Putting the value in value propositions

21st March 2019 |   Simon Kelly and Dr Paul Johnston

This is the first of a series of articles in which the authors explore customer value and differentiation. In this article Dr Simon Kelly and Dr Paul Johnston consider the importance of customer value and its criticality in building effective value propositions. They draw together their experience as marketing and sales practitioners, their recent academic and commercial research, and their ongoing conversations with sales and marketing leaders to give a contemporary view on how effectively customer value is understood and embedded into value propositions that help or hinder salespeople to sell. They also consider how marketing and sales alignment impacts on successful value proposition development. Much of what is covered builds on their co-authored book Value-Ology: Aligning Sales and Marketing to Shape and Deliver Profitable Value Propositions, (Kelly, Johnston, Danheiser 2017).

Credible commercial research suggests there is definitely a problem out there. In a recent study performed by Televerde, 47% of B2B salespeople said that the major reason they lost a deal was because the product or service’s value had not been adequately conveyed to the prospect. Small wonder that 46% of salespeople said the asset they most wanted from marketing was “value proposition”.
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Simon Kelly has 35 years’ experience in the ICT industry in customer service, sales and marketing. He was Marketing Director for BT Major Business where he pioneered the move from “product push” to “value-based” selling and marketing. He led a canon of knowledge for the CIM on best practice B2B marketing. Now a “pracademic”, he has developed innovative marketing and sales skills modules for Sheffield Business School where he is a Senior Lecturer. He is President of SHAKE Marketing Group, based in London.

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Dr Paul Johnston is a Principal Lecturer at Sheffield Business School, Sheffield Hallam University, where he is a member of the Marketing Subject Group. Dr Johnston has spent 11 years in academia prior to which he had a career in the gaming and gambling industry where he held a number of senior marketing management positions for several organisations. These roles included Sales and Marketing Director of Bell-Fruit manufacturing where he was a member of a management buyout team in the early 1990s. Responsibilities included competitive strategy, key account management and product design and development. You can contact him via: p.r.johnston@shu.ac.uk.