Your customers are overloaded with options.
With so many reputable companies to choose from, making sure what you’re offering is unique and valuable to them—and marketed appropriately—is crucial for setting your brand apart from the competition.
This is called your unique selling proposition (USP). Your USP is the single, clinching difference between your brand and your competitors. It can be anything from a catchy statement to an entire campaign that boasts what is special about you. Whether it’s the quality of your products or services, the cost, your experience in the industry, or something else, it’s crucial to nail down what your USP is.
Sounds simple, right? It should be, but making sure you’re articulating that USP to your customers—and your sales and marketing teams—is the critical next step.
This article will walk you through how to do both.
Create Traction with a Strong USP
To get anyone on board with your USP, it needs to be compelling. While “unique” is in the acronym, don’t get hung up on that factor alone. Your services and offerings may be unique, but ultimately, if your customer isn’t interested, your message won’t land.
What differentiates your brand from the competition should be something that potential customers are actively searching for, and you need to articulate that message plainly.
That’s why the first step of developing your USP is to determine what it is your customers are searching for. This could be a factor that keeps them from pursuing other brands. Are they hung up on price? Is there not enough industry backing for the product or service? Is customer support lacking among the competition? That hold-up might very well be your point of differentiation.
Second, make sure your USP is something you can actually defend. It goes without saying that your point should be true, but more to the point, it should be something you can build upon to use as leverage against the competition. For example, saying “We’re less expensive than the competition” isn’t memorable, and depending on your industry could be proven false if your competitors run sales or can prove cost-savings in the long run.
Third, while your USP should be memorable, don’t rely on a slogan alone to do all the work. Make sure that your USP feeds into all areas of marketing, from your promotional work to social media to sales pitches.
Now comes the tricky part: How do you funnel that USP into both sales and marketing? And what are sales and marketing supposed to do with your USP? Let’s cover both those questions.
Sales and Marketing’s Responsibilities in Using Your USP
Now that you’ve created a strong, defensible, and memorable USP, you need to get that message to the people responsible for putting it out in the world: sales and marketing. But first, you—and both teams—need to define responsibilities to ensure effective delivery.
Marketing is often the first team involved. They’re responsible for using your USP in marketing materials, such as eBooks, social media posts, blogs, campaigns, webinars, and the like. Keep a single source of truth for your USP, such as a document, and share it widely, so every entity in marketing is aware of it and can easily reference it when needed.
Sales is responsible for executing customer interactions using the materials marketing creates, but you shouldn’t rely on that material alone to educate your sales team on what your USP is. Host informative discussions with both parties, but sales in particular, to ensure they can effectively relate the message to your customers. Give room for questions and provide opportunities for pushback. If your sales team needs to read off a script to sell your USP, it might be a sign that it’s unnatural or difficult to pitch.
Evaluating and Improving Your Teams’ Knowledge
You’ve created your USP. You’ve sent the message as clearly as you can to your sales and marketing teams. Now, you need to figure out if they’re really “getting” it.
One simple way to assess your teams’ knowledge is by sending out a short survey. The survey could be as brief as one fill-in-the-blank question, but the purpose should be to gauge how comfortable your team is with your USP and if they could pitch the message confidently and succinctly. You could even ask your teams to relate the USPS back to you in the form of an elevator pitch and see if they’re comprehending the message beyond just memorizing what it is.
If you’re concerned your teams may be struggling with the message, there are two reasons you can consider. First, the USP itself just may not be that great. Perhaps it’s too clunky, convoluted, or doesn’t resonate with the audience. If this is the case, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. But more likely than not, the problem is that you haven’t explained the message clearly.
Rather than reiterating points, you can crowdsource questions from the larger sales and marketing group to determine where people are having issues. Is the message too vague? Is the message too much of a stretch? Is the message overlooking an important proof point? Develop succinct answers to these questions, and leave room for follow-up.
If all goes well, you’ll have created, implemented, and activated your USP. Then, it’s time to see if it’s actually making an impact.
Determining the Success of Your USP
Once your USP has had time to soak in the market, now’s the time to look at the data to determine effectiveness.
Look back at your key performance indicators (KPIs) to see how the data is aligning. See if your email, social media, and paid media campaigns are getting the clicks and engagement you need. See if your downloadables are actually getting read. See which pages are being clicked on and where readers fall off.
Then, determine areas for improvement. The raw data is helpful here, but it’s equally valuable to bring together your sales and marketing minds to see what the process has been like in executing your USP strategy. Assess how you can continue to help your team build their knowledge and brainstorm new ways to spread your USP.
How Leadership Makes the Difference
Even the best prep work, talent, and message can fall short without proper guidance. That’s because your USP is more than a message—it’s an ongoing project that involves cooperation from sales and marketing.
To make sure your message is tight, your articulation is clear, and your execution is on point, a CMO is often the go-to leader. If you’re struggling to find that level of expertise, a Fractional CMO may be exactly what you’re looking for. A Fractional CMO becomes a member of your team, getting to develop your USP alongside you and help identify potential pitfalls before you encounter them.
yorCMO offers the most cost-effective marketing services you can get from top-seasoned marketing professionals. You get paired up with the right CMO for your organization, and they focus on:
- Getting to know your customers and marketplaces
- Creating a targeted USP strategy
- Making sure your USP is articulated and executed
- Setting priorities to keep your brand on track
What Comes Next?
Getting your USP out in the market isn’t just a matter of creating a slogan and clicking “send.” It’s an involved, dedicated process that requires effort from both sales and marketing.
If you’re curious how well your current USP is faring, how your sales and marketing teams are working in tandem to get the message out there, or just want to see where your overall marketing strategy could use a boost, check out our quick, 10-question marketing assessment.
You’ll get an overview of your current performance, and then one of our experts will reach out to you with guidance on what to improve, how, and what your path forward should look like.