How to create a USP in B2B business: from theory to practice

How to create a USP in B2B business segment: from theory to practice. USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is a promise to the target audience of positive changes.

What is a USP and what is it used for? USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is the basis of any marketing project, it is a promise to the target audience to change the situation, solve the problem, bring the company to another level of competitiveness.

A unique selling proposition should create an imbalance between price and value in the minds of your target audience. Imagine that on one side of the customer’s scale is the price of your product, and on the other side is the value. Your unique offering should resonate in the customer’s mind so they want to do business with you.

How to form the USP in B2B segment

The approach to developing and deploying the USP in B2C is fundamentally different from that in B2B. The B2B market is characterized by complex expert selling and a long transaction cycle. Therefore, we can talk not only about the product, but also about the uniqueness and specifics of your company’s business processes. People also make decisions in the B2B segment. So, focus your USP on the specific B2B customer who works for the company, not on the company as a whole.

In the consumer sector, the USP usually consists of product features and their benefits, which are interpreted according to the feature-benefit principle. In contrast, in B2B, the sales proposition is often formed from factors other than the product or service itself. Make meaningful differences from competitors, not “improved similarities”, use simple and meaningful points.

The USP should be based on the following:

  • An understanding of the target audience (decision makers).
  • Understanding of the problem that keeps them awake.
  • Knowledge of the product selection criteria.
  • An understanding of the decision making process

The USP in B2B may include:

  • specific technologies to produce a product or provide a service;
  • the level of customer service and professionals that influence the process of providing services or manufacturing a product;
  • the delivery time of the product or service;
  • the availability of the product in stock;
  • additional customer support after the purchase;
  • additional education of the customer about the product;
  • how much cost you save for your customers;
  • how it improves the efficiency of the company;
  • and so on — the imagination knows no bounds here.

Don’t use STOP words

If you want to offer the market a personalized approach and high quality services, you will lose time and money with such a unique selling proposition. A list of words that should not be used as UTP in B2B under any circumstances:

  • high quality;
  • low price;
  • high reliability;
  • individual approach;
  • flexible conditions;
  • low price;
  • and so on.

Don’t use words that aren’t specific. Avoid adjectives in the superlative and all judgmental phrases such as “best,” “first-class,” “outstanding,” “unique”. Make the USP out of the audience’s problem. Marketing starts with a clear understanding of your customers’ fears. Find out what your customers are really buying. You’ll be surprised – it’s not your product, it’s the solution to their problems. Companies and business people solve problems first, so work out the problematic aspects of your competitors’ products and hit their weak spot.

I recommend building a USP based on the customer’s problem. The problem is what bothers the customer at the moment, and the additional benefit is something intangible in the future that will occur under certain conditions.

Konstantin Tyesov

Quality criteria of the USP in B2B

  1. Conciseness. Summarize your USP briefly and clearly in one paragraph. Do not try to cram everything into one sentence. Do not overload, do not use different meanings that require proof and justification.
  2. Content. What you say should be important and appeal to the target audience’s feelings.
  3. Clarity. Avoid complicated sentences, even if it’s a B2B segment. The human brain is always better at remembering simple truths and statements. If you have to think, attention is turned off or the effectiveness of the USP decreases.
  4. Numbers. Every business is based on numbers and calculations. Your offer must express the benefits in numbers and back them up with evidence. If you say that you will reduce costs by 30%, you should back it up with an example.
  5. Evidence. Each benefit you claim must be supported by a real-world example, project indicators, research results, etc. It is desirable that it is an example from the customer’s world.
  6. Problem statements. Try to apply “pressure” where it hurts. Your advertising message should contain a high degree of liveliness to arouse the interest of the target audience.

How do you create an ideal USP?

The paradox is that it does not exist. I am not going to describe the formulas and approaches for creating USP. You can study them yourself, there is enough information about it. The most important point I would like to mention at the end of the article is testing the unique selling proposition for each target audience.

Yes, there is no perfect USP. It is a tool that is constantly evolving and adapting to the conditions of the market and the needs of your target audience. Also, the USP must be tested on the website, in the commercial offer and in other media that interact with the attention of your customers.

Algorithm of work with USP:

  • Identify your target audience;
  • Identify the problems you solve and the promises you make;
  • Create multiple USPs for the target audience and test them in the media;
  • Identify the USP with the highest conversion, fix it, and move on;
  • Next, find a new hypothesis and test it in the same way.

In the long run, this approach brings phenomenal results in our marketing projects. I am sure it will work for your business as well.

Journal: “Sales Management №12.2021”.
Article: “How to create a USP in B2B business: from theory to practice”.
Author: Konstantin Tyesov, Managing Director, Uwindi Agency.

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