How to write a value proposition: a guide for Microsoft Partners

For B2B technology companies, standing out from the crowd can be tricky. In an industry where every business is a “trusted partner”, where every team is overflowing with “seasoned professionals”, and positively dripping in “specialist expertise” – what can you say to differentiate your business? That’s the challenge of B2B technology marketing.

To communicate your value consistently in your marketing, you need a value proposition. Knowing how to write a value proposition for b2b business is critical: it details what you can offer customers that other businesses in your space can’t. Every business understands the value they offer customers, but potential customers often won’t take time to find out. The real challenge is being able to express your value proposition in a way that engages your audience.

 

What is a value proposition?

Simply put, a value proposition is a description of the value you deliver to customers – how you understand it and how it should be communicated. It isn’t a slogan, a positioning statement or a list of product features. It’s a comprehensive document that clearly defines how you help customers and what they can expect from investing in you, your product or your services.

 

Our approach at Fifty Five and Five

Fifty Five and Five is a full service digital marketing agency. We help technology companies grow their business, drive brand awareness and achieve their marketing goals. The importance of value propositions to our work cannot be understated – it forms the crux of everything we do and ensures our efforts are perfectly aligned with our clients’ ambitions.

Sometimes creating a value proposition is the primary reason we are brought on board by a customer. Other times it just forms the beginning of a long-term relationship and marketing strategy. Either way, we treat it with a great deal of respect – as getting it right will make all the difference for the work we do.

Our approach is unique and puts great emphasis on the initial planning and strategy stages. Albert Einstein was asked: “If you have one hour to solve a problem, how would you spend that hour?” He replied, “I would spend fifty five minutes defining the problem, and then I would need just five minutes to solve it.” What a guy!

We put the fifty five first in everything we do. We think, we plan, we strategise. We do our research and use data to complement our creativity. The fifty five is not about an amount of time, it’s about quality of thought. With the fifty five in place, the five, the execution, is set up to succeed. This is especially important when creating value propositions.

 

How to write a value proposition for b2b businesses

We’ve taken inspiration from the classic Five Ws and the H, and created our own set of questions that’ll help you home in on your target audience. Answering them will build the foundations of your value proposition.

 

1. Who?

Who is your audience?

Who are the people your product or service is trying to help? What is their industry and their business?

What are their problems?

What issues do they have, both generally and in relation to their industry? For example:

  • Do they experience problems with current technology set up?

 

2. What?

What do you do?

Try to condense your company blurb into one or two sentences. Only include the essentials.

What is your unique selling point?

What does your company do differently to others? It might be your technology, service, people, practice, cost… find your niche and explore it.

What value do you bring to the customer?

This obviously refers to your offering, but it’s also about the customer experience you provide. How are you exceeding the normal expectations of customers?

What are you running your business for?

You need to know the ultimate goal of your company. For instance, at Fifty Five and Five our goal is to help technology companies realise their ambitions.

 

3. How?

How can you solve the customer’s problems?

Solve the customer problems that you identified in question one. Again, this isn’t necessarily just about your product. It’s about the value you can provide another business. For example:

  • Minimise the cost and risk implications of a cloud migration.
  • Take a cybersecurity assessment to gain control over your company data and minimise the threat of cyberattacks.
  • Offer a friendly and professional service from start to finish.

 

4. Why?

Why should the customer choose you?

Show (don’t tell) the customer why they should choose you over your competition. Make sure to avoid product features – focus on the real-life benefits they can expect. Do you:

  • Make users’ day-to-day tasks easier, helping them relieve stress?
  • Improve employee productivity with collaboration tools?
  • Provide customers considerable return on investment?
  • Offer constant support and advice throughout the customer journey?

What is your product differentiation?

What does your software or service offer that others don’t? Does it have more processing power or a user-friendly interface?

 

Now put it all in a box

Literally. We’ve created a handy template for you to jot down your answers.

There are better ways of presenting value propositions. The final document should be dressed up a little and ideally presented in line with your branding. We use PowerPoint presentations to present value propositions for our clients. But for now… it’s important to get stuff neatly tied up on paper so that it is more palatable.

 

Who?
Who is your audience?
What are their problems?
What?
What do you do?
What is your unique selling point?
What value do you bring to the customer?
What are you running your business for?
How?
How can you solve the customer’s problems?
Why?
Why should the customer choose you?
What is your product differentiation?

 

Involve the whole organization

Value propositions can benefit from being tackled collaboratively – an interdepartmental workshop is a great way to brainstorm and identify what sets your company apart.

Your value proposition should not be a manifestation of the c-suite’s collective will. You should not eschew the viewpoints from employees who are much closer to your customers, products and services than the proverbial “suits” in the boardroom.

Of course, you don’t need the contribution of every single employee – that would be madness. But encouraging representatives from every department can be hugely beneficial. Working with account management, sales, customer success, IT and other areas of your business gives you the insights you need to do this.

 

Creating your value proposition

Now you know how to write a value proposition, or at least how we do it. And you have a template to guide you. You can also look at our case studies to see how we have worked with organizations to deliver a wide range of marketing projects including value proposition work. However, as mentioned above, all of our work begins with value propositions to some extent. Without a good value proposition, marketing efforts can only ever go so far. That’s why creating a value proposition for B2B business is so important.

 

Fifty Five and Five can help you find the best way to communicate your value proposition to current and future customers. For more information about the importance of value propositions, get in touch with us today.

 


The Microsoft Partner Top 50 Movers and Shakers for July

July was a busy month for us here at Fifty Five and Five. Microsoft blessed us with a whole host of exciting announcements at their annual partner conference, Inspire; the team began returning to the office as restrictions in England started to ease (we even added some new office plants); and we also welcomed a new Writer to the team.

The hustle and bustle never stops apparently – and we quite like it that way! So, it will come as no surprise to you that our all-digital Microsoft Partner Top 50 also saw some significant movement among partners in July’s scores on the doors. Shall we take a look?

 

July’s Top Movers and Shakers

We’ll start by highlighting some of the great work demonstrated by four Microsoft partners as they made some impressive gains in this month’s Top 50. Those partners are:

  • Aptify

Aptify made the biggest leap in July’s Top 50, moving up 76 places to rank #26 at the time of this blog post. Now that’s an accomplishment to be proud of. Great work, Aptify!

Founded in 1993, Aptify has years of experience providing powerful, flexible and comprehensive Association and Membership Management Software solutions globally.

  • Adatis

Similarly, Adatis made significant gains, moving up 72 places to rank #21 at the end of July –  just behind Aptify. Still, this level of growth a seriously impressive feat. A huge well done.

Adatis are a specialist Data Analytics Consultancy and trusted Microsoft partner, who help organisations unlock the power and value from their data to enable them to improve business performance, better serve and engage customers, empower employees, find efficiencies, and remain compliant.

  • Blue Horseshoe

Blue Horseshoe entered the Top 50 for the very first time at the end of June. Since then, they’ve consistently ranked in the top 45, ranking as high as #23 and now ranking around #30. Considering they’ve were ranking around #100 at the start of 2021, you can colour us impressed.

Blue Horseshoe empowers business transformation where it counts most. They help companies define and plan their enterprise strategy, connect and collaborate with business applications, and optimize and execute supply chain operations.

  • Concurrency

Again, Concurrency were ranking in the #100s at the start of 2021, and only entered Top 50 for the first time in May. They have since been climbing the ranks, and have now been ranking in the Top 30 since the start of July. Very solid work.

Founded in 1989, Concurrency is a business and technology professional services firm driving technology innovation and organizational change management.

 

Encore on a “culture of content contributors”

The aim of this blog series is to provide insight for Microsoft Partners to help them achieve marketing success. Encore have consistently demonstrated their marketing excellence in the Microsoft Partner Top 50 – so we spoke to their VP of Marketing, Natalie Armstrong, to find out the secret behind their top-notch content.

Hi Natalie. Congrats on shooting into the Top 15! Tell us – what is your secret weapon for such great quality content?

“We’ve created a culture of content contributors at Encore. All our team members feel a sense of responsibility to share their knowledge in their individual areas of expertise. The ongoing collaboration with our inhouse SMEs has enabled us to sustain such a high volume of relevant and high-quality blog content over the last 3+ years.”

Great stuff. How do you keep your content driving people back?

“As well as sourcing new content we also spend a considerable amount of effort reviewing and updating older popular pieces of content that drive conversions. In addition to prioritizing our time and energy on optimizing content and users page experiences we dedicate time and budget dollars on our marketing technology and using it to help drive results and dictate our next decisions.”

Thanks, Natalie!

 

Where do you rank?

That’s it for the July edition of our Top 50 Movers and Shakers blog. Bookmark our continuously updated Top 50 Microsoft Partners to see how you and other Microsoft partners rank in the month ahead. And hey – you could even feature in August’s post!

At Fifty Five and Five, we help technology companies grow their business, drive brand awareness and achieve their marketing goals. If you need help with your digital marketing, get in touch with the team today.