Complex B2B sales in a digital era

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Value proposition: the extra mile

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In this latest ‘mind the gap’ post we will discuss the value proposition and how it will help your fintech sales efforts in the financial services sector. That is, if applied correctly...

*for readability: the word banker is used for anyone working in the financial services sector

 

Going the extra mile

A search for the term ‘value proposition’ online will generate a huge number of results.. They all will tell you that it is the promise you make to your clients and that it forms an important part of your marketing strategy. Another common characteristic of these definitions and explanations is that they refer to a general value proposition.

I want to explain how to turn a general value proposition into one that will accomplish what you want: selling more into the financial services sector. A value proposition that goes the extra mile.

The starting points for this overachieving value proposition are:

  • To promise is not enough - how your promise is perceived by the banker is what counts
  • Will the banker be able to repeat your promise to stakeholders in the bank?
  • Being prepared to not have one single value proposition but a multitude of them

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

We all know that the perception of beauty is subjective - what one person finds beautiful, another may not. We can easily apply this principle to our value proposition, our promise. What one banker might perceive as a trustworthy and relevant promise will not resonate with another..

In judging the promise you make, the ‘beholder’ will always ask “what’s in it for me?”. So what it comes down to when formulating your value proposition is providing the answer to the following question:

What problem do I solve…and for whom?

Answering this question on an industry level is challenging - at an individual level it becomes even more complicated. Problems are personal, pain is personal. Just as a CEO has different headaches than a project manager, a business banker will face different challenges than those faced by a compliance officer.

The only way to live up to your promise to each of these stakeholders and make them perceive your promise as trustworthy and relevant is to have multiple value propositions.

You’ll still have an overall value proposition for the financial services sector and even a different one for a retail bank than for an insurance company. But you’ll have to take it even further: you need one value proposition per member of the buying committee (which usually consists of individuals from at least six departments including IT, compliance, legal/risk, and purchasing). After all, within that insurance company the problems facing the P&C department are widely different than those faced by a call center manager.

This requires a large amount of domain knowledge combined with situational insight. You’ll have to think through the perspective of your client and your client thinks like a banker/insurer/asset manager. They use the lingo and are measured by the metrics of a banker/insurer/asset manager. They will be a hero, make promotion or earn their bonus according to the logic of a banker/insurer/asset manager.

In other words they think, talk and act like a…you guessed it, banker/insurer/asset manager. So you’ll need to do the same. Talk their talk, walk their walk and even so the extra mile by living up to your promise to each and every one of them.

 

Repeat after me

The quickest way to check how your value proposition is perceived by the banker is to check whether they are able to reproduce it.

WHO (from the bank) can do

WHAT in the bank

WHEN IN TIME via

WHICH CAPABILITIES

your company provides.

If they can’t reproduce this, you have failed to give them a proper value proposition because they cannot talk about it with their boss, peers, program manager, product owner, process manager, steering committee or buying committee.

Therefore your value proposition needs to be extremely clear and simple. Otherwise it will be forgotten, you will be forgotten and you are basically back to square one. Repeatability is key.

 

Working title value proposition the extra mileSo tell me what you want, ... what you really, really want

The final check to make sure you have a compelling value proposition is to ask whether, in the mind of our banker, you solve an urgent problem. Are you selling a ‘must have’ or a ‘nice to have’? This question is of extreme importance. You need to challenge yourself really hard here - many times we have walked into tech companies that think they solve a problem, but in reality they are not perceived as such.

Upon hearing your offer the banker will immediately think ‘what happens if I do nothing?’ Your offer, therefore, needs to consist of a clear, personalized and repeatable value proposition that solves their problem.

Bankers are busy, risk averse and know that changing something in the bank is hard work. They only go through this hassle if you have something compelling for them. Something of value to them! So be compelling or bugger off .

 

This post is #5 in the Mind the gap!-series.

To find out how to adapt your approach for bringing a lead to a deal read: #1 From lead to deal: change your mindset

The fastest growing B2B companies have their sales and marketing activities, and teams, closely aligned: #2 How Sales and Marketing live happily ever after

The importance of positioning and how it can help you stand out from your competitors. #3 Who do you think you are? 

Standing out from your competitors and the importance of positioning. #4 Finding the right position 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brian van Wachem

Co-founder and managing director of RedSnap Inc.. Brian has built a proven track record in commercial roles within the global tech and financial services industry. He worked as a board member for a FinTech 50 startup as well as an executive in (at that time) the biggest technology company in the world, both in Europe and Asia. Brian’s specialism is developing and implementing business development strategies within technology scale ups. He is passionate about sports and currently occupied with training for the triathlon.
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