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In a recent conference organized by the CFA Institute in Santiago, Aswath Damodaran (New York University Professor and probably one of the most prestigious figures in corporate finance and asset valuation), established that many of today’s valuations are being jeopardized by hyperbolic, magnificent and marketing related concepts. In fact, words such as “synergy”, “strategic”, “sustainability” and “China” sometimes work as “smoke screens” when evaluating assets to provide strength for that beloved concept called “goodwill”.
Damodaran has called these expressions “Mass Distraction Weapons” of the Corporate World and a relevant threat in any valuation process.
Unfortunately, corporate finance is not the only industry who has suffered from this threat. Today, most of the companies use this “weapons” as part of their sales and marketing strategy, looking for a special bond with its clients as well as strategy to reach those others whose mission and vision theoretically “match” with the company’s value proposition.
Mining, energy and infrastructure suppliers, as well as many B2B companies, are getting contagious from this sickness, undermining the company’s real goal (which is of course creating value for all the stakeholders) by creating false expectations, being unable to perform its own value proposition and being differentiated only by price when the negotiation arrives.
As we already know, those pretentious messages that say a lot (but actually say nothing), are constructed after the complex process of “Positioning Declaration”, which is basically that elaboration process that puts the mission and vision on the ground. Unfortunately, this process gets full of abstractions and ornamentations, making the company’s value proposition unlikely distinguishable a probably characterized by the client as “another commodity Company” (without of course, being one).
Company are struggling to impose rather to understand the client. And understanding the client is everything! Just like Claudio Saavedra says on his novel book “El Desafío del Marketing para empresas industriales”, the “industrial client is a colleague… Treating with a colleague means experience on site, scientific preparation, respect, iteration and a certain degree of modesty”.
Client orientation through the product must be the cause of every sales executive inside B2B industry. Without product, there’s no client, and without client there’s no chance to improve the product because there’s an opportunity of adjustment and improvement once the product is deployed. The final user is an endless source of information once the product meets the original expectations: from that point there’s only improvement and new opportunities in a virtuous cycle.
As an overview: not because B2B sales cycles are longer and more complex doesn’t mean we need to decorate our value proposition. The simplicity of the message will make our client easily understands how we can create value inside its organization.
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