Skip to Content

Learn new skills, connect in real time, and grow your career in the Salesblazer Community.

What Is a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and How Do You Craft One That Works?

Salespeople sharing their unique value proposition.
Your sales reps should fully understand your brand's USP and use it when pitching and prospecting. [Skyword]

A solid USP speaks to your customer's needs and gives you a competitive edge.

It’s no secret that customers have many options when it comes to the products and services they buy — but that’s not always a good thing. In fact, too many choices can often make it harder to choose. So how can you stand out in a saturated market and steer more customers your way? With a unique selling proposition (USP).

Think of your USP like a lighthouse. To cut through the fog of options, it must be the clearest beacon, attracting customers and leading them right to you. We’ll cover why developing a USP is crucial to your business, how to craft one, and how to measure its success.

What you’ll learn:

Drive pipe faster with a single source of truth

Discover how Sales Cloud uses data and AI to help you manage your pipeline, build relationships, and close deals fast.

What is a unique selling proposition (USP)?

A USP is what makes your product or service distinctive from your competition. It’s the benefits you offer that makes you a different — and better — choice than other available options in the marketplace.

Besides key features and advantages, a good USP concisely communicates your brand values, value proposition, and what customers can gain — or solve — by using your product. Your sales reps should fully understand your brand’s USP and use it when pitching and prospecting. By painting a clear picture of what your product or service can do and why people should choose you, an effective USP helps your sales team sell.

(Back to top)

The importance of having a USP

Plain and simple, it’s important to have a USP so that you can differentiate yourself from your competition and appeal to more customers. If you don’t stand out in the market, you’ll miss opportunities to connect with potential buyers, grow your customer base, and increase your revenue.

A USP helps your business internally and externally. It transparently tells your customers what you do and how you do it so they can make an informed buying decision. Internally, a USP informs your sales strategies, marketing messages, and sales channels.

USPs also influence your product development — especially in tech and software. Since their inception, USPs have evolved to meet the changing needs of customer expectations in the digital age. While functional benefits are still important, standing out is now more about the user experience (UX) you can offer and other things that are top of mind for customers, like integration capabilities and data security.

(Back to top)

How to craft a unique selling proposition: 3 key questions

Crafting a USP is simple in theory, but it takes hard work to get it right. You must first define who you serve, what you do, and how you do it. Here are the three guiding questions I use to create a unique selling proposition.

1. Whom do you serve?

This is your target audience. Your USP will not fit everyone. Instead, it should be geared toward a specific customer with a unique set of needs. And that’s where buyer personas come in.

First, create your buyer personas. A buyer persona is an excellent way to bring a fictional representation of your ideal customer to life. Using existing customer data in your CRM and research about your competition’s customers, you can start to see a clearer picture of your ideal customer’s demographics — job titles, company size, education, industry, region, etc.

Dig deeper with surveys and interviews to discover what your customers do and what makes them tick, including their obstacles and motivations. The more detail you can add to your persona, the more effective your USP will be at resonating with them.

Next, conduct market research. The challenges your customers face aren’t created in a vacuum. The world constantly presents us with innovations and obstacles we must adapt to. What conditions must exist for your buyer persona to look to you to solve their problem? I suggest looking at things from the following perspectives:

  • Macro level: Pay attention to what’s currently impacting the world. Upcoming elections, wars, the climate crisis, the stock market, and popular trends among different generations.
  • Micro level: Look at factors influencing the key industries and geographies where you operate. For example, AI’s impact on business operations and productivity.
  • Customer’s business level: Try to predict how your customers will be impacted by macro and micro events. This will give you an idea of any new opportunities or challenges they might be preparing for — or not. These are considerations you can use to communicate how your solution is the best option for their immediate needs.

Use market-reporting methods like interviews, surveys, and focus groups to gather your intel. You can email customers with a survey link or outsource to a research firm where experts will collect the data and analyze the answers for you.

2. What do you do?

This is the function of your product or service. Regardless of what you sell, you have to differentiate it from others in the marketplace. Your USP should articulate this succinctly, and your buyer persona’s pain points should take center stage.

Some questions to ask yourself in this phase are:

  • Why do they need what we sell?
  • How does it improve their life?
  • What challenges does it solve, and what does it help them do better?

When coming up with your answers, be sure to compare them with your closest competitors. You want to ensure you’re using different language, highlighting unique benefits, and truly setting yourself apart in a way that will resonate with your target audience.

3. How do you do it?

Here is where you describe how your solution works. I recommend focusing on the ICOs — issues, challenges, and opportunities — your product or service solves to answer this question. You can use data-backed case studies and testimonials to communicate your message or creative marketing campaigns to tell stories that connect and empathize with your ideal buyers’ challenges and desires.

Now that you’ve thought about your ideal buyer and what you do, it’s time to connect customer problems to your solutions. You know the competition is fierce. So, focus on what sets you apart — your product’s unique strengths and benefits. Map out your product solution with a matrix. Place your buyer’s challenges, your product solution, and your competitor’s solution next to each other. Pinpoint the detail that differentiates you from your competition and alleviates your customer’s pain points. Then, highlight that feature and confidently share why your solution is the winning option.

(Back to top)

Three examples of unique selling propositions

Here are USP examples from three industries to use as inspiration when crafting your own. Remember to think about who you serve, what you do, and how you do it.

1. Retail

  • The company: An active shoe brand
  • Who they serve: Busy professionals who are on their feet all day (such as service industry and essential workers)
  • What they offer: An easy and modern slip-on design, so you don’t need to bend down to put on or tie your shoes.
  • Their USP: “On-the-go comfort and style that won’t slow you down.”

2. Software as a Service (SaaS)

  • The company: A CRM software provider
  • Who they serve: Sales teams who want to optimize their productivity and personalization efforts
  • What they offer: A suite of AI-powered tools that helps you personalize at every touch point, maximize engagement, and increase productivity with automation.
  • Their USP: “Get back to selling and close more deals — let AI and automation do the rest.”

3. Transportation

  • The company: A rideshare service
  • Who they serve: Traveling individuals and businesses with delivery needs
  • What they offer: Convenient ride reservations and contactless delivery for everyday essentials
  • Their USP: “Wherever you’re going, whatever you need, we’ll handle the ride.”

(Back to top)

Shine a light on what makes you different

A solid USP speaks to your customer’s needs and gives you a competitive edge. Think about what’s affecting and influencing your customer’s lives. What macro and micro events are occurring that your product or service can solve? Concisely share what you do and how you do it — pointing out how you differ from the other options out there. Your core vision will remain the same, but your ability to pinpoint and communicate your product or service’s unique benefits, especially as they evolve, will help you guide customers through the competition fog, and right to you.

Want to take the #1 CRM for a test drive?

Go on our Guided Tour to see how Sales Cloud boosts productivity at every stage of the sales cycle. 

Get the latest articles in your inbox.