After reviewing the marketing and sales messages for hundreds of companies, one thing has become glaringly obvious: there is little or no consistency in the messaging from any one company.
Often messages are drowning with clichés. Clichés that are replicated on the websites of their nearest competitors. No one stands out, everyone is generally saying the same thing. This is how businesses paint themselves into a commodity corner. Your customers are trained to treat you like a commodity and push for lower prices. If your company is not ready with a real competitive advantage-based value proposition, many salespeople cave in on price.
The next issue is often message mediums don’t match. When we have done a Smart Advantage competitive advantage process for client companies, it becomes very clear what the message must be about. It is relatively uncomplicated to get the “story straight.” But where it sometimes goes off the rails is when the messages are not consistent by medium delivery; it confuses your prospects and diminishes credibility of the key message you want to send.
For example, what appears in your marketing – website, collateral, advertising, trade shows, etc. – must match the sales messages – presentations, RFP responses, quotes/bids. Now I don’t just mean you should be touting the same attribute such as “on time delivery” in all places, but the metrics must match and be updated. If your website claims 95.3% on time delivery, but your sales PowerPoint says 97.2% and your bid cover letter says 96.2%, credibility is gone.
Here are a few questions to ask internally to ensure the story is straight and implemented consistently:
Do you have someone who updates the metrics in your messaging? Do they update metrics across all of your company’s mediums? Are they confident your metrics can be validated when customers ask for proof?
Buyers want to know you are measuring what they value. This is how you build confidence and reduce risk in the buying decision. This is how you move away from commodity status and minimize price as an issue!