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How Sales Teams Can Create Focused Value For Prospects With The Value Proposition Canvas

Kavi Guppta

Focused sales conversations can convert a potential lead into an enthusiastic customer. In this post, I’ll show you how our Value Proposition Canvas can help sales teams systematically create Customer Profiles that zero in on the jobs, pains, and gains of prospective customers; and in turn, sketch out a Value Map to highlight how  products or services create customer value. More importantly, these activities will instill a shared language between you and your prospect.

By listening to what your customers need (and not what you think they need), you’re one step closer to selling your offering and creating value that your prospects can get excited about. Ultimately, using the Value Proposition Canvas will allow the entire sales team to communicate to customers with a shared language on the value they hope to create.

Here’s how the Value Proposition Canvas can help you achieve that.

1. Plot your prospect’s customer profile before, during, or after a meeting.

On the right hand side of the canvas is the Customer Profile (the circle) to list what you’ve observed about your prospect. You can build a customer profile before, during, or after conversations with your leads. You can also collaboratively have your lead plot their profile out with you. What are the specific jobs they need to perform? What pains are they feeling in their role that might prevent their team or organization from succeeding? And what gains will fulfill the needs of your sale leads?

Understand the functional, emotional, and social jobs to be done in your customer profile.  

Functional jobs are the most visibly apparent activities your lead needs to get done. That could be getting the project done within timelines; achieving the sought after metrics for an initiative to be successful. But it might not be enough for your lead to just get the functional job done.

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The emotional and social jobs are felt more deeply by customers, and the gains from these pain points are ferociously sought after. Pay attention to what your customers really need and what motivates them. He or she might have emotional and social jobs like impressing a boss or co-worker; having ownership of an initiative; or flexing managerial skills.

Visualize and analyze customer profiles one-at-a-time.

You can get incredibly specific by building a customer profile of individual prospects. For example, the customer profile of a CxO may paint a very different picture of jobs, pains, and gains from a product manager or team lead. This focus on individual customer profiles will help you design a custom value proposition for each segment, and address specific customer priorities when you design your Value Map. On a broader scale, you can cluster overlapping jobs, pains, and gains felt by each of your leads to understand what similarities exist between individual segments.

2. Sketch out a Value Map that highlights how you’re creating value for your customer.

The Value Map (the square) will highlight how your offering can directly create value for your leads. Use the square to plot out the products and services in your organization that can best address your prospect’s jobs, pains, and gains. How will your offering relieve the pains your lead is feeling? How will your offering result in gain creators? It’s important that you sketch out a Value Map that can perform very well on extremely important customer priorities, rather than trying to solve all of your leads’ problems from the customer profile.

Don’t just limit yourself to the Value Proposition Canvas.

In the B2B space, it can be extremely helpful to use the Business Model Canvas to better understand your prospects’ business model. You’re ultimately helping them to create additional value through your offering. Companies like SAP, Ericsson, and Oracle use the Business Model Canvas to plot out and communicate a client’s business models through a shared language.

I pointed out earlier in the post that these activities can help create a shared language between you and your prospects. That shared language can also help you to clearly communicate to internal teams (product management, marketing, etc) about what’s been agreed to and what has to be executed for the client.

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