Your value proposition is your company’s North Star. It guides you in every client-focused aspect of your business and provides direction in times of confusion. That’s a lot of weight for a few sentences.
Your value proposition is important because it embodies what you provide your clients. Look at any successful company, and you'll find every one of them clearly articulates the value they offer. For example, Slack’s value proposition is “making working lives simpler, more pleasant, and more productive — for everyone.” Digit’s is “save money, without thinking about it.”
This strategic message helps your clients find you and helps your team rally behind what you do. Without one you'll create the internal and external confusion that commonly results in lost sales.
Here are four reasons why you might be avoiding writing a value proposition — and tips for working through those roadblocks.
1. You’re Only Focused on Leads
Creating your value proposition may seem like a time-waster compared to the everyday quest of attracting clients, but it definitely isn’t. Operating without one can create the kind of inconsistent experience that may hurt your brand — and your growth.
If you are unclear on the value you provide, you’re likely unclear on who you provide it to and how you create it. Without an understanding of these foundations — value, audience and offerings — your team is selling blind. You may be successful in the short-term in generating some sales, but you’ll be closing fewer deals than you could with alignment. Without clarity around these fundamentals, growth often plateaus.
Everyday operations and closing deals today are both crucial to keeping the lights on. But if you want those lights to be on five or ten years down the road, make time for deep, strategic thinking today.
2. Your Leadership Team isn’t Aligned
Does your leadership team see eye-to-eye about what you offer? Without this alignment, it’s difficult for leaders to guide organizations effectively. This lack of clarity can impact not only your team, but how clients perceive you.
It’s easy to believe that you and your partners are aligned, even if you are not. You have an intimate understanding of your product, right? You’re experts! However, your value proposition is the articulation, not of what you sell, but of the need that your products or services fulfill.
For example, you may be aligned on the fact that you are selling event services to small- to mid-sized businesses. But, your partner may see your primary value as “saving busy executives time and money by taking responsibilities off their plates." At the same time, you see your primary value as “bringing clients the new ideas that really engage audiences.”
Neither answer is right or wrong, but misalignment can lead to inconsistent messaging and ultimately miscommunicating your real value. Both saving resources and creating engaging experiences are great value propositions for event services businesses. But, only one should be your primary focus, the goldstar message that you communicate to your team and to your customers.
Take the time to really articulate — together — what you think the purpose of your company is in the eyes of your clients. If you find disagreement or differences of opinion within leadership, these are often opportunities for growth.
3. You’re Afraid of Getting it Wrong
Nothing stifles curiosity and creativity quite like perfectionism. If you and your partners find yourselves continually revisiting and redrafting your value proposition but never finalizing it, you may be paralyzed by fear of getting it wrong.
There’s no doubt that the value proposition is important. But, overemphasizing how crucial it is to the point that you are operating without one is counterproductive. Your value proposition will grow and change with your company over time and with the changing needs of your client base.
Don’t languish without one. After some hard work, client research and open conversation, give one of your best drafts of your value proposition a try.
4. You're Resisting Growth and Change
It’s even more important to sync with your team as your company grows. If you resist writing your value proposition, or reworking one that’s outdated, you need to take a good hard look at what’s changing, and how you’re handling it.
Perhaps the real value of your offerings has incrementally changed with your audience. It’s easy to overlook this kind of gradual change — until you find your value proposition sounding increasingly stale or inaccurate.
Periodically reevaluate what you’re providing your clients — and why. Take regular client polls that help you understand what challenges you help them meet. Check in with your sales team — not just on their numbers, but on questions and thoughts from leads and clients.
Look for patterns and create messaging that reflects your current solutions and where you are headed in the future. This will not only help keep your value proposition on-point, but will help you stay on the pulse of your clients.
Not writing a value proposition plagues companies for some of the reasons outlined above. But every company needs one, including yours. It guides your sales efforts, helps express what you do for potential clients, and leads your company in the right direction.
Do you need help developing your company’s value messaging? Explore this worksheet and video with your team.