How I Broke the Code for Advanced Value Proposition Design

By Daniel Nilsson on January 29, 2016

Two totally different prospects and only one message 

2013 I started to work for Mentice, a company designing medical simulation software and hardware for endovascular procedures. My new job was a real challenge for me. First of all I have never worked in health, secondly the vertical is heavily regulated and for the third I did not have a clue what endovascular was.

Luckily I had great colleagues that taught me that endovascular is when you do operations inside the blood vesels. It is actually really clever since you can reach all parts of the body from the toes to the hearth and the brain. The technology saves many lives and Mentice provides a system where physicians can train and improve their skills.

The issue for me was that there was multiple and very different target groups. The first one is medical training centers that are connected to hospitals where physicians can improve their skills. At the centers Mentice want to reach training managers and actual users. The second is the medical device industry that invents new products and need Mentice help creating a marketing tool for the new procedure and in addition an education concept. Medical device companies are in general very large and they are organised differently, where the Mentice customer could be the education, marketing, sales or product development department. All these different target groups are looking for different outcomes, have different objectives and are organised differently.

The issue is that no matter how many target groups you have. You still only have one corporate web site where the start page can only tell one story. It was my job at Mentice to find this story and it was one of the biggest challenges I ever had in front of me. My CEO told me when I started that it took him 5 years before he really understood the business. I had a tough quest in front of me.

How I found a great Value Proposition story

As I see it there was 5 important steps I took to come up with a great value proposition story.

1. I did some basic interviews

A year before I started at Mentice, I created a process for creating a really good Value Proposition. Once I started my new job I choose to use Tool 1, Value proposition Designer by Osterwalder. I interviewed key people, trying to understand the customers jobs, pains and gains. During my interviews I never defined exactly who the customer was. I simply said the customer. I spent two hours per person and when I was finished I collected all data first per person and then I did a collected report for all my interviews. Finally I created a report where I tried to sort up all information into multiple key value propositions. All this data gave me a base to better understand the customers and how to communicate to them.

2. I learned more about the product 

As soon as I started to learn more about the business and the customers I realised that the support and service department needed some extra love. Customers got suport but only during business hours and only if they called the support personell directly. I helped Mentice to set up a support portal, write articles, upload manuals and we started to create movies and educational material. The portal was a great success for the customers. During 2015 the portal had over 4800 visitors and a better and more professional support experience was delivered. Best part is that customers could get proactive support on how to better use the system and how to avoid problems.

3. I attended conferences and met customers

My most creative ideas, come to me when I meet customers and discuss their issues. At a conference I met a new customer that said they are now trying to create a curricula for the simulator. Then it hit me. I will facilitate so we will help the customers with this issue. I got in contact with a brilliant guy that helped me create a whitepaper on How to create a Curricula for healthcare simulation. It was a brilliant paper and it has generated a lot of leads and helped customers to build better training programs.

By attending conferences, standing in the Mentice booth, attend customer events, by being out there, discussing and talking, I was able to create a base of deeper understanding for the customers and who they are.

4. I did Business model canvas and value proposition workshops

After working for Mentice for 1,5 years it was finally time to implement a new webpage. I had prepared everything by implementing a CRM system, update all data, do integration into a support system and help the salesforce to start using the system. New contacts was added and updated. It was time to come up with the brilliant value proposition for the front page.

To create more insight and better understanding for the business I did a two day workshop where we developed  business model canvas and value propositions. This time I choose to focus on specific target customers when we developed our models. The result was a much deeper understanding of the customers job, pains and gains.

5. Discussions with colleagues and idea testing

There is not really an exact moment when I got the idea for the core value proposition. It kind of grew and suddenly it was there. I had been thinking about what is the common base of all Mentice customers? What do they have in common? I was at a conference standing at the Mentice booth discussing with a colleague. I got a new idea and discussed with him. The idea got stuck and suddenly I had it.

The result

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The idea and concept are that all Mentice customers was passionate about the same thing. The hospitals, the doctors, the trainers and the medical device industry had the same objective in one way or another. They all want to save lives and reduce suffering.

During my time at Mentice there have many times been a discussion about prospects that don’t believe in training or that demands extreme proof even though research clearly show very good results from training. They are doubting. Instead of focusing on the doubters I wanted to focus on the people that was passionate. The customers I met at conferences and training centers. The customers that believe that by being more skilled you will save more lives.

After testing different combinations of words it was decided that Mentice core value proposition is “Achieving Endovascular Excellence”. The outcome a customer can expect from being a customer of Mentice, is to improve their skills and to achieve excellence. To tap into the idea of a endovascular community we added a tag line “We passionately support our customers’ mission to save lives”. I wanted to create the feeling that Mentice is a club for the ones that want to be better and that believe in excellence.

Once I had this core message I could start to create the general story of how healthcare is challenged, that simulation makes a difference, that Mentice has a solution to the problem and then guide the customers to sub pages that discuss detailed value propositions depending on if the prospect is representing a training center or healthcare industry.

Do you want to learn how to create great Value Propositions? 

I have created below SlideShare that explains how to create a Value Proposition for B2B. I hope you find it useful.