Need feature benefit is the time tested sales and marketing technique that starts with a specific need, links a feature your product or service has to that need, and then proposes an expected benefit to be had.  This worked great 10 years ago in what I call the age of ROI.  Entire selling systems were built to convince the buyer that the features and benefits of solutions were enough above the cost to justify a business investments based on a Internal rate of return or hurdle rate.

However, three things have changed which mean that feature and benefit just aren’t enough any more:

  1. Buyers became increasingly jaded from vendors claims of ROI, as big investments failed time and again to pay off
  2. Buyers became overwhelmed with positive ROI investment/solution choices
  3. Business buyers bypassed traditional gatekeepers such as IT and purchasing

What to do about it?

I suggest we need to replace ROI with ROS, or “Return on Strategy”.  To success, we must position our solution as strategic.  We do that by talking about Innovation and Strategic Value instead of Feature and benefit.  This may sound like splitting hairs, but when we talk about Innovation and Strategic Value we…

  1. Set a high bar for ourselves and our customers and our competitors by engaging in a business level and strategic discussion, versus a tactical one
  2. Set ourselves above the ROI based competition
  3. Appeal to business buyers who want to drive and implement change, and will invest to do so…

So, the question is how to do this.  One way is by articulating and committing to a commercial Viewpoint that marries the buyers reality with your value.  For more on that, see this series of blogs…

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