A unique selling proposition is a critical piece of your B2B messaging that describes the benefit you offer and what distinguishes you from the competition.
When it comes to sales enablement, learning how to write a unique selling proposition matters. A lot. Without a solid messaging framework, salespeople have no choice but to make up their messaging strategy on their own. This means prospects may get drastically different messaging depending on who they talk to. It also means that your sales team is spending time and energy crafting the message instead of building relationships and uncovering opportunities.
When your sales team has the right messaging tools, they can quickly convert prospects’ questions or objections into persuasive conversations that lead people through the sales funnel.
The unique selling proposition, also known as a unique value proposition, is a critical piece of your B2B messaging. A good one offers a high-level look at what you do, why it matters to your ideal customer, and why people would be smart to work with you instead of someone else. While that may sound simple, it can be surprisingly tough to execute properly.
The elements of a unique selling proposition
A strong unique selling proposition combines the following elements into a cohesive message that introduces prospects to your brand or product:
- Audience insights
- Problem-solving promise
- Specific results
Your audience should read your unique selling proposition and feel like someone wrote it for them personally. It needs to show that you understand their needs and speak their language.
Take this example from Tortuga backpacks. Their tagline says, “Pack light. Go further.” It couldn’t be more obvious how well they know their customers. Instead of talking about about the hassles and costs of checked bags, they used four simple words to describe how it feels to travel unencumbered and free to go wherever you want. This sounds more like a traveler than a piece of sales copy. It transcends different types of travel and savings and describes their value clearly. When combined with their full unqiue selling points, it will be quite compelling.
Here are some ways you can learn more about your ideal customer in order to echo their sentiments in your unique selling proposition:
- Interviews: Interview your customers or ideal prospects with some open-ended questions to learn not only what they value, but how they describe it.
- Product reviews: Read product reviews for both your products and those of your competitors. See what issues people bring up most often, what features or solutions they find valuable, and what words they use to talk about it all.
- Forums: See if you can find any forums where your ideal customers congregate online and discuss their work. You’ll not only pick up on key phrases, you’ll be able to learn about any hot topics or key issues that inspire strong opinions or passionate responses.
It’s not enough to describe what you do or offer. Your unique value proposition needs to connect directly to a business challenge, preferably a tangible, urgent one. For example, FreshBooks makes it clear in a few sentences that they help solve one the biggest challenges of running a small business—having to do almost everything yourself.
While the headline doesn’t touch on the benefits, the body text uses two small sentences to cover a lot of ground. It says, “The all-new FreshBooks is accounting software that makes running your small business easy, fast and secure. Spend less time on accounting and more time doing the work you love.” These words cover both the rational benefits (easy, fast and secure) and tap into the passion driving the small business.
The more specific you can get with your value proposition, the easier it is for people to imagine using your product. Basecamp is a project management software that lets teams assign and communicate about tasks and projects. That’s what it does. What Basecamp offers is completed tasks and met deadlines.
Peace of mind for people whose work can get very messy when things go wrong. However, this copy goes beyond spelling out the benefits to include some social proof. There’s some peer pressure, as well as the high percentage of people who found Basecamp valuable. The testimonial at the bottom is the final proof point.
Translated.com uses the body paragraph to explain that they combine technology and human intelligence in their translation services. Their value proposition explains, “Professional translation services made easy. Created by expert humans, powered by technology, efficiently delivered.”
If you’re on a budget but cautious about relying on an automated tool, here’s an option you can work with. This is an unusual approach in the field of translation and their value proposition makes sure everyone knows that.
Some final tips for a unique selling proposition
Clarity trumps persuasion. While you may find a way to infuse some creative flair into your value proposition, the most important consideration is how clearly it speaks to your audience. If your idea requires supporting imagery or extensive storytelling, save the approach for a messaging opportunity that has more breathing room.
Use a headline and body text. While your unique value proposition shouldn’t require scrolling or filling pages and pages, don’t settle for a concise statement that doesn’t give people enough information. This is the piece of information that will tell a prospect whether to keep learning about what you do or move on to a competitor.
A unique selling proposition, by its very nature, cannot be all things to all people. That’s why each main product and offering category needs one, in addition to the company needing one. It works in concert with the other pieces of your messaging framework, and your overall sales enablement efforts.