If you are a frequent reader of our newsletters, you know we are passionate about companies identifying and communicating their competitive advantages. We have gone into detail about how important it is to “validate” your claims. It is simply not enough to show “98% documentation accuracy,” or “97.6% on time delivery,” without supporting evidence. Sometimes it takes extra work to locate data, corroborate the metrics with other sources, and then identify the best way to communicate your value proposition to your customers and prospects.
What goes wrong?
Once all that work is completed, we have seen scores of companies lose their “bang for the buck” by communication inconsistencies. Simply put, once they arrive at a validated message reflecting, for example, last three years of operational excellence, they often fail to update it and/or ensure consistency throughout mediums. We have seen website claims that do not match the sales pitchbook, and those often do not match the collateral print materials; and frequently their ads make yet a different claim. This is a surefire way to lose credibility.
Also, if your materials/website/social media are touting a valuable metric like 97.8% fill rate, but it has been showing that same number for 4 years (really! We have seen this more than once) credibility goes out the window. Your validated metrics that support your competitive advantages must be updated, ideally monthly. It also guarantees you have internal accountability ensuring continued operational excellence on what matters to your customers.
The final inconsistency that can cause customer confusion is if all salespeople are not telling the same story. If internally your team believes in different messaging and are all using conflicting metrics, you are bound to confuse your marketplace. Do not let sales “shoot from the hip” when citing your performance metrics. A simple “mistake” in touting performance can do harm to your trust with customers. Be sure the salespeople have accurate and current metrics that validate competitive advantage claims.
Solution: Assign someone in your marketing or sales staff the responsibility to do an audit of your numbers and mediums each month. Have that person confirm with sales and marketing the updated metrics to be used for the previous month. Ensure the communication being used is accurate at your weekly/monthly sales and marketing meetings.