You won’t grow without a good and improving value proposition. It is that important. Its importance is only rivaled by its complexity. There are complexities of who touches it: Sales, Marketers, Product Managers, Executives, Customers, etc. There are complexities in defining it and in what is being done to improve it.
Here is what we are learning in our journey to bring structure and speed to value proposition.
Step 1: The Structure of DVP. We wrote a book called Winning with Customers a few years ago. The punch line of the book was: “Do you know if your customers make more money doing business with you than their alternatives?” That statement is your Value Proposition, or more specifically, it is how your Value Proposition is differentiated versus your competition, i.e., your Differential Value Proposition (DVP).
Karel Czanderana, Group President of Owens Corning, wrote in the preface of Winning with Customers, “[Render is] the first system I have found that truly allows us to learn what our customer values and use that information in the daily operation of the business.” What we delivered to Owens Corning back in 2010 was DVP – a practical structure for defining a value proposition and understanding what was different about it versus competition (hence, the D in DVP). We provided a structured approach that a company could use to collaborate with its customers to find out if their customers understood their DVP and what customers thought should be improved.
In 2010 the primary users of DVP were Marketers, Strategic Account Managers and Product Managers – the people who are generally responsible for their companies’ value proposition. For those users, we started at the most logical place, by helping them define the value proposition, then making it better with DVP, bringing structure to customer voice, and giving them a good place to work – our Render software. This early work was much about bringing structure to how a DVP was defined, communicated and improved and making that work efficient.
Speed. Since that first step back in 2010, we have learned the steps it takes to create speed. We have re-spun the age old axiom about the weakest link...You are only as fast as your slowest link. Here is what we mean:
- If marketers are working on DVPs that are not associated with growth initiatives, then the organization does not spring to action with speed. (a.k.a. Step 2)
- If executives who establish growth initiatives do not understand their DVP, invest to improve it, and drive execution, then speed is not achieved. (a.k.a. Step 3)
- If the sales team is not selling and communicating their company’s DVP and associated improvements, then speed is not achieved. (a.k.a. Step 4)
- If the customer doesn’t understand how their business is being improved, then none of the above matters. (a.k.a. Step “Next”)
The progression above forms a system where everything takes structure and linkage to create speed.
As we’ve learned about what it takes to generate speed throughout an organization, we have consequently continued building the Render platform to enable it:
Step 2: Workspaces. We created Workspaces in Render to organize DVPs around growth. Teams needed a place to work on and link DVPs to growth buckets. That bucket might be a campaign, a strategic account, a product, type of customers, or emerging growth market. When DVPs are associated with growth initiatives, marketers can speed up organizational collaboration on DVP vis-à-vis those initiatives
Step 3: Reports. The next step on this journey of creating speed was getting the entirety of the organization involved in DVP. We generally learned that the rest of the organization gains most valuable insights by looking across many DVPs. The CEO likes to look across all customer initiatives to improve his/her many DVPs and ensure the organization is executing those initiatives. The innovators like to look across multiple DVPs for common customer problems to solve. Render Reports are the tools we built to allow the organization at large to collaborate on the many (often disparate) actions going on to improve DVP. This collaboration brings speed to how the organization solves customer challenges.
Step 4: Customers. Our latest step has been focused on helping sellers to sell. We have learned what a sales team wants from DVP – what value prop are they supposed to sell, what is it worth to the customer, and what is their organization doing to improve that which the customer cares about. Render's Customer Module makes all that information available to sales people in real time so that they can value sell with speed.
Step “Next”: Collaboration. The next step in our speed journey will be focused on giving your customers a place in Render to communicate directly with you the supplier. A portal for the customer will enable their direct input on initiatives you are considering or executing, thus providing continuous feedback on DVP.
Our reason for sharing this product journey story is because we do get the question, “Why are you guys building all of this?” We believe DVP is at the core of any company’s growth. And with DVP being the common denominator for growth, getting an entire organization to work with Speed and Structure is the trick to achieving that growth. We are enabling the organization with a system – DVP and Render.