A Unique Selling Proposition is a short statement that summarizes your company or software solution’s distinctive character. The USP should be the answer to the question: What makes your software solution or service so different from that of your competitors?
We will guide you through a small, 4 stepped exercise that will help you formulate a Unique Selling Position that will set your company, service or software solution apart from the competition.
1. Make an inventory
Start with the basics and make an inventory. Dive into your business plan, mission statement, market anylysis or other recourses you can find and answer the following questions:
- What are you selling?
- Who is your target audience?
- What problem do you solve?
- Why should they choose you?
- What will you promise to do?
For example: when it comes to a web-based project management application like Trello (we do not work with Trello, but we think this SaaS company is a very inspiring example) the answers to the questions would be:
- What? A web-based project management application.
- Who? Collaborating teams.
- What problem do you solve? Organize the often messy range of information that feeds into great teamwork.
- Why should they choose you? Because the Trello software let’s you create a visual overview of what is being worked on and who is working on it. Accessible from anywhere, at any time, on any device.
- What will you promise to do? Changing the way teams work.
2. Solve that problem
After you have a clear view on the basics it is time to explain how your company, service or solution will solve the target audience’s problem(s).
As you have seen, our example Trello focusses on solving the problem of the messy range of information when it comes to working together as a team. We can’t imagine working without such a tool these days, but back in 2011 when Trello was originally launched at TechCrunch Disrupt it was THE solution to every collaborating teams’ obstacle. They instantly solved the problem AND added value to their target audiences (working) live.
3. Differentiate and provide a unique solution
This is the step that will set your company or solution apart of your competitors. If you offer the exact same product as your competitor and you are the cheapest provider, you’re lucky. But this is probably not the case. So look for ways that will differentiate your solution from the competition. This step is crucial because the value you point out here will be one of the main reasons your prospects will choose your company over your competitors.
In Trello’s case, they developed a visual collaboration tool that enables teams of all sizes to get things done, in a fun and flexible way.
4. Wrap it up & make a promise
In the final step we’ll combine all elements and formulate a brief statement that will express the value your company has to offer. If we go back to our example company, their USP statement would be:
‘Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance,Trello tells you what’s being worked on, who’s working on what, and where something is in a process.’
Great example of a powerful Unique Selling Proposition
While spitting through a lot of corporate information about our example company Trello, we found out that one of the pro’s of the software is the ability to restore items within the project (‘board’) you are working on. So in case you remove something by accident, you can always get it back. By now, most online management tools have this ability, but let’s say this was not the case with our example company back when they first started. And while reevaluating their strategy, Trello found out this specific issue was one of the problems their users wanted to have fixed. And let’s say Trello developed the solution to the problem within their software, this would be a great example of a powerful and inspiring USP within a software solution.
From startup to scale up to playing with the big boys
Fun fact: as of 2017, former start up Trello joined forces with Atlassian. From start up to scale up to playing with the big boys. Moral of the story: those carefully developed USP’s might lead your company to places you would not dare to dream of right now. So get started right away!