It can be difficult to consider the idea that having a solution to a problem can in fact cause you more problems. But when looking to market your commercial solution or value proposition, it would be almost business suicide to not look for problems.
The answer is simple: both yours and your potential customers!
Like a real chicken and egg dilemma: the fact that we even have a value proposition to take to market is wholly dependent on the concept that someone somewhere has a problem... regardless of whether they know it yet or not. But really understanding your potential clients and the challenges they face - that can often be the problem we have with our solutions: for their problems become our problems and organisations can sometimes miss this in the pursuit of sales.
In problem solving it often makes more sense to work backwards; fleshing out what you do know and confirming the uncertainties. Not until you do this will you be left with a much clearer picture of your own problem – ‘defining your commercial solution.’
What do we know?
Know your Target Market
The most important part of marketing your value proposition is knowing your customer: looking at the world and identifying a group in need; a segment of the market with questions and challenges.
Then, you get to know them. Learn all sorts of things about them: the kind of jobs they have; the life styles they lead; their buying processes; their level of autonomy, etc. Keep on identifying the things that they have in common and the things that set them apart.
But most importantly you know the one thing that binds them all together – their problem.
Now, Understand Their Challenges.
Understanding the challenges your potential customers face on a daily basis is vital in defining your solution - for if you can’t adequately put a voice and context to their struggles how can you be sure that your solution is the answer they need and want? And how can they trust that you have the solution?
Alternatively, your potential client might not even realise that they have a problem; stuck with time consuming or complex daily tasks or processes. Or they might realise that tasks are long and arduous but have resigned themselves to the grind. These are the prospects that need you to show them a well defined solution to the questions they didn’t even know it was possible to ask.
Know your Solution
You’ve spent hours upon hours living, breathing and perhaps even dreaming of your product or service. You know it inside out; its strengths; how it performs; how to get the best out of it, and even though you might be loath to admit it, you could probably think up a few weaknesses. You’ve put the time in and you know your product or service inside out.
A potential customer doesn’t have that insight. So when you’re answering ‘So what does it do?’ or ‘How does it work?’ understand that they haven’t been present for the journey. Consider the highlights that will grab their attention and the lingo they are used to conversing in. Give them what they want to hear in a language they will understand.
The market place can be a minefield of overstimulation so it is extremely important to present your product or service in a concise, easy-to-understand format and with all your USPs shining bright to attract potential clients.
An effective way to help them break through the additional noise is to consider the platforms by which you distribute your defined solution – it makes little sense knowing that your future customers spend their commute to work in the mornings catching up on emails but not optimising your carefully crafted email for mobile consumption. Or to expend valuable resources creating a social media campaign for Facebook when your potential customers spend the majority of their time on Twitter.
Defining our commercial solutions has become an eye opening experience here at INCo – adapting to the changes in the lead generation market, as well as in the IT and Consulting markets has ensured that we really lay out our services in a concise easy to understand format; really highlighting why we are the best choice. Because, regardless of their size, budgets or needs – we can get our clients in front of their buying market!
Defining your commercial solution can be a tricky problem but in the end it boils down to just three things: Knowing your Target Market . Knowing their Challenges. And Knowing your Own Solution.
These might seem like three problems in and of themselves rather than three parts of the one solution but by starting with what you do know it doesn’t have to be such a daunting task, because when you really think about it; it’s not a ‘chicken or the egg problem’ but rather a three legged stool - each leg as equally important as the other two.
You may also like: 5 Easy Ways to Profile Your Target Market in 2016