Every sales organisation has a value proposition. The good ones know it, live it, and leverage it in everything they do day in and day out. Others maybe talk about it in sales training and intuitively know why it should be chosen over the competition, but they don’t deploy it in a strategic fashion.
Gannett engaged in a project to identify its B2B value proposition in 2013. It worked with an advertising agency that had specialised experience in the B2B space to dive into the local market value proposition.
Of course, it takes more than just staking claim to a value proposition. What resonates? What is believable? What can a company deliver?
Gannett invested in quantitative and qualitative research to answer these questions. Interestingly enough, the findings showed that local businesses were looking for media partners to:
- Provide thought leadership to help them think differently about their business and marketing.
- Bring innovative solutions to the table to help solve business challenges.
- Assist with marketing by developing integrated marketing strategies to grow their businesses.
Through this research, Gannett’s value proposition was developed with three key components:
- Engaged audiences.
- Sophisticated toolbox.
- Integrated solutions.
Once the initial value proposition work was completed with a well-crafted message, the hard work really began: Achieving scale across 3,000 people in the sales organisation.
Roll out took place through in-person sales training. A special value proposition toolbox was created to help markets with local implementation. It included a go-to-market video and capabilities presentation, sales manager coaching reinforcement guide, staff job aids like a desk guide and posters, and an objections library.
To help with reinforcement, each market identified a value proposition champion from sales and marketing. These folks are responsible for keeping the value proposition top-of-mind in sales and marketing activity.
A critical element in all of this is the ability to tell the story. And that, too, has been a journey.
Gannett has gotten incrementally better at articulating “why us?” But to use that value proposition as a serious big gun in the marketplace, it has to be a story told with anecdotes, proof points, and passion by each and every rep.
Since the launch of the value proposition, assets to the sales staff, sales leaders, and marketing are charged with getting reps very proficient at their version of the story. Role play, workshops, sales meetings, and practice in the field with managers all need to take place every day to reinforcement the value proposition.
Implementation and reinforcement of a company’s value proposition is a journey. There is a start to develop the strategy, but execution continues with every interaction with a customer.