The BIG (& only) three elements of a strong Value Proposition

I almost agree with the following statement:

“In B2B marketing, your value proposition can be about two things. Only two. Dos. Deux.

  1. Time
  2. Money”

From Barry Feldman in The Most Valuable Lesson a B2B Marketer Will Ever Learn

Actually I more than almost agree, I think the whole blog post is right on the money and I strongly recommend you read and heed it.  There’s just one thing that’s missing – RISK.

Risk is a big deal in the B2B world.  It’s a big deal because some projects do not meet expectations.  Some don’t succeed.  Some fail spectacularly.

Let’s say I’m a plant manager and I’m making an investment decision.  I have three options.  One option from Vendor A and two options from Vendor B.

  • Vendor A’s proposal says that its Solution X will generate a daily savings of $1,000.
  • Vendor B’s proposal says that its:
    • Solution Y has an 80% chance of generating a daily savings of $1,000 and,
    • Solution Z has a 99% chance of generating a daily savings of $808

All three options have the same cost.  Solution Y from Vendor B is virtually identical to Solution X from Vendor A.  You know like and trust the sales reps from both competitors equally.  What do you do?

You eliminate Vendor A and noodle on which of Vendor B’s options is better.  That’s what you do!

And here’s why you do that.  In a perfect world, Solutions X & Y both yield the 1,000 bucks.  BUT, as Vendor B points out, I should really only count on saving $800 due to the risk involved.  Solution Z, however, is lower risk.  It’s max up-side is only $808, but it’s pretty much a lock I’ll get that.  So bottom line, X most likely gives me $800, Y most likely gives me $800 and Z most likely gives me $800.  That SOB from Vendor A, though, never even pointed out the risk of failure.  I think I’ll buy lunch for the rep from Vendor B, ask her what she’d decide and seek out her advice more often.

The sales rep who considers risk not only wins the current deal, but also builds long-term loyalty.

So Barry, I’m in violent agreement with you!  …almost.  You’re right, but it’s not “Only two. Dos. Deux.”  It’s “Only three. Tres. Troi.”