If you’re a dog owner and your clothing is routinely covered with pet hair, do you reach for the generic lint roller or do you buy the “pet hair pick up,” a product that’s basically a lint roller with a picture of a dog on the label? Most dog owners will choose the pet hair pick-up because it speaks to their specific need. The lint roller manufacturers have figured out that they can generate more revenue by marketing the same product to a whole new segment — pet owners — under a clever new name.

Take that same concept into the B2B world and you have vertical market messaging for products and services that have value across many industries. It’s the best of both worlds. You’re driving growth by communicating more relevant and more targeted value propositions while maximizing your economies of scale at the product level.

For most B2B organizations, adopting this approach yields nothing but upside, especially if your products and services are a commodity or will be soon.

Vertical Marketing & Sales

On the marketing and sales front, it’s no secret that the best (most relevant) story wins the majority of the time. When messaging is highly relevant to the business goals and challenges of each vertical market, the products are perceived as more unique and therefore more valuable to the customer. That same messaging also helps the sales force talk the talk more credibly to ensure continuity between the marketing messages and the sales process, and that credibility may the one thing that ultimately differentiates you from the competition.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re a vice president of human resources for a US-based hospital, would you be more likely to buy talent management and benefits solutions that…

  1. improve HCAHPS scores (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) because they have capabilities for finding and retaining top-notch clinical staff, or solutions that…
  2. are integrated, scalable and maximize the potential of your workforce?

It’s a no-brainer, just like the lint roller versus the pet hair pick-up. The “improve HCAPS” message will win 80% of the time as long as the product capabilities offer strong enough proof points to the value statement.

Horizontal Products

On the product front, there are two layers to the equation.

  1. For new products, most companies start with features that are common to every market and then sprinkle in features that are specific to certain markets over time.
  2. The second consideration is the various combinations of products — the integrated solutions — that together, meet broader needs that are more strategic to customers.

It’s that second layer, the integrated solutions, that are most critical because they require a deeper understanding of customer workflows that cross users and functional departments. The solution providers that truly have differentiating value built into their products are extremely good at this part. They understand that integrating multiple functions such as hiring and on-boarding, has more customer value than best-of-breed products for either hiring or on-boarding.

In a world where products and services are quickly commoditized, it’s hard enough to differentiate let alone meet your organization’s highly aggressive growth goals. How much incremental revenue could you generate if you just communicated more relevant value propositions and helped customers better integrate their disparate silos and workflows?

Since 2001 the Proficientz has offered the only product management framework and training programs that help B2B and B2B2C organizations drive growth by managing, marketing and selling integrated solutions that have exponentially more value than any single product.

Contact us today if your products are (becoming) a commodity and you need to make the transition from products to solutions to meet your organization’s aggressive growth goals.