When developing and selling innovation, there is typically an overemphasis on features. A common mistake is to generate a long list of all that an innovation can do, without articulating how such features translate into customer benefits. That’s where the needs-features-benefits-results tool can be very powerful. This tool pushes innovators to clarify the value of their innovation for customers. This is also the basis of value-based selling, where benefits & results are much more effective than a list of features your offer.

Let’s clarify what we mean by each component in the tool:

  • Needs: What are the customer needs you are trying to solve?
  • Features: What features does your innovation have?
  • Benefits: What are the benefits of these features for the customer’s need
  • Results: What is the result for the customer in the end expressed in ‘currency’ (e.g., €, $, time saved, …)
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Many companies do this very well. When you think of Apple, for example, you think of benefits such as ease of use and cool branding, not per se specific features of their products. For Patagonia, you may think of sustainability. For AirBnB you may think of unique experiences.

Results require us to move beyond enumerating an innovation’s benefits and push us to quantify those benefits. For example, many of the companies we work, especially in B2B, ask their innovation teams to clarify benefits with clear quantifiable metrics, such as how much their innovations lower total costs of ownership (by € amount), or help bring a drug to market X months sooner (leading to € in additional revenues).  

Once the customer is sold on the benefits, you can then back out and explain the features. Having benefits and results also allows you to compare your innovation to competitors and build your positioning matrix.

Download the Needs-Features-Benefits-Results tool

MTI2 Tool Needs-Features-Benefits-Results download bottom image