Facing factors such as mergers & acquisitions, successive developments, and the addition of new markets, your offering will gradually grow into a complex and perhaps diverse selection of products.
With market globalization and digitalization at work, your offering must be clear in order to be quickly understood. It must also be well-organized to offer relevant solutions that will make the difference for your customers.
1. Forget Product Catalogs.
Your offering cannot be reduced to a long and often motley list of products or features.
These types of catalogs are destined for people who already know you, i.e., your employees and existing customers.
Catalogs are useful for locating a SKU when you are searching for a tool, a product or a service with which you are already familiar.
When there are multiple offerings available on the market and the issues at stake are complex, finding the solution to a problem requires a great deal of energy and time that not all of your potential customers are necessarily willing or able to put forth.
You must create a clear and logical description of your offering in terms of market solutions so that you may be quickly identified as a credible potential provider.
2. Offer Solutions That Solve Customer Issues.
Adopting the perspective of a customer will help you bring more precision to the answers that you provide for solving their issues.
Start by making a detailed list of the problems that your solution addresses.
Even if you can solve a lot of different problems, you must have identified the market solutions that you can provide, i.e. the ones to which you bring real added-value compared to the competition, and/or the markets that you have the means to address. (See 7 keys to clear positioning).
3. Distinguish yourself from competitive solutions.
In order to organize your offering and describe exactly what your solution brings to the table, you need to understand all of the possibilities that your customers have available in order to solve their problems.
Focus on your key differentiators, and illustrate in a concrete manner how your offering is different from the others. This includes both your competitors’ offerings and your customers’ internal solutions.
Warning: If you can’t find any competitors, perhaps you haven’t looked thoroughly enough! A market with no competition does not exist; in other words, it needs to be created. However, educating the market is a long, drawn-out process that requires a lot of time and resources.
4. Adopt a Logical And Understandable Organization.
To facilitate the external understanding of your offering, you have to make its business components as clear as possible: these are coherent product sets that solve a customer problem.
No need to re-invent the wheel: analysts often describe in detail the expected features of solutions like yours. Check which ones correspond to yours, putting the focus on the most differentiating elements of your offering.
These components will not necessarily immediately correspond to your sales offerings: you will be able to combine them later to build the proper sales bundles that you want to offer.
Grouping components by kind of rendered services (business, data, infrastructure, etc.) or any other logical grouping facilitates its understanding and provides more global search criteria.
5. Use Customer Terminology.
Creatively naming your solutions and/or product functional components is not really useful, apart from being amusing for the people who create them!
What matters most is that you are understood: to achieve this goal, use the terms most commonly used on the market.
These will be key assets in referencing your offering.
6. Provide a Consistent Vision of Your Strategy.
All of your components must come together to create a coherent whole: this provides a picture of your strategy and your offering’s completeness.
This global “big picture” will let your customers see into the future and view you as a long term partner.
Moreover, it will help your customers envision all of the other scenarios beyond their immediate concern for which they can use your solutions.