Today’s competitive landscape consists of millions of technology partners worldwide. The most successful are those that specialize in one “thing” with consistency and excellence. Specialization facilitates deepened expertise and a unique understanding of your customer by training your focus on a specific set of circumstances and pain points. Your value proposition is how you communicate this unique expertise to your audience.
As one of our many investments aimed at enabling partners to manage and master digital transformation, this guide was developed to help you craft value propositions for three key audiences: the customer, the Microsoft seller, and the partner seller. Your ability to articulate the unique value of your solution or service to each of these three audiences is a core element of your channel transformation strategy and enables you to get the most out of your partner ecosystem relationships.
This post will help you define your to-customer value proposition, which serves as the foundation for the to-Microsoft seller and to-partner seller value props we’ll work on in the next post.
To ensure a strong start, let’s revisit some basics.
What is a value proposition?
A value proposition is a simple statement about the value your audience experiences through your solution or service. For Microsoft partners, it’s a promise of value your solution delivers to customers, of your ability to drive Microsoft cloud consumption for a Microsoft or partner seller, and/or the fortitude of your partner program to drive sales and service adoption for partners. Your solution and partner program’s unique value proposition is an essential tenet in your strategy, sales, technical, and marketing program execution.
Guiding principles for value proposition design
Keep these guiding principles in mind as you build your value proposition:
- Be simple, be clear, and be concise
- Solve business problems – back with facts and proof points
- Stay consistent with your organization’s ‘brand’ and ‘voice’
Define your to-customer value proposition
Creating a strong value proposition begins with a deep understanding of both the market opportunity and your specific target audience. The more you know about the opportunity and your audience’s needs, the better you can tailor your value proposition.
Your foundational value proposition centers on identifying the to-customer message for how you address customer business needs with your unique offering and Microsoft cloud. These business offerings can be either horizontal or vertical, depending on your target audience and solution or service.
Use the prompts and examples below to gauge your understanding of the competitive market and begin crafting your to-customer value proposition.
1. Know the market opportunity
The market opportunity describes the number of potential customers whose problem your solution can solve. The more you know about the market opportunity, the better you can articulate your value proposition to potential customers in the language of their challenge. Consider:
- What are the challenges and pain points your customers are facing?
- What specific to-cloud and/or cloud adoption challenges are your customers facing?
2. Know the business outcomes
A business outcome details the promised benefits of your solution for the customer. Speak to the results customers are looking for rather than features and functionality.
- Explore what business outcomes your customers are expecting
- Map the cloud solution to your customers’ expected business outcomes
- Define how you will measure meeting your customer’s business outcomes
If possible, assemble proof points such as case studies, analysts, and so forth to support your stated outcomes.
3. Know your solution
Prepare to describe in detail how your solution delivers the business outcomes above. What sets you apart as superior to a competitor? Consider:
- What value does the cloud solution bring to your customer?
- Highlight your unique competitive differentiation.
Your responses to these prompts will help you create your foundational, to-customer value proposition.
Refine your value proposition
After drafting your to-customer value proposition, make sure it checks out against the best practices above: Is it clear? Does it solve a business problem? Does it reflect your brand?
It’s good practice to test your value proposition by discussing and presenting to your customers. Continually iterate based on audience perspective and response. Continue to evaluate and shift your value proposition to ensure it lands well with your customers.