Effective packages put customers into camps

09 June, 2015 | Sales Performance

Many B2B companies use packages to group sets of product or service features into fixed-price offerings. Done well, packages have the potential to create a smooth and clear buying experience while reducing the need for sales to come up with bespoke proposals.

However, many enterprises take a company-led versus customer-led approach, designing packages based on what is profitable and convenient for the company to offer versus what will resonate with the customer. 

Below is a 3 step approach to creating customer-centric packages that will get your clients saying "yes" instead of "that's not for me."

1) Put your customers into camps

Before you look at your products or services, look at your customers. Chances are their buying characteristics will fall into a few distinct clusters. What to look for will be unique to your business, but customers can be grouped by criteria like:

  • Internal capability - what skill sets do they have in house, what do they lack?
  • Desired outcome - are all your clients looking for the same deliverables?
  • Driving features - is there variation in which features clients value the most?
  • Time and price sensitivity - does speed of delivery and price matter equally to all your customers?
  • Standard segmentation characteristics - like budget, location, company size, industry vertical etc.

It should become clear that your customers naturally fall into camps with common sets of buying characteristics.

2) Understand where the package fits in with the buying journey

Take the time to really think about the buying journey of each camp. Get clear on these aspects:

  • What is their headset when they first make contact with your company?
  • What's their baseline level of understanding around the problem they're trying to solve?
  • What does their buying process look like? What stakeholders will be involved in the buying decision and what do they care about most?

3) Now, develop your service packages with clarity and contrast

Service packages that work resonate in a way that makes the customer say "that sounds like me." Lists of technical features and comparison charts with prices don't do it. Develop packages what clearly explain:

  • Who it's for (and who it's not for) - Lead with a short, sharp description that describes what the package is, who it's designed for and the outcomes it delivers. Each customer should be able to quickly identify with one or two package options to shortlist.
  • Scrap the jargon - unless every stakeholder understands your industry terms, keep the language a simple as possible.
  • List commercial outcomes next to their corresponding features - this helps customers see features in the context of the outcomes they're delivering (which is what they really care about).
  • Have neighboring pricing brackets - it should be easy for sales to move customers up one package where appropriate. Don't have packages that are too far apart in terms price and scale.
  • Make sure pricing and additional extras are crystal clear - this comes down to effective document design and layout.

A final thought - bring sales and marketing together to get packages right

Sales is able to provide marketing with invaluable insights that only come from front-line conversations with customers. Make sales a part of the process both in the initial development of the offering and for feedback on how the packages are connecting after they go to market.