In 2014, as we shifted from pure sales outsourcing to a sales outsourcing and outsourced marketing company, we searched and found a framework that would help us to do 4 things:
- Continue to craft solution sales scripts to leverage inside sales rep
- Craft a powerful story that could be told using video for thought leadership
- Provide a framework for content producers to continue to support that story
- Most importantly – force alignment between sales and marketing around a consistent a value proposition that would drive deals forward to transactions.
That is when we came across Michael Skoks’ “4Us”. See the article on Forbes here. The framework was originally designed for Michael Skok to decide what companies to invest in as a venture capitalist.
But we felt like it had powerful implications for successful sales and marketing acceleration. It just made sense. If a product or solution was worthy of investment the same characteristics should also make it faster to scale sales. It will make the solution a “must have” not a “nice to have”. If you focus on the reasons it is a “must have”, you have a better shot of scaling quickly .
After using this framework for the past several years, it has become a valuable tool in our strategy consulting (especially when combined with a Buyer Persona exercise and a Message Framework). The reason it is so powerful is deceptively simple but worth stating -This framework forces both sales and marketing to focus on the real reasons buyers buy and move into the sale funnel (spoiler alert: it’s not technical features and benefits). Buyers buy because it will give them a personal win, a professional win or both. Here is how it works.
Is the problem Unworkable? Does your solution fix a broken business process where there are real, measurable consequences to inaction? Will someone get fired if the issue is not addressed?
You need to focus on fixing problems that do not already have an easy to fix or easy solution. If your solution is a commodity you need to look for another unique value or you will be out gunned by companies with more money to spend.
Is fixing the problem Unavoidable? Is it driven by a mandate with implications associated with governance or regulatory control?Not all solutions will be mandated but you should always look for them. However, there are tangential ways you can get the same flavor -most often by focusing on the customer in your area like your buyers’ customer satisfaction scores, increasing customer retention, and improving customer loyalty.
Is the problem Urgent? Is it one of the top priorities for a company? In selling to enterprises, you’ll find it hard to command the attention and resources to arrange a deal if you fall below this line. In our experience, (and this is putting on our sales hat) there are really only three key criteria that make a problem urgent for a buyer:
- It will help them hit their quarterly or annual bonus compensation
- It will help them get promoted
- It will keep them from getting fired
Matching this value prop to specific buyer’s personas becomes extremely powerful, especially for sales. If you can hit this hard, it will keep you from a stalled sales pipeline and help you avoid getting the dreaded “no” decision.
Is the problem Underserved? Is there a conspicuous absence of valid solutions to the problem you’re looking to solve? Focus your initial message on the whitespace or the gap between solutions. This is especially powerful if you are taking on incumbents, and gives you a wedge offering to pilot your solution if you can price effectively.
Exiting this exercise you should have 4 to 5 bullets that become your core value prop from there alignment becomes simple because you can craft a powerful sales story that both sales and marketing can work together on. You simply put your buyers personas into buckets and you have a clear understanding of what story you need to tell to move them through the sales pipeline. Here is an example of what that looks like.
How Gabriel Sales Can Help
Gabriel Sales specializes in helping companies committed to growth scale. Scaling starts by aligning both sales and marketing around a powerful sales story. We have found no faster path to this story than anchoring that story in repeatable and clear value propositions that can be supported by simple content and clear sales scripts.
To learn more about how we can help you identify and share this message with your ideal target markets and buyers you can contact us here. Please feel free to check out our sales consulting and sales outsourcing services page. Or if you have your process buttoned up and are simply looking for more sales ready leads we can help with that as well.