ATD: “Using Creativity to Write a Better Value Proposition”





March 19, 2015

by Mark Donnolo, Managing Partner, SalesGlobeValue proposition is a critically important part of the sales process—it’s how you differentiate your offer to your customer and take focus away from conversations strictly around price negotiations. But how do you craft an innovative value proposition? A staffing firm recently worked through five generations of idea sources to find their unique value proposition. 

First Generation

How have people within our own company created and delivered our value proposition over the past 15 years?

Historically, the company had done it largely through high level corporate messages about relationship, sourcing of quality candidates, and understanding the business. But outside the executive suite most of the company didn’t really understand what a value proposition is, let alone how, when, and why to use it. To most sales reps, their value proposition was a one-dimensional idea they might insert into a customer sales call. 

Second Generation 

How have other companies in our industry, including our competitors, delivered their value propositions?

Throughout the industry, many of the value propositions were around speed and price. Though competitive, the value propositions of competitors left a lot to be desired, which meant that there might be an opportunity for the staffing company to do something unique. While the industry moved toward speed and price, the staffing company felt that its high standards ultimately ensured a better solution for the customer. When the company compared its value proposition to others in the industry, its leaders realized that communicating the value proposition was especially important because it was so different. 

Third Generation 

How do companies with similar business models deliver their value propositions?

The company looked at other services organizations including consulting, outsourcing, law firms, agents, and resellers. All of these organizations had parallels to staffing, such as representing and reselling the services of others. In the consulting and legal professions they found components that the staffing firm could leverage as part of its value proposition. Some examples include treating customers as clients, creating customer loyalty, and providing advisory services in addition to the core product.

Fourth Generation 

How do companies with dissimilar business models deliver their value propositions?

Here, they considered companies that rapidly provide products and services while keeping down costs—similar to pre-sourcing candidates. They also considered retail, such as grocery stores or clothing stores, where customers pick out the products they want, pay for them, and leave. This prompted the staffing company to think about an online database of their contractors, their availability, and their prices so clients could shop for a client.

The staffing firm also looked at parallels in the shipping industry, where companies in price wars create their value propositions around other services such as logistics, which wrap around their core services. 

Fifth Generation 

How do organizations outside of business deliver value?

Not surprisingly, fifth generation parallels extend way beyond the staffing company and its ability to deliver a great health care contractor. How do families deliver a value proposition? Respect? Monetary means? Guilt? How is loyalty created among all those crazy aunts and uncles?

Admittedly some of these ideas began to get far out there, but that’s the point. Half-joking suggestions of guilt and family sparked ideas about treating the contract employees like family—organizing company-wide annual family picnics, for example, and collecting testimonials from contract employees who felt the same affinity for their employer that a full-time employee might feel. These ideas all became part of the value proposition about how well the company treats its contractors, enabling it to hire only the best.

Your Call to Action

Consider the question: How can five generations of idea sources inspire a better value proposition for your company? Share some ideas in the Comments below.