The foundational value of a SaaS value proposition

What defines a great value proposition, the downfalls of failing, and how to evaluate it

When you run a SaaS business, you know its ins and outs; you also know how the products and services you offer can benefit the lives of your customers. However, just because you and your team are intimately in tune with these benefits doesn’t mean your prospects or even customers will understand them. Failing here makes each marketing campaign highly costly, lengthens sales cycles, and negatively impacts your win rates. The pandemic has just made things worse in that respect.

Luckily, there are a few tools you can use to help convince people to buy what you offer – and one of the most useful is known as a value proposition.

If you own, run, or work in a business software company, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of a value proposition and agree that your company should have one. But do you truly have an understanding of what a value proposition is?

What value proposition means?

Let’s first look at the definition:

(in marketing) an innovation, service, or feature intended to make a company or product attractive to customers.”

Short and sweet – and what intrigues me is the word ‘attractive.’ How do you do that? What’s required to make a value proposition that makes what you offer attractive to a customer?

What’s the role of your SaaS Value Proposition?

As mentioned above, a value proposition focuses on laying out the value of buying from your company. It addresses your customers’ needs and makes clear why they should choose your software solutions or services and not those of another company. When your potential customers read your company’s value proposition, they should understand instantly why it’s worthwhile to spend their money on what you’re selling:

  • how you help them achieve their ambitions, competitive advantage and create a remarkable impact
  • how you’ll help them overcome the problems that are most valuable and critical to solve,
  • how you’ll add to their lives
  • how they will experience something that no other business software company or product can give them.

On your company’s homepage, your value proposition should be the first thing that your visitors, i.e. your ideal target customer see. Your value proposition can also feature as the central message (or messages) of your marketing material since it lays out why people should be attracted to your SaaS product or service. You can also use your value proposition in sales pitches and correspondence with potential clients. A value proposition is a good jumping-off point to explain the reasons why clients should consider creating a long-term professional connection with your organization.

Creating a Value PropositionUltimately, every single SaaS business should have a value proposition. Regardless of whether there are any SaaS companies that do what you do, your value proposition isn’t actually about your company. Your value proposition addresses your customers’ needs and wants, and it is an important psychological device not only for getting leads to pick you over competitors/ alternative offerings but also for inspiring and convincing them to actually spend their money, i.e., create desire.

The core ingredients of a compelling value proposition statement

I hope I’ve convinced you that you need to craft a unique value proposition. That’s a good first step. But how do you go about doing it? First, familiarize yourself with all the key components of value propositions so you can customize your company’s version.

  • It has a powerful headline. Grab people’s attention right away. A powerful headline can capture someone’s interest and get them to look further into what you’re offering.
  • It is written in the language of the customer. Your customer should be able to read and understand your value proposition immediately, without too much thought. This means it should be written in their language. It should describe your value and benefits of your product the way your customer would describe them, not the way you would (so no technical or industry jargon).
  • It is short. This one’s straightforward. Don’t write an essay that explains the benefits of what you’re selling. Create clarity by summarizing it into a sentence or two, or even slogans or a tagline, so people can take it all in with just one bite.
  • It explains the difference you make (for them). Don’t just explain your benefits and features in your value proposition. Instead, give a clear insight into how it helps them make a remarkable difference. This can be the tipping point that persuades a customer to buy.
  • Hit the right nerve – i.e. address the emotions of your ideal customer. That is, their hopes, aspirations, frustrations or anxieties.

The downfalls of failing value propositions in B2B SaaS

Let’s face it: just because you’ve written a value proposition doesn’t mean that your value prop will work. There are many ways companies craft value propositions that fail, and some of the following elements can cause a value proposition to backfire.

  • It tries to be impressive. Don’t try to be impressive with your value proposition. Limit jargon and big words. You don’t need to show off and make potential customers think you’re an expert. You need to get across–concretely–why they should consider giving you their money.
  • It reads very generic. You should be straightforward and concrete in your value proposition–but don’t be generic. This means you should not look at a value proposition of your competitors or similar offerings and then try to copy it. Your value proposition should use unique (yet simple) language and get at why YOU are worth buying from, not someone who does something similar to you.
  • It uses superlatives. When you write a value proposition, you’re not being salesy. You’re simply selling by explaining why you’re remarkable and unique. Don’t use superlatives to try to convince people. They come across disingenuous and make you seem like you have to try for customers–rather than simply be worth purchasing from because you exist.

 

In Summary – What defines a great value proposition?

We started with the question: What defines a great value proposition?

In summary – here are the key aspects to focus on

Your value proposition should provide

  1. a crystal clear summary of the most valuable problem you solve for your buyer,
  2. how it will help them make a difference in ways your competitors/alternative offerings can’t, and
  3. what benefits this drives for your buyers as a consequence.

When your potential customers read your company’s value proposition, they should understand instantly why it’s worthwhile to spend their money on what you’re selling:

  • how you help them achieve their ambitions, competitive advantage and create a remarkable impact
  • how you’ll help them overcome the problems that are most valuable and critical to solve,
  • how you’ll add to their lives
  • how they will experience something that no other business software company or product can give them.

The key components of value propositions so you can customize your company’s version.

  • It has a powerful headline.
  • It is written in the language of the customer.
  • It is short.
  • It explains the difference you make (for them).
  • Hit the right nerve

 

Additional resources to help you build the strongest foundation for remarkable SaaS traction

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About the author

Sales Pitch

Ton Dobbe is a former B2B software product marketer who's on a mission to save mission-driven SaaS CEOs from the stress of 'not enough' traction. He's the author of The Remarkable Effect, the host of the Tech-Entrepreneur on a Mission podcast, and writes a daily newsletter on the secrets to mastering predictable traction.