Teardown: Xerox value messaging

Xerox went from competing on price to selling value. Find out how their messaging fits the Value Nugget framework to link product features and benefits with values and proof points.

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Do you know the story of how Xerox went from selling printers to selling improved student performance?

It’s a masterclass in the switch from selling features to selling value.

A summary:

  • Xerox were struggling to sell their premium products in the K12 education sector

  • Sales reps and marketers focused on technical features and benefits; more vibrant colors, the latest tech, and less waste

  • But their customers still bought on price, often in a competitive bid situation

  • They knew they needed to change the story using customer insights

  • After surveying customers, they found that their buyers were focused on outcomes that increase student performance

  • After further research and creative thinking, they arrived at a compelling value proposition: color printouts help students perform better in school

  • They surveyed customers and students to back this claim up with data: 77% said color helped them focus and remember things better

  • Rather than selling technical features, their reps could sell a solution to a critical challenge

  • Rather than competing on price, their reps are able to have high-urgency, non-competitive conversations with buyers who are motivated to pay a premium

Want to learn more? Read The Challenger Customer or check out this recap.

The Xerox example presents two interesting takeaways for B2B SaaS companies.

Firstly, Xerox found success when they changed their narrative away from technical features and solutions to helping customers achieve value.

Remember what value is?

A value is an element that your customer wants to attain that:

  1. Is useful

  2. Is worth the effort (cost, time, energy)

  3. Is a priority for them

Read more: What is value?

And secondly, they didn’t just lead with a marketing message - they linked the value they delivered, through to product benefits, through to features, and backed it up with proof points.

I call this hierarchy a value nugget.

A value nugget is a way to package up your product features and benefits, while providing a clear hierarchy to navigate effortlessly in sales conversations and marketing.

A value nugget is comprised of:

  • A value: an attribute or state that the buyer hopes to attain…

  • One or more benefits: the advantage a buyer gets when using your product.…

  • Benefits are gained via features: a specific piece of functionality that’s used by your customer…

  • Benefits are justified through proof: stats or testimonials that can be highlighted to provide social proof, additional context, and evidence that it works…

You can move through the value nugget by asking ‘why’ and ‘how’. This makes it easier to train a narrative and talk track that can be navigated in real-time.

Read more: Crafting strong messaging with value nuggets

Value nugget teardown

I wanted to give a quick example of how a value nugget can be used to provide the basis for strong messaging.

I’ve extracted different elements from Xerox’s latest K12 Education datasheet and transposed them into the value nugget framework. I’ve tried to distill elements using closely-located copy from the datasheet to show the relationships between the value that’s being communicated through to the proof-points being used.

Here, we’re looking at two distinct values:

  1. Broadening the spectrum of learning in the classroom

  2. Provide the best possible educational experiences while managing year-over-year budget pressures

Let’s take the second example and use the ‘how’ method to travel down the elements.

Moving down by asking ‘how’:

  • We help K12 educators to provide the best possible educational experiences while managing year-over-year budget pressures (value)

  • How? Educational institutions can:

    • Incorporate more color without adding more costs (benefit)

      • How? Through on-demand printing (feature)

      • How? 50% cost savings by printing what they needed, when they needed it in-house (proof point)

    • Encourage higher student performance (benefit)

      • How? By printing full-color workbooks (feature)

      • How? Because reading comprehension is 14% better with color (proof point)

      Get up to speed in no time (benefit)

      • How? Our printer has a small footprint, is high-output, scalable, and complementary with existing devices (feature)

      • How? Our customers see a 25% increase in productivity (proof point)

How could you use value nuggets in your messaging?

Although not a perfect example due to limited information (just one datasheet!), hopefully you can see how the value nugget framework works to connect product features to tangible benefits to aspirational value - and back your claims up with proof.

Instead of training teams with details they won’t use - or will forget! - value nuggets provide an opportunity to distill your product into a format that’s memorable with a hierarchy that can be traversed in real-time.

With this teardown, I hope you can see how value nuggets provide one way to package your product features, benefits and value into easily-consumable bites of insight.

Improving your messaging - and empowering others to tell it successfully - means your sales reps and marketers will be more focused, more confident, and build momentum.

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