In 1999, NASA’s $125 Million Mars Climate Orbiter was forever lost in space because one team of scientists measured in metric and the other team used English imperial. While this fundamental lack of communication on NASA’s part is laughable, the loss of potential customers due to an inability to effectively communicate the benefits of their products and services is no laughing matter for many companies in today’s high-tech industries.
This is particularly true of the Big Data and Ad Tech industries where companies are faced with the challenge of pitching the value proposition of complex tools and technologies in a language that a broader audience of business execs can understand. Often these pitches overhype the tech, relying too much on lengthy explanations, fancy terms, and “inside” acronyms that only confuse the client and cloud the real benefits of the product or service being offered.
For those in any high-tech industry struggling to increase market share, here are 5 tips to better communicate your company’s benefits to potential customers.
1. Know your company’s value proposition
You can’t clearly convey the benefits of doing business with your company to anyone else if you don’t know your company’s value proposition yourself. What this means is having a thorough understanding of what problem your tech product or service solves, whom your target customer is, and how your solution provides unique benefits that set it apart from all the others in your industry. A clear and concise value proposition is an essential step for delivering a more focused, targeted and effective pitch to the right potential customers.
2. Use a short and simple story
Now that you know your company’s value proposition, incorporating it into a simple story is a very effective communication tool. A compelling story starts off with a character that is facing the same problem that the potential customer faces. Say, for example, that the story begins with a company that was losing market share to bigger companies that have the funds to leverage sophisticated big data analytics tools.
Next, the story tells how your company’s cloud based analytics solution solved that problem by giving the struggling company an effective and affordable means to attract, interact with and engage customers in real-time. If you’ve done your job, the story will help your potential customer relate to this problem so they’ll want to hear more about your company. That’s the time to bullet-point the three main benefits your business provides—that helped the company you’ve been telling them about—benefits that make your company unique in the industry. Finally, close your story by inviting the prospective company to see how your company can solve their problem, just as you solved the problem for the company in your story. The key is to keep your story short, simple, and conversational, allowing you to explain your technology as effortlessly as possible.
3. Provide definitions
Effective communication happens only when both parties clearly understand what is being said. Therefore, you should never assume that the prospective customer is familiar with the terms and acronyms that are commonly bandied about in your tech industry. If such terms are used, such as Hadoop, Hive, Pig, Spark, and SQL, be sure to define them in ways that the non-tech savvy can understand.
4. Focus on the benefits
In making presentations, it’s easy for those in the tech industry to get caught up in how the technology works instead of focusing on the benefits to the consumer. With some exceptions, prospective customers of tech solutions really don’t care how the technology works; they mainly want to know that it is going to bring them the benefits and quantifiable results that they are looking for. Your job is to focus on those benefits, leaving no question in the customer’s mind about what your company can do for them.
5. Address privacy concerns
Potential customers may not vocalize it, but the constant attention given by the media to security breaches of small companies, big box stores, and now high-profile banks, has them thinking about just how secure their private data and that of their customers will be if they entrust it to your company’s technology. Good communication means acknowledging that your potential customers may have these privacy concerns and addressing them directly to dissuade any fears they might have.
Regardless of the tech industry they are in, companies that use these tips to better communicate what they are about will gain customers who see their technologies—not as complex, confusing and disruptive—but as valuable tools they can use to drive profits and create competitive advantage.