In their approach to business development, manufacturers either have a strong understanding of who they are and their value to customers and prospects, or they understand what they make, but lack the full understanding of their value proposition. Those in the latter category can struggle to understand who their best sales targets are and how to communicate their products and services to them.
Smart Business spoke with Nadine Nocero, senior account manager at SyncShow, about how manufacturers can discover and promote their value proposition to increase sales opportunities.
How can manufacturers determine what their value proposition is?
Understanding value proposition means looking at the whole business to understand how it’s better than the competition. Companies that aren’t sure of their value proposition may rely on longevity, for example, as a differentiator. But being in business for 100 years doesn’t prove enough to get a buyer to make a purchase. Look closer at what that longevity means to find the true differentiator.
Price can be a differentiator, but it’s a dangerous approach because it drives a business to constantly reduce costs and doesn’t facilitate relationship building. An alternative approach is to focus on developing products or services that are proprietarily better, which can be done through patents, shorter lead times, services with specific processes or strategies that competitors aren’t offering, or improvements that save customers time.
How has the buying process changed in recent years?
The buyers’ journey on the front end, which includes research and information gathering, now takes place online. The internet has brought transparency to the forefront. When the buying process goes well, people share the experience. That has led customers to learn from other customers, getting validation from other buyers that they’re making the right choices. But customers also share negative experiences.
People want information on demand. Be sure to make whatever information customers might need available so they can access it whenever they decide to start their buying process.
How well would you say manufacturers have adapted to buyers’ new methods?
Manufacturers have mostly been slow to respond to the way the buying cycle has changed. Multigenerational companies have experienced success by doing things a certain way and they’re hesitant to change.
Manufacturers that have adapted are seeing strong gains. Customers are engaging with them online and are moving through the buying process easier and faster. This, in part, requires an updated website. Customers should be able to access a manufacturer’s site and learn what the company does, how it can solve their problems and how they can connect with the company.
What should manufacturers do to align their value proposition with the buyers’ journey?
Manufacturers should put themselves in their buyers’ shoes and construct a communication platform that addresses all stages of the buying cycle. The company’s value proposition should be integrated into every aspect of the cycle.
During the research phase, the company’s value proposition should be presented in a general way so buyers can see the company as a solution. Provide white papers and tip sheets that speak generally to the industry.
As buyers move down funnel, the company’s specific value proposition should become much clearer. This can be done through case studies, case histories and client testimonials that show how the company has solved specific client problems.
During the sales phase, content should be centered on what that client needs and how the company is the best solution. It should feel organic to the buyer because the value proposition has been seeded all through the sales funnel.
Fundamentally, manufacturers should step back and look at their overall business goals to determine what gives their company the greatest value. Once it’s discovered, incorporate it into all internal and external communications, including the company’s website, email marketing, data sheets, proposals, contracts, etc.
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