👋 Hi, I’m James. Thanks for checking out Building Momentum: a newsletter to help startup founders and marketers accelerate SaaS growth through product marketing.
Take a look around the B2B SaaS Space, and you’ll see these messages proclaimed by almost everyone.
“Our product is the fastest.”
“Ours is the only…”.
“We’re an all-in-one solution.”
Startups generally suck at describing the value of their product. They rely on generic ad libs that provide zero competitive differentiation, full of weasel words.
This happens when deciding the messaging – usually founders, sales leaders, and growth marketers – think about how to make the product sound sexy.
People want to hear that things are fast, that it’s comprehensive, that it’s feature-rich – right?
No. They want to know what your product will do for them.
So we need to convey our product value in a way that resonates.
In this post:
What is value?
A value is an element that your customer wants to attain that:
Is worth the effort (cost, time, energy)
Is a priority for them
Every value you communicate should meet these three tests.
Is a faster product useful? It could be, for time-sensitive processes.
Is an all-in-one product worth the cost to a customer that only has part of the problem you’re solving? Probably not.
Trying to sell a videoconferencing platform to Zoom? Probably not a priority for them.
Understanding the exact value you deliver helps you:
differentiate and stand out from your competition
sell faster, as a result of increased buyer motivation
build a moat around your product and brand
become more efficient, by building a tight and repeatable sales/marketing process
make much better decisions across the business, from product and engineering to finance
But… how do you discover what value you deliver to begin with?
It all starts by being focused on your customer.
You need to know who you are targeting – be uncomfortably narrow with your Ideal Customer Profile.
Then, do your research. Speak to customers, prospects, friendly people in the market, analysts and experts in the field.
Ask your customers and prospects these 19 customer development questions, and make notes for all the things they said. Pull them up on a whiteboard or Mural board and you’ll get something like this:
Finding patterns – the diamonds in the haystack – can be tricky. Use a small group to review each section, group cards that have similar themes and create a summary – and then use another small group to review and validate.
You’ll also want to keep an eye out for unusual statements that you didn’t expect to hear. The more unguarded your interviewees are, the more honest they’ll be about their challenges – providing you with the perfect insight to resonate hard.
Once you’ve got your summaries for each question, look to extract four elements to build your persona:
Key jobs – common activities that your customer does as part of their day-to-day
Top 3 gains – their personal, professional, or business goals they want to achieve
Top 3 pains – marks of failure and frustrations the customer must avoid,
Likely triggers – their motivations to search for a way to solve their problem and switch away from their current solution
Once you’ve defined these, you’ll see clear distinctions in what your customer is hoping to achieve, avoid, or take action on. These will provide the basis for providing your value messaging.
Communicating value through value nuggets
It’s crucial to connect the dots from your product features, through to the tangible benefits they deliver, through to the value your product is delivering. And back them up with proof points.
I call this a value nugget: a way to package your product features and benefits around 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.
One or more benefits: the advantage a buyer gets when using your product.
Benefits are gained via features: a specific piece of functionality that’s used by your customer.
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.
Good value messaging is specific
There’s no excuse for describing your product in broad terms anymore. Good value messaging needs to cut straight through the noise to the heart of someone who cares. It makes you stand out, and gives you a platform to stand for.
It’s not enough to be something for anyone. Don’t miss the opportunity to be the thing for someone.
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