Partner Value Propositions: Isn’t what you deliver more than the sum of its parts?

Technology is exciting, dynamic – and multi-faceted. Tech and telco solutions and services typically incorporate many innovations, devices, features, services and other components. Sometimes the elements included come from one business, but more often they come from multiple suppliers and services providers. 

Which means that most tech ‘solutions’ are comprised from a lot of parts and partners. 

It bears taking a moment to ask “why”? Well because business customers have broadly two choices when it comes to their technology needs. They can take the time and expense to design, integrate and deploy something themselves – but only if they have the full range of skills required, and few do. Or they can purchase ‘a solution’ and get someone else with the skills required to do the tweaking, adapting and integrating. Which is the route most take.  

So if customers are looking for ‘a solution’ and they’re buying ‘a solution’, then shouldn’t tech players be marketing ‘a solution’? Yet all too often when creating a joint value proposition, for a joint solution, each partner and provider focuses on the value of their ‘part’. Result? The (full) value of what is being taken to market gets lost. 

Let’s use the example of buying a car. You could go and buy some tyres, an engine, brake pads, exhaust system etc and build your own car (and incredibly skilled people do just this!). But for most of us when we want or need a car, we go and buy one ‘ready-made’. When we do, we probably have some things in mind that are important to us – safety ratings, environmental impact, size, and of course cost. Yet who has ever been to buy a car and been sold on the virtues of the shock absorbers? Or the spark plugs? Or that this particular retail location for a well-known car manufacturer has 16 engineers in the service department? Occasionally a particular element may be stand out – the battery and battery life on an electric car for example. But only because this is of specific interest to anyone buying an electric model, and as for the rest… well – any particular paint colour preference sir or madam? 

What we are looking for when buying a car is the value of the whole, not the sum of its parts. What we actually buy is the ability to take our kids to school or dance club and feel safe doing so, to commute in comfort, to be able to get about with ease. We don’t buy a bucket of bolts and a screwdriver. Which is why car propositions focus on the former, not the latter. They don’t tell us how the engine comes from one group, the brakes from another and the car seats are provided by a third party because, frankly, who cares? 

B2B buyers, when assessing IT providers and solutions in the early stages of consideration, are just the same. Sure, when they get to assessing their preferred choices in more detail they will have questions on specific elements, components or technologies. But you only get that far if you’ve been selected because of the overall value your solution delivers – and what you’re enabling them to do – in the first place. 

So when creating a joint solution, consider these five points: 

  • What is it about the total solution that delivers value? 
  • What value or benefits does a customer get vs choosing multiple technologies or suppliers? 
  • If mentioning a specific technology or feature or service consider; why would the customer care specifically about this element? Does it alone address a concern or need the customer has? 
  • How much modification might a customer really want?  
  • What about any wrap around or service benefits? Are flexible payment options or maintenance contracts part of the value delivered? These can be just as important as the technology itself! 

Joint value propositions can be incredibly powerful by bringing out the best from all partners involved, and by putting value at the heart of your proposition, you can truly show customers how you are all more than just the sum of your partnerships alone.

Get in touch to find out how we can help you develop great value propositions. Call 0113 292 0945 or email [email protected]

Written by: Dawn Morris, Value Proposition & Content Director, Coterie



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