Are Your Differentiators Defendable?
Defendable Differentiators is the topic that’s next up next in the 12-Point Prospect-Experience Transformation.
If you’re reading these posts in order you know we’ve already covered much of what you need to know about Market in order to transform your prospect experience. We’re now talking about Message, or what it is that you want prospects to know about your organization, to optimize how your customers interact with your before they buy.
We discussed the Value Statement in the last blog—or determining what benefit your product or service provides. Now it’s time to make sure all your marketing and sales people (as well as your customers and prospects) can articulate your how is your company is better and different.
Your differentiation is really the crux of your message. Sure, everyone needs to know what you sell; and the value that you deliver. All that’s important, but it’s context to what really makes you stand out. You must make sure that your prospects understand why your solution is their best choice.
Allow me to use my company, Prospect-Experience, as an example:
Our Market is marketing and sales leaders.
The Category we occupy is Prospect Experience consulting—that’s not just the name of our business but the type of business we are in.
The Value we deliver is helping clients convert more prospects to customers.
Our Differentiator is what it is that we do that makes us better than any other organization in our space. How is it that we’re different from others that go after the same prospects with the same needs?
In our case it’s a combination of 3 things:
Providing the perfect Prospect-Experience is all we do.
We are a boutique alternative to large firms.
Our approach is formal, structured and comprehensive.
No one else in our space can say that they’re 100% focused on the prospect experience and are affordable and have a methodology that lets you measure results. This is our answer to the question: “How do you stand out.”
How do we defend these differentiators—and how do you defend yours? To make differentiators defendable involves proof points. Client references, quantitative results, awards, 3rd party endorsements, etc.
Here is how we defend Prospect-Experience’s differentiators.
You can talk to clients that trust us and are references/advocates at will.
We have models that quantify results in advance.
We have a 20+ year track-record of success.
Here’s an article that sheds more light on defendable differentiators. It appeared in Forbes and is titled Defend Your Differentiators.
“When you have defendable differentiators, your job is to educate the customer; when you don’t, your job is to outsell the competition. If you are Nordstrom, you can defend your customer service. If you are Mercedes, you can defend your quality. If you are Southwest Airlines, you can defend your culture and your people. These corporations educate their potential customers, do you?”
The author of the Forbes article, Randy H. Nelson, encourages you to make sure your differentiators are truly differentiated. “If you are building your company on differentiators that can easily be imitated by your competition—and yes, they will at times stretch the truth to imitate—such as customer service, quality, or people, then challenge your organization to defend each on the grounds of differentiation.”
What you say about what you offer must be true and valued. But it also must be unique. Study your competition, gather market intelligence, and make sure your differentiators are, well, differentiated.