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You’ve got a great SAP business and you’re proud of what you deliver. Now you need to communicate your awesomeness to the world, and how you can help them achieve their goals and solve their problems – this is where marketing comes in!

If you are an SAP partner who is looking to learn more about marketing or review the fundamentals, then this post is for you!


So, you’ve built a great offering. You believe in yourself, your team, and the products and services you’re offering, and now you’re ready to execute a marketing campaign to let your buyers know all about you!

There’s a lot of noise out there!

However, you’re not the only one with a marketing campaign – in fact, your buyers are likely being inundated with messaging from vendors of all stripes. Combine that with the fact that your buyers are likely extremely busy with their tasks, and you’ve got a situation where it’s easy for you to be ignored – the truth is, no matter how great a fit your offering is, your buyers don’t have the time to filter all the noise and sift through all their options, just to find you!

So how do you get noticed?

So how do you stand out? How do you get buyers to notice you among all the other vendors out there, and consider you as someone they should do business with?

It’s simple – your marketing messaging needs to speak to their needs: their goals to achieve; their problems to solve. Your messaging needs to answer the question “How will your offering make your buyers’ lives better?”. And the answer to that question is the essence of your value proposition.

Marketing messaging that is built on a buyer-centric value proposition has a better chance of being noticed by your buyers!

Creating your value proposition

So how does your offering make your buyers’ lives better? Or put differently:

  • Why are you and your company the right choice for your buyers’ needs (i.e. why should they buy from you)?
  • How will you deliver value to them – that is, how will you address their needs, goals to achieve, and problems to solve?

First, you need to know what your buyers actually need. And only then will you be ready to think about how you can help them with their needs.

Create personas that describe your buyers and their needs

Do you know what your buyers need? Are they the same needs across all the markets you are targeting? Consider this:

  • The needs of a CFO are probably different than those of a line manager
  • The needs of buyers working in the retail industry are probably different that those of buyers working in hospitals

So first and foremost, think about your buyers – think about them from the following standpoints:

  • The industry or line of business in which they work
  • Their role at the company
  • Their daily tasks and responsibilities
  • Their definitions of success
  • Their professional goals
  • Their blockers to success
  • Features of your offering that would entice them to select it
  • Barriers that prevent them from selecting your offering

As you answer these questions, you will start to paint a “picture” of the buyers who would select your offering. This picture or generalized representation is called a persona.

Creating personas helps you to relate to your buyers as real humans, and it helps you understand the specific needs and goals of your buyers. You can learn more about creating persona records here.

Describe how you can address your buyers’ needs

Once you have defined your company’s buyer personas, you will have a good idea of their needs – specifically, the goals they wish to achieve and the problems they wish to solve. Now, think about how your enterprise and offering can help them with these needs.

The Value Proposition Canvas

An interesting way to determine how you can address your buyers’ needs is by using a tool called the Value Proposition Canvas. It was conceptualized by a company called Strategyzer AG, and it’s available for download on their website.

The idea behind the canvas is that you describe your buyers’ working experience and needs by identifying:

  • The jobs or tasks they need to complete (that is, the tasks and activities they need to do to achieve their KPIs or goals)
  • The role or job-related gains that they wish to achieve (that is, the things they would like to have happen that will allow them to better do their jobs – better being faster, more efficient, more precise, automated, etc.)
  • The role or job-related pains that they would like to address (that is, annoyances or things that are problematic when they try to do their job)

You then create a fit between your offering’s features and your buyer’s needs by describing how your offering can act as a:

  • Job completer – How would your offering enable your buyers to do their job?
  • Gain creator – How would your offering enable your buyers to achieve their desired gains?
  • Pain reliever – How would your offering enable your buyers to relieve their identified pains?

Other ways to think about how you offer value to your buyers

To help you position your enterprise and offerings in the value proposition canvas, you can also answer the following questions:

  • Of all the services you provide, which one are you the best on the planet at solving?
  • Why do your customers tell you that you win?
  • Who refers you and why?
  • Why do you think your customer decided to buy from you?

Your value proposition statement

Once you have completed the value proposition canvas, you can draft one or several value proposition statements. Simply describe how you add value as a job completer, gain creator or pain reliever.

Keep in mind that there are many ways to express your value prop and they can all be appropriate – it’s the overall message you are conveying that is key!

For example – if you wanted to express your value prop on your website, you can consider:

  • A simple headline and description that summarizes the overall benefit of your offering
  • Bullet points that provide a list of entities that communicate value to the reader
  • A visual element – such as an image, video or infographic

Be succinct and clear

When creating your value prop and the messages around it, ensure that you get to the point right away, before your buyer looks at the next vendor. Your goal is to capture your buyers’ attention and capture it fast.

Have a laser beam focus – be very specific of what you can do.

Focus on a specific industry or set of customer needs. Many vendors will say that they can “do anything” because they don’t want to miss out on any opportunities out there. But by being too vague you risk diluting your impact. You can’t “speak to someone’s specific needs” by being vague.

Now if you do have multiple specialties you absolutely want to point out, you might want to consider creating multiple value propositions (see below for more details).

Support your claims with numbers and facts wherever possible.

If you say “we always implement on time and on budget”, that sounds good – but saying “we have a 98% success rate when it comes to implementation”, sounds better – it tells the buyer that you have actually measured your performance based on established criteria. Of course the numbers you report need to be true! But the point is – if you have facts and numbers that demonstrate your value, consider including them in your messaging.

The customer success story as a value proposition

Think about a successful experience you had – from the standpoint of your customer. Why was it a positive experience for them? Is it a story that other buyers would be interested to hear? Buyers like to read stories about customers in similar situations as them. They are able to identify with the issues experienced by the customer, and they will better visualize how they themselves will achieve a gain in their particular situation.

You can use customer stories to take your value proposition to the next level, as they provide the proof of your promise.

Multiple value propositions?

Is there a case to have multiple value propositions? Absolutely – especially if you have determined that you have multiple personas who would use your offering. As an example, what drives and inspires a manager is likely different than that of the CTO – but depending on the company, either one, or perhaps both buyer types can be involved in the buying decision. For example, the manager might want to know about minimized down time and training support. The CTO might wish to hear about how secure your cloud infrastructure is.

Another scenario is that you serve different industries, and you decide that your messaging needs to be industry-specific.

Additional thoughts

Does Google show your value prop?

It has been reported that 78% of B2B buyers start their research on the Internet with a Google search. Each Google search result includes the page title, URL, and a short description, called a “snippet”. The snippet is used to give readers a better description of the search result.

Make sure that you work with your marketing team to find ways to display your value proposition in your search result snippet.

Does SAP Partner Finder listing show your value prop?

Is your enterprise listed on SAP Partner Finder? In addition to your company name, logo and contact information, you can provide a short description of your company that viewers will see in the partner listing. However you craft your description, make sure that you communicate your value proposition right away!

A value proposition is not

Keep in mind that a value proposition is not the following:

  • A mission or vision statement
  • A slogan (i.e. “Run Simple”)
  • A positioning statement (i.e. we’re the #1 SAP implementer in your area)
  • A description statement (i.e. we have been an SAP partner for 20 years)
  • A product statement (i.e. our product solves your management problems”)

While each of these statements have their place in a marketing and branding strategy, none of them are appropriate as value propositions – they are too vague and they’re not buyer-centric; they’re focused on how great the vendor is and how many features they have to offer.

Summary

Your value proposition is completely focused on your buyers and communicates how they will benefit if they choose your company and offering – make sure it’s the foundation of much your marketing messaging.

When your messaging describes how your offering can help your buyers complete their jobs, achieve their desired gains, and deal with their existing pains, it will speak to their specific needs, and you have a better chance of capturing their attention!


This is the next post of my blog series Communicate Your Awesomeness. Feel free to contact me directly if you’d like to have more discussions related to marketing!

Want even more? You can now sign up for a number of free and paid marketing services delivered by SAP and its trusted providers. Check out the SAP Partner Benefits Catalog or contact your PSA for more information!

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