The concept of Value in Services – 3

B2B, Sales, services

I had written two posts earlier on this topic. I wanted to explore a couple of other things to get this topic to a logical end.

We are clear that the value is what the customer thinks it’s worth. But there are a couple of other components – one is the price and the other is your cost of providing the service. One thing that I have learnt with service projects, in B2B customers, is that, they always take longer than planned. And costing is always done on the plan.

Since most of us are under pressure to pick up the deal, we don’t like the idea of putting in buffers for the project going over time, because we are afraid that competition will pick up the order because of the increase in price.

The over runs generally happen in the final stages of the project. If you were to think of the full project as an elephant walking through a gate, then, generally all the components of the project – the trunk, the ears, the 4 legs, everything comes out but the the tail gets stuck in the gate for some reason or the other.

This is the time that the final User Acceptance is getting done and because the user feels that she should not miss anything, she tries to ensure that all the “t”s are crossed and all the “I”s are dotted.

This is where your costs go higher than you had budgeted. The resources that you had thought will get off the project, can’t leave the project to start on another one. That is the people. Then there are the pieces of equipment and tools that are getting used in the project. You will be paying for all this. Without realising, slowly the actual profit starts falling.

The customer doesn’t realise this. If you take the argument of cost over-run to the procurement person, he will find all kinds of reasons to put you on the back foot and in most cases never pay-up.

So you need to figure out a way to ensure that your “Costs” actually take this into account when you give the “Price” to the customer and you need to figure out a way to show the “Value” to the customer. You also need to be clear on the process of signing off the project from the customer end. What kind of tests will they get done, what kind of reports will be needed, the kind of dashboards that will be needed. List out all the points up front while closing the order.

Till next time then …. make more profits

Carpe Diem!!!

Price versus value, cost versus value- Part 2

Positioning, Value, value proposition

Apple is a perfect example of value in the mind of the user.

In my last post on this topic I had written about how value like beauty is in the eyes/mind of the user.

No one knows to exploit this better than Apple. You have seen photos of people queuing up in front of Apple stores hours before the opening to buy the newest iPhone to be launched.

I am not an iPhone user but we do use Apple computers at home. And when my last MacBook Air’s battery started giving me problems I decided to buy a new one. This was October last year. When we started looking, the first thing we noticed that Apple was intending to come out with a new processor based system soon. This processor would reduce battery usage by a fraction and performance was atleast 2 times more. So instead of immediately buying the readily available product we decided to wait because we saw value in that. Eventhough we also knew the price points would be much higher.

The M1 chip MacBook was launched sometime November last year in the US, but it was not available in India till April this year. And then the second wave of Covid hit India and everything was in lockdown. So again we waited. Finally we got our new Apple M1 MacBook Air in June end.

If you can create a position in the minds of the target audience, then cost becomes a secondary factor, it is the value that the customer perceives which makes all the difference.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Price versus value, cost versus value

differentiation, Marketing, Positioning, Product Management, Value, value proposition

This is a pertinent question in marketing or sales. I keep getting the statement – the price is too high – compared to what?

Does anyone going to a Ritz Carlton or a Four Season hotel say the price of the room is too high. Does anyone who is buying a Roll Royce or Lamborghini ever say the price is too high. For a lot of people the Mona Lisa is just another painting, but for a lot of others it could have huge value hence its kept under so much security unlike another painting in the Louvre museum.

I think its the marketing and sales teams’ responsibility to position the offering that they have, correctly. This does not mean that there won’t be competitive situations. Especially in technology marketing where the entry barriers are very low, the competition heats up very fast.

Even in technology companies though you will see that there are disruptors who come in and take away a large share of the market suddenly but companies like IBM , Oracle and others who continue working on giving more value to their customers and charging a distinct price differential.

The key point that needs to come out is Value. Like beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, value is specific to the buyer. Unlike Gold which has a fixed value defined, most other things like houses, shares etc. all have relative value. For one person who is selling a share the value is less than the price he is selling it at, while the buyer is seeing more value than the price she is paying for it, hence she is buying it.

Similarly if the customer see the value that you offer for your product same as what someone else offers, then the only differential is price that the customer can work on.

One of the best ways to reduce the cost/price value argument is to educate the customer so she sees you as the authority on the subject. I have shared multiple posts on how education has eliminated the price discussion from the buyer’s mind altogether.

Other ways off course include things like the ecosystem – if you are part of a proprietary ecosystem than you have very little competition – IBM Mainframes , Apple and others have very strong ecosystems and the discussion on just price does not take place.

The key for any marketing or product management person is simple they have to be able to build the value of the product or service in the minds of the customer preferably through education. For the sales person its important to identify and understand the value that the customer is looking for before easing time on a deal.

As I said earlier “VALUE” lies in the mind of the person buying.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!