The Feature, Function & Benefit Framework
What is the purpose of the Feature, Function & Benefit Framework? The FFB Framework is the starting point for developing a sales strategy to persuade customers to buy your product. We start with an Inventor looking to improve a product (see definition of product below) by adding/modifying/improving a component of the product which is then identified as a Feature of the product. We then try to determine how the feature(s) improves the Function(s) of the products (i.e. cleaner, faster, stronger, cheaper, etc.) or something it could not do before. Once we get to this point, we ask who might need this improved function and why would they buy the product or how would a customer Benefit by using the product. Hence, what would motivate a customer to buy your product? Customers do not buy features and/or functions, they buy the benefits that could accrue to their organization and/or themselves if they used the product. We will show that customer benefits are unique to each and every customer. Therefore, we will examine customer Benefits in greater detail a little later.
The FFB Framework & Process – Even though we are in pursuit of customer benefits, we must first start with the identification of unique and/or better features, in order be able to identify how the feature improves the product function, to be able to gain insight as to who would be a customer and why they would use of this improved product to get benefits.
Let’s walk through an example of an invention of adding filter to pipe carry water to a customer community:
||Reduce water contaminants
||Safer water supply
The feature of adding the filter to the water pipe is the invention that came out of the discovery of the filters properties to remove contaminates and the perception that there was a need (i.e. safe drinking water) of the customer community (i.e. necessity is the Mother of Invention).
It is thought that letting the customer community know that they can now have safe drinking water that the members of the community will now want to buy water pipes with filters.
We will see that we are making assumptions that may not be founded on reality. This approach of selling the idea of providing safe drinking water does not make sense if the customer community:
- Does not knows what a contaminate is
- Does not knows that the water is contaminated
- Does not use pipes to get water
- Does not have the funds to buy pipes with filters
- Does not perceive that they are suffering from maladies associated with unsafe water
- Not preoccupied dealing with a greater more imminent threat to their survival (i.e. being hunted)
- Does not trust the pipe sales professional, water pipe and/or water pipe company
We often hear that if we build a better mouse trap, people will beat a path to our doorstep. The addition of a filter to the water supply pipe above, makes us realize that even the simplest of inventions may require a great deal of customer community education to have the customer perceive a need, let alone perceive that you are able to provide a solution.
We must know the customer’s frame of reference to begin to enable to perceive that they have a problem and only then can we enable them to perceive that a solution exists… “Reasons to Buy”. Even then, we must deal with the “Reasons Not To Buy” as noted above when the customer did not have the funds to buy the pipe with the filter, customer has higher priority things to deal with when they are being hunted, and also the cultural issues associated with the lack of trust in using a pipe, from an unknown sales person produced by a pipe and filter manufacture they nothing about (see Selling Process or Selling Model).
The more a product is innovative when compared to the alternatives already in use, the greater the sales professional must be skilled at educating the customer to perceive that they have a need and to educate the customer that they are capable of providing a solution. This is oftentimes referred to as being culturally “distruptive” to the current way of doing things.
Reasons to Buy: A “Commodity” sales professional is selling a well known product to someone looking for a lower price and/or delivery schedule. Whereas, An “Innovation” sales professional must:
- Know a lot about the customer to be able to perceive that a customer has a need/problem that they have a fit/solution (i.e. connecting the dots)
- Get the customer to perceive their need/problem and perceive that the sales professional has a fit/solution…. Highly skilled at conceptual/solution selling.
Innovation sales professionals typically impact customer operations bringing about significant organizational improvement benefits with greater financial advantages (i.e. ROI and faster Payback):
- Customer Acquisition
- Customer Retention
- Market Share
- Risk Mitigation
- In addition to Operating Cost Reductions
Reasons not to Buy: Both the Commodity and the Innovation sales professionals must overcome the ever present Reasons Not To Buy: Insufficient Funds, higher priority pressing matters impacting Timing and lack of Trust in the sales professional, product and/or product manufacturer.
See Selling Process or Selling Model in order get a better understanding ways of developing Reasons to Buy and overcoming Reasons not to Buy in order to achieve the sales objective of persuading customers to buy your product
Note: we are defining a “Product” as all hard goods, processes, methodologies and/or services.
If you would like to know more about our The Feature, Function & Benefit Framework and how to map out your strategic marketing, contact us (720) 352-3407 or email us at FFBFramework@prismbusdev.com .