Value Propositions and elevator pitches live in the rarefied air of marketing speak.  They are almost seen as mystical accomplishments reachable by only the anointed among us.  “But what’s the elevator pitch” we hear time and time again….Give me the 30 second attention grabber, etc, etc.

While I agree that Value matters, and actually matters a lot,  I think as sales and marketing professionals, we’ve worshiped at this alter for so long, we’ve lost sight of the end goal.  We’ve become Value snobs.  Here’s are my top 5 reason’s why we overvalue Value:

1) We are Product Narcissists…Who doesn’t love their baby.  Even when we clearly articulate customer benefit, we RARELY ask whether the benefit is truly valuable.  We are often NOT in synch with out customers priorities, fears and aspirations.  This might be the #1 thing that drives great sales people to say “The marketing guys are out of touch”.

2) Content is a Commodity… What we write, our competitors can copy and paste with amazing speed, especially if it is good content.   There are really only 2 benefits to products anyways, cost savings and revenue increase, and there are only so many ways to say these things.  Good content is not cheap or easy… for the first guy, but is for the second!  When we focus on the words that describe our Value, we lose to the second guy every time.

3) If Content is Dead, Context is the new King  …  Value without context is like a tree falling in the forest with no one around to hear it.  We spend so much time on Value we forget about Viewpoint.  True impact happens when we paint our value in the Context of a Viewpoint that is aligned with our customers.  We get out of our product narcissism (see point 1), and set the terrain to communicate in a meaningful way.

4)   It all goes back to IBM…Need Feature Advantage Reaction, Wilson Sales Strategy, Powerselling…  Most of what we do has its roots in a world of 1970-1990.  A world of technocrats who lived in glass houses could be sold to like that.  But today’s buyer is self directed and really SMART, and has access to more information than ever.   Buyers have shifted from evaluation to experience as the way they form opinions and make decisions.   Many of us have not kept up…

5) Hard to experience = hard to use.   High velocity sales requires high velocity value delivery.  Set the context and then “show me the money”.  If it’s so darn hard to DEMONSTRATE your value, then your product or service must be damn hard to buy, deploy and get value out of.   The days of DESCRIBING value are over.  Better to show me 60% of the value in a compelling experience, than describe it 100% in a long piece of text or video.

The real power of influence in sales and marketing has shifted from Content to Context, from Value to Viewpoint and from Evaluation to Experience.   Don’t lose sight of Value, but let’s put it in its more appropriate role in our sales and marketing mix….

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