FEATURES, BENEFITS AND DISCRIMINATORS

Sellers offer the customers with features and the customers buy benefits. Discriminators help the customers decide which seller’s benefits are most suitable for them. The three of them can be understood as;

  • Features = What?
  • Benefits = So What?
  • Discriminators = Why Us?

Best Practices

  • Understand your customer’s needs

Build a relationship with the customer so that you can understand the benefits that he/she wishes to achieve through the purchase. Advantages apply your features to a potential customer need and when it is confirmed by the customer, the advantage becomes a benefit. Document the confirmed benefits in feature-benefit tables.  

  • Develop and evaluate competitive intelligence

Along with collecting data about the customer’s needs, it is also important to analyse the competitor’s approaches and turn it into intelligence. Process the information to find out  positive discriminators and highlight the features and benefits of your offer in comparison to the competitors. Understand what are the things that the competitors offer and what the customer thinks about these offers. Document the strengths and weaknesses of the competitors and use it as an intelligence for developing effective features, benefits and discriminators.

  • Determine your discriminators

Determining the discriminators should be entirely based on the customer’s perceptions. Always keep in mind that it is the people, processes, and tools applied to successful customer engagements that are the discriminators, not your brand. A feature can be converted into a discriminator by offering a unique benefit around it.

  • Use feature/benefit tables.

The feature/benefit table reflects your understanding of the customer’s needs.

  • Quantify the potential value of benefits

In order to make the buyer believe the seller’s claims, he/she must make a measurable value proposition with suitable proof. These are also helpful in determining performance metrics for contract execution. If the benefits cannot be quantified, they can be tied to the buyer’s mission or goal.

  • Apply the “So what?” litmus test

Ask yourself the question “so what” to ensure that the benefits are not merely a paraphrasing of the features. Benefits should be the clear responses to the customer’s problems.

Pitfalls

            The most common pitfall in this area is mistaking features for benefits. Features are your organization’s capabilities. Benefits result from features and are solutions to customer problems. The customers buy benefits and not features.

The article briefly details key examinable syllabus area from the APMP Practitioner certification.

Based on APMP Copyrighted Material

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