You don't get home from the hardware store with your new drill and start drilling holes for the sake of it.
The third and most critical item to communicate is the outcomes. Owning a drill would provide many possible outcomes, one of which could be to hang a picture of your family and when you look at it every day it makes you happy.
Use clear and consistent messaging.
Understanding these three differences is critical because the next step is to develop clear and consistent messages that are outcome-focussed.
I've found that more often than not IT communicates backwards. Because we love our technology and our features, we think others do as well, so when we start communicating that's where we start.
We never get a chance to move to the next levels of benefits and outcomes because we have confused or bored our audience. The rule to follow is to start with communicating outcomes first, benefits second and then features third.
In doing this often you will find that many senior level communications with the business will make it only slightly into stage two (benefits) once the outcomes are understood and there is little or no interest in the features. As much as we are interested and excited about our bells and whistles, it tends to bore others.
As an exercise, I would recommend that you get a piece of paper and divide it into three columns. Label the three columns features, benefits, and outcomes.
Then under each column, list the services and products you offer and break them down into the three categories. Once you have done this, you can start to develop outcome-focused messaging. I also invite you to do this at a team and IT department level.
We recently worked with a team in an IT division of a major airline and four different teams all had to present their budget proposal to the CFO for approval for the following year.
The major concern of all the teams was maintaining headcount. The first three teams went in and started the typical presentation about all the IT features and attributes and projects, etc. and they all lost headcount.
The fourth team was the team we had the opportunity to work with. They did their homework and understood the outcomes which would be of most interest to the CFO.
Their presentation did not mention any features or attributes but instead clearly and concisely illustrated how each member of their team contributed a $250,000 outcome to the organisation's bottom line each year. That team's headcount was raised by 10!
Conduct internal market research
The above example illustrates the clear need to do your homework. Take the time to fully understand the needs, outcomes and objectives that your clients are looking for and then tailor your message to show how you can assist them in generating those outcomes.
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