As pointed out by Tom Sant, if you can’t establish that you deliver superior value then the customer will choose based on price. In a previous post, “Value Propositions – what you do, why it’s important, how you do it” I reviewed articles from the Harvard Business Review, Forrester Research and other sources that discussed how to prepare your value proposition. Since writing that post we have started to use Tom Sant’s NOSE framework. It’s a simple approach to help you develop a compelling proposition focused on your customers’ needs.
Can you describe the value you deliver to customers? Is it sufficiently different from what your competitors do? Can you persuade prospects that you are their best choice? Understanding how to communicate your value proposition is essential for generating leads and acquiring new customers. For online marketers, you have to communicate the value to a web visitor in a few seconds or they may leave your site. For B2B sales teams, you have to describe a convincing value proposition in your sales proposals or you won’t win the deal.
But a lot of companies find it difficult to communicate that value to customers. Typical problems include
- talking about your company and its capabilities rather than focusing on the customer;
- talking about features instead of the value provided by those features;
- using marketing waffle like ‘leading global provider of X’;
- highlighting benefits that your customers don’t care about.
The NOSE framework described by Tom Sant could help you avoid those problems. The NOSE acronym stands for
- Need – what is the customer’s need? The more specific you can be about the problem the more convincing you will be about the value you provide in solving the problem
- Outcomes – Clearly describe the results the client wants to see
- Solutions – recommend a specific solution
- Evidence – provide proof that you can deliver the solution on time and on budget – case studies, customer testimonials, resumes etc.
His approach aligns very well with the use of ‘Buyer Personas’ in B2B marketing. Personas are profiles you create of a typical customer type e.g. “Facility Manager”. You create personas by interviewing real individuals who hold those roles so you can develop a good understanding of their business needs and drivers. When using the NOSE approach, carrying out your buyer persona analysis will help you establish the Need and Outcomes.
Once you have determined the needs and desired outcomes you then describe a solution that will deliver those outcomes. You have to persuade your potential customers that you can meet their needs, that it is worth doing and that you can actually deliver what you promise. Providing evidence is an essential part of making your case. Show them examples of where you have successfully delivered a similar solution.
In summary, you need to communicate your value proposition if you want to win customers. Check out Tom Sant’s NOSE framework and see if it helps.