Value Propositions are carefully written messages that describe the benefits and values that a company – or its products and services – promises to deliver to customers.

Stating the features and advantages of a product is all well and good, but the thing that will really set you apart from your competition is the benefit that you can bring to potential buyers.

To help you write effective value propositions, here are our top tips:

1. Understand your team:

Your colleagues are central to the development of effective value propositions so it’s essential to understand who you need to involve at every step of the process. Establish who you can go to for input and information – who in your organization is particularly knowledgeable in the sector you’re looking to target? When you’ve drafted your value propositions, who needs to approve them? And finally (and perhaps most importantly), who do you need to engage when the propositions are complete and how will you brief them to gain maximum impact?

2. Create a stakeholder map:

When you’ve established who needs to be involved in the development of your value propositions, it’s a good idea to create a stakeholder map. Write down who should be involved, what their needs/expectations are and detail what how they will need to be involved along the way.

It’s also a good idea to build a timing plan so that everyone involved is aware of the timescales you are working to as a team. It also helps you to gain their commitment upfront and ensure they attend scheduled calls and meetings.

Don’t forget to include senior stakeholders (who will ultimately sign of the Value Propositions), key influencers (such as heads of business units, sales managers and products managers – who will have a want input), and also your immediate peer group (who may have key insights to share) in your plans.

3. Hold an internal workshop / kick off meeting:

When you’ve established your group of stakeholders, set up a kick off meeting to gain their buy-in and agree upfront the areas in which you need information, such as product information, sales insight, customer feedback and competitor intelligence. Document everything that is discussed in the meeting then circulate it after the meeting and get agreement from all attendees that the information is correct.

Continue to the group along the way to review and test messaging – DON’T leave it until the last minute to get their feedback!

4. Do your research:

Supplement the information you’ve gathered from your colleagues with some solid desk research. Look at what the industry analysts are saying to understand key trends, market drivers and so on. Whitepapers are also a good source of information and can be widely found via the internet.

Also look at what your competitors are saying and how they position themselves in the marketplace. What benefits do their propositions focus on?

5. Speak to your customers:

Too many value propositions fail because the company using them hasn’t grasped a basic understanding of their customer. Make sure that you take time to speak to your customers to fully understand their needs and requirements and to understand the nature of the business world that they operate in. This can be done in many different ways such as through surveys, workshops or by simple 1-1 account calls.

If you have some particularly loyal and supportive customers, why not test some of your early messaging ideas with them – this will certainly help you to build a more solid proposition and increase your chances of it resonating in the marketplace once you launched it.