What the world needs is a dead mouse

What is the greatest pain your prospect or customer suffers? Is your product or service clearly dealing with this pain and is that clear in your marketing?

What the world needs is a dead mouse, not a better mousetrap.

A great value proposition  focuses on your customer’s pain. A real pain, not a nuisance. So, if your marketing is focused on explaining how your mouse trap works you are wasting your time and money. The world just wants a dead mouse. Show them the dead mouse.

I recently sat down with Paul Philp of Amity and asked him 4 questions related to creating and communicating one’s value proposition.
1) What is the biggest thing businesses miss when they determine what their value proposition is?
When developing their value proposition, most businesses confuse product value with business value. They tend to ask: What is the value of our product? But – your product is only valuable to you. A better question to ask is: What is the economic impact on my customer’s business of using my solution? The customer only receives value by using the solution over time.

The second biggest thing that businesses miss is the strategic value of using your solution. For example, let’s say your product helps middle managers be more productive. It’s a mistake to only focus on the value of the productivity gain. What really matters is how the improved productivity impacts the key metrics: revenue, gross margins, customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, or customer experience.

2) You say focus on the pain, not the nuisance, what do you mean exactly?

‘Focus on the pain’ means removing obstacles to improving those key metrics. That is what is really going to move the needle for the business. If your value is just about making someone’s job easier, it’s not likely going to get budget approval. Solving nuisances is the cause of most long sales cycles. Everybody is interested, of course, since you make doing the job easier – and this leads to lots and lots of meetings with no decision getting made.

3) We know that buyers place a much greater value on products and services that increase sales vs increasing productivity and efficiencies. But what if that is your service, increasing productivity, how do you market that? 

The only way to sell productivity is to focus on how improving productivity increases the value created by the user. One way to think about this is to ask: If you could have X% more time to do your job each week, how much more value would you create for the company?

Be wary of solving a productivity problem for a low value role. That is very hard to sell. [except at scale]

4) Why is it important to map out the customer journey?

It’s very easy to focus on your internal metrics and lose sight of the customer. Customers don’t care about our internal processes and metrics and they resent being shoved through a ‘funnel’. Selling is always about creating value for a customer where they are in their journey. For example, if they are at the evaluation of alternatives stage, then make it easy for them to evaluate your product versus the alternatives they may consider. This means more than simply bragging about your product. You want to make the customer’s decision as easy as possible.

It’s a mistake to think that you are simply selling them a product. The more powerful position is to view it as coaching them to make the best decision for themselves. The more you are creating value for customers at every step in the process, the more they will trust you. People like to buy from companies that they trust.

The sales and marketing process should be viewed as a service to your prospects. They are key elements of your offering to the market. Your ‘funnel metrics’ tell you how well you are executing on the process and what needs improvement. We get into trouble when we think the metrics are the point. Providing service to the customers on their journey is always the point.


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About Paul Philp


Paul  is a successful technology entrepreneur with over 25 years experience turning great ideas into great businesses. Paul has played a leadership role in many technology revolutions: Office Automation (Emerald City), 3D Computer Graphics (Alias), Information Visualization (Visible Decisions), Distributed Computing (Platform), Data Centre Automation (Platespin), and Social Media Analysis(dna13, Marketwire). Paul’s passion is building great products, new markets and successful businesses.

Paul is building his next great startup, Amity, which is focused on building the first platform that is purpose-built for the Customer Success team in SaaS companies. Amity’s revolutionary Agile Customer Engagement ™ platform helps SaaS companies keep and grow their customers by delivering scalable personal service to each individual customer.