One of the toughest challenges any company in the telecom, IT, and cloud industries has is to differentiate itself. No one’s a Tesla or an Apple. No one’s Thomas Edison or Alexander Graham Bell. Businesses in the channel have to offer different flavors of the same thing and try to carve out a niche where possible. This is where the importance of a unique selling proposition (USP) comes in.
We’ve spoken to countless channel companies that either say they have no idea what makes them unique or there is nothing unique about them. Frankly, if you don’t think there is anything unique about your business, you’re at a big disadvantage. You’ll never be able to convince anyone your business is special enough to work with in the sea of other companies that do exactly what you do. Think of how many agents, cloud providers, master agents, broadband experts, and MSPs are out there. You need to have your USP on hand to tell a person – in one to two sentences – what makes your business different and better. Read on for tips on what to think about when establishing why your business is unique and then how to create your USP.
First, what is a USP?
Entrepreneur.com’s encyclopedia defines a unique selling proposition as:
The factor or consideration presented by a seller as the reason that one product or service is different from and better than that of the competition.
Step 1. Ask questions.
Consider the following in your first brainstorming session:
- What’s your company’s story? (When and why was your company founded?)
- How do you respond to the question: What does your company do?
- Why do you do what you do? What motivates you?
These are basic starters to get the gears turning on what gets you up in the morning.
Step 2. Ask more questions.
- Are you the first, only, or largest of anything?
- What makes you different from your competitors?
- What are the top 3 benefits of working with your company?
Step 3. And… to get really specific:
- Do you focus on any vertical markets?
- Do you focus on a specific geographical region?
- Do you have one or a few top states in which you do business?
Mojenta’s current USP reads as such: Mojenta is the first and only full-service agency focused exclusively on the telecom space.
In that statement, you’ll see we’ve addressed the “first and only” question as well as the focus on vertical markets. These are the elements that make us one of a kind. Of course, there are many more, but your USP is a sentence or two that will capture the attention of the prospect. You can fill in more about why you’re awesome later.
The questions above are designed to draw out the unique characteristics of your business. After you answer them, you might find points you hadn’t considered to be unique. For example, if you wrote that your company was founded in 1972, you are the largest provider of telecom expense management in Scrumblebumble, Texas, and you know you’re different from your competitors because you have a 99% customer retention rate, those are all vital components of a USP. That business’s USP could look something like this:
GrapePlum Solutions is the largest provider of telecom expense management in Scrumblebumble, Texas and has saved customers around the country millions in technology costs. Founded in 1972, we have a multi-decade 99% customer retention rate and are dedicated to finding savings for our customers with free initial audits.
Some of the most important points to consider are:
- Longevity. If you’ve been around longer than others, point it out.
- Experience. Do you and your business partner have over 50 years of combined experience helping businesses aggregate broadband? Have you helped 300+ customers? Say so!
- First, only, largest. These adjectives are irrefutable. They are not subjective, and they can be proven true or false in absolute terms. Those qualities make them extremely powerful for your USP.
Pro tip: As you can see, introducing numbers into your USP gives you a big leg up. Any dollar amounts or numbers of years you can point to really help!
What if you don’t have any hard figures to point out that make your business special? There are plenty of other qualifiers. Perhaps your business was started by an industry veteran who worked for IBM in the old days. Maybe your team of two is the first company of its size to achieve [fill in the blank]. Or your offering itself may stand out as particularly innovative among the droves of other providers.
If you’re still having trouble, get an unbiased third party to interview partners and customers of yours. The opinions of people you have working relationships with will shed light on what you’re not thinking of. We do this for our clients all the time, and the responses are often surprising. They can get the gears turning so you can begin wrapping your mind around a dynamite unique selling proposition.
Questions about your USP or branding in general? Contact us today. We’re here to help.