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Home arrow Marketing arrow Value-ology: Aligning sales and marketing to shape and deliver profitable customer value propositions

Creating Your Value-ology Blueprint

Unearthing Customer Value

In this chapter we will look at:

  • • Why a theme-based approach to value propositions is beneficial
  • • How to get to the key themes and issues affecting your customers
  • • Understanding what drives change (Industry themes versus individual customer issues)
  • • The mixed method approach to gathering customer intelligence
  • • Tips to get the most out of customer interviews
  • • Final thoughts

Identifying what your customers need and want from your company is not always as easy as it sounds. Common sense would tell you just to ask your customers, but they may be unaware that they have a problem or that possibilities exist to solve their problem. The secret lies in your ability to ask the right questions, read and analyse data, and ultimately connect the dots for your customer. As we saw in Chap. 3, excellent sales teams have the essential capabilities that are needed to discover the issues and problems that really matter to the customer and give an experienced interpretation of what is going on at account level. It is essential, therefore, that the sales team is included very early on in value proposition development meetings and conversations to make sure the real depth of customer value understanding is captured.

In this chapter we will discuss why a theme-based approach will improve the success of your marketing and sales efforts, and how to develop themes that will resonate with your target audience. As this should be an ongoing

© The Author(s) 2017 S. Kelly et al., Value-ology,

DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-45626-3_4

effort, we will also share some ideas on how to stay on top of the issues affecting your customers.

If we go back to the value proposition stack we introduced in Chap. 2 (Fig. 2.1) we see that at the top of the stack the aim is to develop customer value propositions (CVPs) tailored to individuals. To hit all the right notes and resonate with your customer, a value proposition should be MUSICAL:

Monetary calculation—of financial benefits minus costs

Unique—things that set you apart from competitors

Spend (costs)—how much the customer is prepared to pay

Impact—how it will positively impact the customer organisation

Capability—what it is that you can do for the customer to make this impact

ALigned—to the key needs of the customer

These types of value propositions are really the climax of the ‘whole system’ approach to value we are putting forward. Like Webster (2002) we believe that value propositions should be the ‘single most important organizing principle’ for companies. This approach is based on a deep level of customer understanding. So, lots of work is required at the lower levels of the value stack to put you in a position to develop MUSICAL value propositions.

We can see that most of the elements of the term MUSICAL are about the customer, as we would expect them to be. The Unique and Capability elements are related to your own organisation. This necessarily means that you need good understanding of the customer and their industry combined with a good understanding of your own company to develop compelling value propositions.

The flow of this chapter will follow the value proposition stack from bottom to top to give you a view of the research required at each level. This will begin with developing an understanding of the key customer business issues leading to the development of proposition themes. Before we do this, let’s remind ourselves why developing overarching proposition themes is important.

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