Why Saving Time Isn’t Enough

Over the past couple of months I have had several conversations about whether “saving time” should be central to a value proposition. The answer is yes, and no, and is worth addressing here.

For a business to business company, “Saving Time” and its non-identical twin brother “Saving Money” are both essential benefits of any product or service. Nobody is going to pay you money if in the long term you end up costing them more time and more money than they are spending on the same effort now.

Their universality is also the reason why they are weak value propositions.

Everybody Does It

Everybody will claim to save their clients time. Some explicitly, others less so.

So, simply put: “saving time” can not be part of your unique value proposition because it is not unique to you.
Is it a value proposition? Not on its own. If all you do is save a client time, then the client can easily choose to remain with the status quo and save his or her money. At that point the client is simply balancing how much that time costs them to determine the value of what you are selling. And once it is a numbers game, you have no influence or control over the process other than lowering your prices – not a good situation for long term growth.

Look to the Long Term

You won’t be saving anybody time or money today, maybe even tomorrow. To purchase your product or service, the client must spend time learning about you, pay you, and then train and be on-boarded.

Your value is long term, on-going and, hopefully, compounded. You have to know how you save your clients both time and money in the long-term, and then communicate that to them (or even help them build their business case).

Don’t tell your client that you save them time, but rather explain how you improve their life.

In Conclusion

Know that you do save your clients time, but more importantly know how you save your clients time. Then find out how they can employ that time to their advantage. That last part is the technical benefit you sell to your clients.

Also note that a technical benefit is separate from a business benefit, and that is a discussion for another day.

To Do List

  1. Examine where your clients lose both time and effort (repetitive work or manual tasks. For example: without a digital repository it would be a large effort to review hundreds of written memos to find a bullet point from sometime last year). 
  2. List how your product or service reduces or eliminates this effort. 
  3. Explain that benefit in terms of the effort removed, or the simplicity of the outcome. Try to avoid using the words “time saved”