A year ago, I had the opportunity to work with the sales leadership of a mid-sized insurance service company.
During our briefing sessions, my counterparts described their organisation in the highest words. They claimed having the best-in-class processes, top-notch technology, the largest medical network and best relationship with their providers.
I had no doubt at all to believe them and must honestly admit they definitely played at the higher end in terms of capabilities.
A quote from the client brought it to the point:
"Our clients and prospects don't see that we have all these great things in place, and they don't value them"!
This set the starting point for our work from there.
While every product has features, a buyer would always look at the actual benefit he/she can achieve by buying the product.
A feature can be of technical nature (certification, SLA, ...), or functional- (ease of use, geographical reach, ...), or economic- (pricing ROI, ...), or esthetical- (design, exclusivity, ...), or quality- (client feedback, ...) or marketing (image, brand, ...) nature.
Sales organisation must carefully elaborate what exact problem each feature may be able to solve for the client. respectively what client expectation it may respond to.
By comparing the findings with industry pears, competition or even other industries the sales organisation the "real" USP's behind a feature become visible.
Used in a strategic was this methodology includes the questioning and involvement of all participants in the value chain, including clients, prospects, operations, end users and more.
be used in a strategic way to better position in the marketplace. it also helps as preparation to sales calls, or when responding to RFP's.
In a smaller scale it has proven its value in preparation of sales calls and helped to in RFP responses.
In any case, it is always good to step a bit back and try to analyse the situation from a clients perspective.
Good luck with your next pitch