Value Drivers That Are Relevant, Meaningful and Actionable

This image illustrates the Value Driver Format that is used in the development of a GTM Foundational Building Blocks Planning Template

An effective go-to-market strategy requires Value Drivers that are meaningful, relevant and actionable.  Value Drivers are the bridge between the customer’s business problem and the vendor’s solution.  Value Drivers comprise the unique selling propositions built specifically for each influential persona in the customer’s buying process.  Value Drivers are tied to a customer’s organizational and to functional objectives, with tangible, quantifiable outcomes that drive value for a customer.

It’s important to construct Value Drivers for each of the key identified personas. A two-by-two matrix (perceptual mapping) is typically used.   In many cases, the Value Drivers will include a strategic and tactical (or operational) element as one dimension of the framework.  In general, Decision Makers and Approvers tend to fall into the strategic dimension of the framework, while Recommenders and Influencers comprise the tactical or operational dimension.  The other dimensions of the framework may include the functional areas of the business that also influence the purchase decision.  For example, Line-of-Business (LOB) and Information Technology (IT) may be the two functional areas included.  While both of these groups coalesce around the larger company objective, each has different goals, objectives and strategies.  When constructing compelling Value Drivers, it’s critical to understand how each functional group is dependent upon the other for not only their own success, but for the overall success of the organization as well, and then play into it.

Value Drivers – Value Driver Framework Example

Go-to-Market-Strategy-Template-Foundational-Building-Blocks-Value-Driver-ExampleEach of the four boxes or quadrants of the Value Driver  Framework should be built out to contain:

  • The relevant company business objective or strategy at a high level in a few words —  i.e. increase revenue, profitability, productivity customer satisfaction, or lower expenses and total cost of ownership.
  • The pervasive issue in the industry currently being touted by thought leaders, analysts and influencers. This issue will tie into the functional business objective or strategy, is “HOT” and resonates with that target audience.  Ideally this should be communicated in three to five words as an attention grabber—but it also needs to be defendable.
  • Three to five bullet points that communicate tangible value, based on customer success stories, customer anecdotes, surveys, benchmarks or analyst estimates.

The next step is to develop for each Value Driver from a strategic and tactical perspective as this will become the messaging backbone for sales and marketing to use with customers.

Specifically, each Value Driver needs to :

  • Be crafted in a way the makes it easy for a customer to internalize the insights provided and catalyze action.
  • Document the right probing questions for sales to use to gain insights that will lead a customer to your strengths.
  • Prepare a Value Driver worksheet that will facilitate the quantification of economic impact.
  • Craft the specific language that will resonate and motivate each persona.

Understanding the use case and the corresponding workflows is vital for a vendor. It’s also critical to have insights from the market, analysts, competitors and thought leaders that validate the customer assertions so that customers view the vendor favorably. This can then be leveraged to lead the customer to a pre-determined point of view.

The Value Drivers wills serve as a high level summary of the relevant messaging for each audience.  In addition to the Value Drivers, it is a best practice to document the current and desired state and the financial impact on the business. Also, it’s important to credibly demonstrate success, and to have a list of probing questions to determine whether the unique differentiation offered is compelling to a customer.  By completing such a document, the sales and marketing teams will have a blueprint from which to hunt as well as an outline on how to clearly, consistently and effectively communicate.

Value Drivers – Strategic Value Message Example

The key sections for such a document are highlighted below:

Current Scenario – describes the customer situation as it stands today, relative to the use case.  This is not necessarily a list of everything that is bad or wrong, but better viewed as an assessment of the current situation, especially insights into the workflow and the roles impacted.

This image illustrates the Strategic Value Message that is used in the development of a GTM Foundational Building Blocks Planning TemplateNegative Business Impact – as a result of the current situation, one must understand the impact on expenses, revenue, profitability, productivity and customer satisfaction.

Future State – describes the operating environment which the customer believes is valuable to them and their business.

Positive Business Outcomes – understand the tangible, quantifiable outcomes on expense, revenue, profitability, profitability, productivity or customer satisfaction that the customer will experience as a direct result of moving to this future or desired state.

Validation – the proof or credibility one’s organization can provide for what the customer can expect to realize, in terms of value.  These validation points could be from a customer success story, customer anecdotes, benchmarks, surveys or analyst estimates.

Probing Questions – these are questions that ask a customer to explain the negative impact on the business today, or the positive business outcomes most valued, and if a validation will resonate.

It’s imperative to understand each specific audience (customer’s buying team) in order to have a meaningful, relevant conversation that will build credibility and allow for an insightful led customer conversation.  The Value Driver Framework helps identify the functions and roles that are key to a customer’s purchase decision.  The next step is to drill down into each of these quadrants and develop a persona for each.  Identifying a role/title for each of the four quadrants of the Value Driver Framework allows for a standard set of assumptions that the organization can use to understand and market to each target group.  At the end of the day, the Value Driver serve as unique selling propositions for each persona and must be aligned with both company and functional objectives–based on quantitative analysis.  It is for these reasons that the organization’s message will cut through the messaging clutter in the market place and surface to the top of a customer’s priorities. Done right, it will be apparent to the buyer that there are no other, or few other, initiatives that he or she could focus on to deliver the same or a greater amount of economic value to their company.

Value Drivers – Internal Cheat Sheet Example

It’s important to go beyond the Value Driver framework to construct a one-pager, for internal usage by sales and marketing, as it will provide the focus and guidance sales and marketing require to synchronize their strategy and execution.  The purpose of this exercise is to ensure that there is clarity for sales and marketing around the target market (use case), the demographic descriptors of the companies that are in the sweet-spot for the use case), the titles that will be involved in the purchase decision are known, the unique differentiation crisp and resonates, and the Value Drivers are  meaningful, relevant and action-oriented It’s imperative to spend the time necessary to build out the Value Drivers and validate the messaging with prospects, customers, analysts, influencers and others involved in the purchase process.  And, because we live in a global and dynamic marketplace, documenting the Value Drivers is not a one time, static process — they will need to be updated as the market demands, in order to remain impactful.

Go-to-Market-Strategy-Template-Foundational-Building-Blocks-Internal-Cheat-SheetThe days of running a messaging and positioning workshop to create the unique selling proposition for the company are not over, but it has become a table stake.  Companies must go the next mile and bring that messaging down to the teams making purchase decisions. The process should not be left to the sales team to figure it out on a case-by-case scenario.  The organization needs to work collaboratively to understand the value it provides — down to the functions and roles and titles of the individuals involved in the purchase decision.  It’s at this level of detail that Value Drivers must align to the company and functional objectives of the business.  More importantly, insight into how the solution can solve a customer’s business problem in a brand new way and with significant economic value, is what will increase the velocity of the sales cycle—assuming the market, use case and unique differentiation have been well thought out.

Don’t reinvent the wheel, leverage the Go-to-Market Strategy Template – Foundational Building Blocks to work from a proven framework.

2 Responses to “Value Drivers That Are Relevant, Meaningful and Actionable”

  1. Its a good article explaining the importance of value driver in a marketing strategy and also the internal cheat sheet example is also very informative.


  1. What are the Most Effective Enterprise Sales Tools - Go-to-Market Strategy Templates - Four Quadrant - April 16, 2015

    […] included in the buying process includes strategic as well as operational personas. The messages or value drivers created for each audience or persona must be specific, meaningful, relevant, defensib…and delivered at the right time and in the right format—collateral, face-to-face or digital-web, […]

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