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The Value Proposition: Creating Impact in Life Science Marketing

May 29, 2013

Step into your customers' shoes for a moment.

How often are you pummeled with promises of faster, easier, better, or similar claim of a quantum leap into the Promised Land of superior results and at a lower cost?

"But it's true. My product really is faster, easier, and better. Why shouldn't I broadcast the news?"

You should. But in the right way, and at the right time. Like many things in life, timing is everything. You'll want to make those claims and you'll want customers to know that your product or service can deliver, but first...

Enter the Value Proposition

For potential customers to understand the value of your company and it's products or services, consider the impact of a statement that succinctly and powerfully tells the world the "Why, What, and How" of your company and how its products or services will solve their problems. This statement, the Value Proposition, positions your company and its offerings in a way that can make customers want to engage with your company to learn more.

A good Value Proposition establishes you as someone who sees things through the eyes of your customer and puts you in a better position to "win"—not someone who focuses on their own offerings.

What a Value Proposition is and isn't

It is not a features/benefits summary. A good Value Proposition is an overview that uniquely positions your company, informs potential customers about the gains to be had by working with you, and distinguishes you from competitors. It's a key selling tool that should be incorporated into every communication that comes from your company—Web sites, tablet materials, sales documents, PowerPoint decks, e-mail blasts (and cold-call e-mails to introduce your company to a potential prospect), voice mail messages, trade show collateral, and sales-call materials.

Don't be shy with your Value Proposition; it should be consistently and persistently communicated.

Value Propositions—too often missing

Value Propositions tend to be missing in advertising; many marketing efforts focus on the product and not the key target for any marketing effort—the customer. Market growth opportunities can come from communicating with scientists who aren't looking for your company or technology. When scientists visit a website, trade show booth, or read an e-mail or document from your company, they're not just poking around to learn what's available. They have a real need and want to know how they will benefit from working with your company. To draw in your customer (and shut out all your competitors clamoring for your customers' attention), you have to quickly and powerfully answer 3 questions:

  • How will this product or service solve the customer's problem and help them succeed?
  • What is different and better about this company, product, or service that warrants their time and attention?
  • Why should they choose to work with your company and not your competitors?

Too often, life science suppliers focus entirely on the technology:

  • What does the technology do?
  • How does the technology work?

The key question that customers ask and that life science suppliers too frequently leave unanswered is "What's in it for me?" If that piece is missing, customers may well move on to the next booth, Web site, or e-mail. You've lost potential customers before even having the opportunity to engage them. According to an article at Forbes online1 customers are almost 60% of the way through their buying decisions before engaging the company. In the tech-savvy life sciences field, the percentage is likely higher. You must engage customers to get them to want to engage with you.

The technology isn't what your company is selling or what the customer is searching for. You're selling the ability to solve scientists' problems in a unique manner that brings them tangible benefit.

The focus is on them—the customers.

This is exactly what a good Value Proposition explains.

How to build a Value Proposition
The components of a successful Value Proposition are:

  • Key attributes of your company and its offerings
  • Pivotal advantages of your company's solutions
  • Vital differentiators that make your company's products or services unique
  • Primary benefits that the customer will realize by working with your company

Communicating your Value Proposition effectively is vital.

To create an effective Value Proposition:

  • Resist the temptation to list dozens of advantages and attributes of a product or service. Pick the four most powerful points. Go for quality rather than quantity to avoid diluting the impact of your most persuasive selling points
  • Avoid overselling. Be judicious with superlatives. Scientists are a highly skeptical bunch. Excess use of superlatives will cause their cynicism gene to over-express the protein that blocks your important message and they will move on to something that is more believable
  • Don't incorporate tired and trite terms. Avoid "better," "faster," and "cheaper" even if true. Instead, explain these attributes in the context of how it will help solve the customer problems. If it's faster, discuss why speed and turnaround are important and how this will make them more successful. If it's cheaper, tell them how their lab will benefit in terms of being able to perform more tests or replicates because of its cost-effectiveness

It's not about your technology, it's about your customers
Successfully positioning your company requires framing the benefits, advantages, and differentiators from the customer viewpoint and with their needs in mind.

A good Value Proposition will quickly broadcast how your product or service meets those needs unlike any competitor.

Reference:

  1. Gillum S. The disappearing sales process. Forbes [web site]. http://www.forbes.com/sites/gyro/2013/01/07/the-disappearing-sales-process/. Accessed May 22, 2013.

Jeff Protentis

Jeff Protentis founded Genovative Solutions, a Sales and Marketing Consulting organization in 2008. He brings extensive sales success and scientific acumen to enhance product commercialization effectiveness for the Life Science market. Working at both the strategic and tactical levels, he has helped many companies attain their commercial goals. He is skilled and experienced in the development and implementation of sales and marketing programs that result in revenue enhancement.
SAMPS, Sales And Marketing Professionals in Scientific research, is the first and only organization dedicated to sales and marketing professionals within the life sciences.

The association’s goal is to serve its members who work in commercial roles for life science products and services companies and associated businesses, globally.
 
SAMPS was previously named ACP-LS. We feel that SAMPS more clearly describes the membership, and will form a better foundation from which to expand this membership globally. 
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