Tell me one thing: Where’s the value?
Products and Solutions (June 30, 2016)
Where’s the Value?
As we march on with the continued development of our excellent Unity solution, there is one question that keeps coming up from customers: Where’s the value in your solution? It’s a standard question posed by any customer – and by the marketing and sales teams – because they want to know why anyone should shell out their capital for something that isn’t always tangible at first blush. Value isn’t easily defined, but equally importantly, defining value is a misleading question to ask.
Value Is What You Want It To Be
As I am in product management, here’s my take on the term value. Value is defined by who the user is you’re trying to help and what they want to hear. Or not hear. One person’s value could be time-saving and for another it’s how much did the solution cost compared to other similar ones. In other words, what am I getting for my money?
Essentially value is fluid, it changes with time and with the audience who’s looking at the solution. Unfortunately pricing and perceived value are often equated, and that’s tough to overcome. Particularly for software solutions because no one wants to pay for anything. It’s tangibility is virtually nil, and making use of it usually means change, and change is pain. So where’s the value?
How Do You Make Something Valuable?
There are two ways to deal with this value dilemma:
- Price it high and come up with a value prop that you hope and pray will mesmerize the potential buyer to pry open a rusted-shut wallet
- Speak to resolving pain points and deal with the value prop later
No matter what, as a product manager, I have to come up with a price and a value prop or they’ll fire me and hire an intelligent chimpanzee who wears a hat. However, to me that is secondary. I can always come up with something that shows you your ROI is ‘X’ dollars over ‘Y’ years. That’s the perceived value argument.
But in reality, I’ll get better customer response and eventually sales if I discover the pain points and resolve them. Like a human body, when you’re freed from pains, you can focus on what matters and be productive. The difficulty is that pain is relative. No one likes pain (at least in business) and everyone’s is different. Sales, engineering, development, administration all have unique pains, so my job is to find out specific pains, and alleviate them. In this case with software.
As for my Unity product, all we do is focus on alleviating business pains but it’s hard to put that into a monetary value.
Additionally, the question I have to ask is, regardless of the value, is your pain big enough that you need this solution? I am assuming it does otherwise we wouldn’t be doing this development. From a marketing/value prop perspective, I have to find a way to make it obvious that you don’t want to let your pain get so bad that you’re desperate for help. Let me help you before you’re hooked on consulting fees, physiotherapy and meds.
So where’s the value, you ask? Let me answer it this way. Focus on removing the pains first, the deal with the value later. Freedom from business pain is perhaps the greatest value.