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Partners: Get to the Point with Your Messaging

Prospective buyers only spend 10 to 20 seconds scanning your homepage before deciding to dig in or leave, so your message had better be short and to the point.

So little time, yet so much to say. You've added all these great cloud services, disaster recovery is so important and you have great customer stories to share. As hard as it is, this is a good time to step back and distill your core value to clients. A messaging framework will help you trim down your text to grab prospects' attention before they move on.

A messaging framework is a concise description of the value that you deliver to your customers. The framework should describe your customers' common challenges and how you solve them. Usually broken down by the role of the person that makes the buying decision, the messaging framework will help you and your employees get to the point in all communications.  

Creating a messaging framework is challenging. You likely offer a variety of services that are hard to prioritize; they are all important to your clients. As you're building the framework, keep Web site visitors in mind. If you try to be everything to everyone, the message will be meaningless and you'll lose those visitors.

Focus on the specific benefits that clients get from working with you. Try not to cover too much ground with the messaging framework. Focus on what you do best, and what delivers the most value to clients and the highest profits to the business. Here are a couple of ideas to help you decide which challenges and benefits matter most:

  • At the next company meeting, ask team members to describe your value to customers in five words.
  • Ask your top customers to list the three primary reasons that they use your firm.
  • If you're focusing on a vertical, research the industry's association and publication Web sites to identify the topics that are getting the most attention.

As with most things, there's no one right structure or format for your messaging framework. However, the basics should include:

  • Summary Value Proposition: Create an overall statement, one or two sentences long, that define how you solve the top challenges for your clients.
  • Value Propositions by Challenge: Identify each of your customers' top challenges and how your solution/service addresses that challenge.
  • Value Propositions by Role: Focus on the specific challenges of the business decision makers and how you solve them. The CEO, CFO and IT director each have unique daily challenges and risks that they want to manage. Be ready to speak to each person's pains and fears.

An example for the owner of a small distribution company could look like:

Challenge Value Proposition
Worried about dependence on aging hardware. We can help reduce hardware dependence with cloud solutions.
Having trouble delivering current information to remote sales team. We can give you the tools to support mobile communications and collaboration.
Need to ensure business continuity. We deliver solutions that continually back up data and provide access to applications in case of disruption.

A Valuable Document for Your Employees
The messaging framework should be as helpful to your consultants as it is to your sales and marketing team. They are on the front line with your customers and should be fluent in all of the services you deliver. The messaging framework gives them an easy cheat-sheet to answer questions with confidence.

In most marketing interactions, from Twitter to Web sites to blog posts, you don't have much time to engage your audience. By spending the time upfront to fine-tune your messaging, you don't have to reinvent the wheel every time. With pre-written text, you and your employees can deliver a consistent message to get to the point and grab your prospect's attention.

What tactics are you using to connect with prospects quickly? Add a comment below or send me an e-mail and let's share the knowledge.     

Posted by Barb Levisay on January 07, 2015 at 12:09 PM