Businesses, including healthcare providers, buy products that help them meet their goals. If you can clearly show your customers how your products help them meet their business goals, they will buy! Few vendors, especially in the health and ICT sectors, have this information so just providing this information about your product value gives the perception that yours is a superior product.

An evidence based value story is more interesting and useful to customers than technical specifications or product features and functions. It is also a more profitable way to sell because the alternative may have been competing on price against suppliers of similar products to yours.

The best way to present this information is in a story or in case studies – that illustrates how your product has helped other customers, and could help this customer achieve their business goals.

Evidence Based Value is a simple, organised approach that will assist you to tell a compelling story about the value of your product and how it will assist the customer achieve their strategic and business goals. Having this type of story can help you expand both the types of customers you can approach, and the types of individuals within a given customer that you can engage. For example, a Chief Executive or Chief Operating Officer may listen to how your product will help them achieve their business goals, when they would not have been interested in product specifications or pricing.

In addition to improving your sales process and results, preparing a well-researched evidence based value story can also highlight product features, policies, practices, etc. that could be changed to increase the value your product delivers.

Working through the Five Stages of the Evidence Based Value method will assist you to understand how your product can help your customers be more successful. It will also show you how to obtain hard data to quantify the benefit your product provides, and it will guide you through the process of using these benefit data to produce white papers, sales presentations, benefit estimation spreadsheets, case studies, brochures, etc. 

These Stages stand alone, but the work from one Stage feeds into the next.

NOTE: Evidence Based Value can be an important marketing and sales tool, but it does not address all aspects of your marketing and sales approach. You will still need to consider issues such as pricing, competitor analysis, packaging, advertising, etc. which are not part of Evidence Based Value. However, having a clear idea of the value of your product may influence how you address these important issues.

Stage 1: Understand your customers

The first step in developing a compelling case study is understanding the business objectives and strategies of your customers – what are their goals, and how do they go about accomplishing those goals? Also, what are the key success factors that support these strategies? Once you understand their strategies and key success factors it will become clearer how your product can assist your customers meet their goals, and you will be able to quantify your contribution to their success.

This Stage includes the following topics:
1. Selecting target customers
2. Understanding customer strategy
3. Identifying the customer's key success factors

Stage 2: Map product capabilities to customer needs

Once you understand your customers’ strategies and key success factors the next step is mapping the capabilities of your product to a customer's key success factors. How will your product positively affect a customer's key success factors? Which key success factors will your product affect the most?

This Stage includes the following topics:
1. Selecting a product for mapping
2. Identifying key success factors affected by your product
3. Understanding product benefit mechanisms and their relative impact

Stage 3: Estimate product value

Once you understand the ways in which your product can have the greatest impact on customer objectives, strategies and key success factors, you are ready to estimate the value of your product to the customer. Initial estimates are driven by existing evidence from published sources, your organisation's records, customer case studies and logic.

This Stage includes the following topics:
1. Selecting key product benefits to estimate
2. Developing a theory of benefit
3. Identifying data sources and gathering data
4. Building a benefits model

Stage 4: Refine product value estimates

The initial product value estimates helped you clarify your thinking about how your product delivers value to your customers, and gather readily available data on the amount of value. However, in many cases additional work is required to find or collect data that are more convincing to customers. This Stage covers more advanced methods of identifying and obtaining product value data.

This Stage includes the following topics:
1. Identifying gaps in product benefit models
2. Identifying sources of additional product value data
3. Overcoming data collection and analysis challenges
4. Revising benefit models

Stage 5: Produce evidence based value deliverables

Once you have credible data about the type and amount of benefits your product provides to a group of customers there are many different uses to which you can put these data. These include papers for external publication in journals, internal white papers, brochures and other marketing materials, sales tools and presentations, etc.

This Stage includes the following topics:
1. Identifying different uses of evidence based value data
2. Selecting evidence based value deliverables
3. Creating different types of deliverables

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