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The Promise of the Digital Sales Force℠ Begins With Getting Clear

By Burkey Belser
April 8, 2015
The Promise of the Digital Sales Force℠ Begins With Getting Clear

Yesterday, we introduced the idea of a Digital Sales ForceSM to replace the classic concept of the marketing funnel. Today, we’d like to explain the first step in successfully deploying your own Digital Sales Force℠.

Without a clear and compelling value proposition, ask yourself—why would anyone pay attention to your firm? Remember a brand is an identity based on a promise of value different than others. Legal and accounting services are largely viewed as commoditized and, therefore, tough to differentiate. So, if the difference is only one of a few degrees, be prepared to express it, well…differently.

You probably imagine a compelling value proposition must be unique. “Unique” is a big word for only six letters. However, “unique” is seldom possible. “Different” is. We often hear our clients tell us that “any firm could say that” when we define a value proposition. In fact, it’s likely to be true that many firms could match your value proposition. What’s important is that they don’t. They could… but they don’t. Being first is just as effective as being unique. Your goal is to be associated with an idea that is different from any other. For that to happen, you need to be bold, creative and unfailingly consistent (the topic of tomorrow’s post).

You may be helped by a quick review of the concept and history of positioning. During the 1950s, as Madison Avenue became big business and sales became a well-studied discipline, the Holy Grail was to find a “unique selling proposition (USP)” typically based on a product or service feature. But businesses learned that USP could be quickly copied—and frequently sold for less. As a result, the concept of a USP collapsed to be replaced in a seminal theory on marketing (not sales!) called Positioning: The Battle for the Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout. The theory of positioning does not require a USP but, instead, a corner of the buyer’s mind, some psychological connection that resonates with the buyer about that product or service. You probably think that Nike’s value proposition is “Just Do It.” But it’s not. It’s “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. If you have a body, you are an athlete.” That positioning statement is the touchstone for every decision made by the firm—from product development to marketing. “Just Do It” is just a component of the creative expression we all call a tagline.

To repeat, your very first and most critical step is to define a value proposition, not that is unique (good luck with that), but that is different from any other. Keep an eye out for tomorrow’s post on step two for creating your Digital Sales Force℠.