So you’re running your business and you’ve identified the problems your customers have, that you want to solve. The next step is very simple. Don’t describe your products or the features or the benefits. Describe the solutions.
How is your product solving the problem?
Define the top three features and capabilities your product or service offers to solve your customers’ problems.
Careful! You might think you know the best part of your product or service, but completing the previous sections of the Revenue Roadmap may prove otherwise. Your users will ultimately determine which aspects of your product they’re most eager to use and will subsequently find most beneficial.
Brainstorm 10 features and capabilities of your product or service. Consider the strengths and flaws of each and whittle your list down to the top three. You can also use other strategy exercises like completing a Revenue Roadmap with us to help define your solution.
Your product or service is not your solution. You might actually be solving a fear, or you might be providing the age-old human desire for convenience. It is incredible what people are willing to give up in order to get convenience. Don’t assume that a prospect or customer is thinking about your product or service as solution that is going to address their need (yet). They may not even know about you just yet. So what you want to try to think about is some innovative ways to talk about the solutions that you bring.
Uncover the Basic “Human Driver”
There are five Core Human Drives that influence human behavior:
- Drive to Acquire: the desire to collect material and immaterial things, like a car, or influence.
- Drive to Bond: the desire to be loved and feel valued in our relationships with others.
- Drive to Learn: the desire to satisfy our curiosity.
- Drive to Defend: the desire to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our property.
- Drive to Feel: the desire for emotional experiences like pleasure or excitement.
Whenever a group of people have an unmet drive, a market will form to satisfy it.
The more drives your offer connects with, and the better you communicate those connections, the more attractive your offer will become.
“If you’re going to build a successful business, it’s useful to have a basic understanding of what people want.” ~ Josh Kaufman
There is a technique in management known as sixth Sigma, which uses a discovery technique where the root to any problem can be found by asking six questions of “Why?” Six rounds and six layers – six levels of Why. Think about what is the solution that you have for your customers problem and ask yourself, “Why?” Does your offer solve that problem? Then go another level deeper, by asking “Why?” again. Then “Why that?” and “Why that?” and “Why that?” Try to get to the core of what the real solution is delivering to your customer. That way when you’re talking about a feature or a benefit you’re actually talking about a real life solution that addresses an actual need that they feel or that they have.
A key part of creating value for your customers, which drives revenue growth, is knowing what the alternatives are to what you’re offering.
Your biggest competitor: “Doing nothing”
So you’re running a business and you know that your customers have a particular problem, or that you can solve a particular list of problems. The next thing you want to do is to find out what the existing alternatives are for your solution. It may not necessarily even be a competitive product. It may actually be that your prospects do nothing at all. It may be that an existing alternative is to not do anything because they are too scared of making the mistake of getting the wrong product, or getting the wrong service. So your would-be customer delays the decision-making process even longer.
An existing alternative might be a competitive product, in which case you need to figure out, “Well what is it that I solve that my competitor doesn’t solve?” If you’re a Business-to-Business (B2B) company selling tasks that are outsourced to you, an existing alternative could actually be your customers hiring an internal team to do it instead. So you might actually be competing against an internal team. In this case you’ll want to frame your solution in a way that explains the benefits of using an external team versus an internal team.
The point is, don’t just think about competitive products. Also think about some of the excuses and the things that people do, sometimes even just out of human nature, that would replace your solution in their problem context – even if it means they’re doing nothing.
So what are the existing alternatives?
How else can your customers address their problems? What products or services already exist as alternatives to yours? This section is where you identify competition. Who are you up against?
Research your competition using multiple methods. Ask target customers about other products or services they’ve explored or used. Utilise search engines, social media and trade publications to become an authority on your industry.