the right level in the hierarchy. We launched with aspirational, value-heavy messages that bombed with the champions in our sales process, who wanted to see more tangible benefits instead.
From your customer development and buyer journey research, you’ll hopefully understand what each persona wants to know and needs to understand at various points in the buying process. This should help decide the right way to execute your messaging.
Execs will want to focus on the value
Champions will focus on the benefits
Evaluators will focus on the features
Using value nuggets in sales
Again, depending on your buyer journey you’ll have a better understanding of the information that different stakeholders want to see along their experience.
Train reps on using SPIN (situation, problem, implication, value/need-payoff) to navigate the conversation. The goal is to:
get enough information from the prospect, and agree on the value they want to achieve
enable the rep to tailor the response using the value nugget, make it clear how it is achieved, and persuade with proof
How are you messaging your product value?
Communicating your product value, benefits, and features in a structured way allows marketing to drive better results and sales to drive more revenue, faster.
It is really important to ensure these values are built on customer research, and adapted to your buyer journey. And you’ll need to iterate and tweak as you learn. But messaging is sometimes an under-estimated lever to drive momentum – so make sure you take control and use it well.
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