We provide a new software that allows service based companies to present orders, invoices and cash receipts through a web portal with matching,workflow and a communication platform for trading partners to communicate their disputes etc....
The problem is when we tell people that we provide an electronic invoicing application the answer usually is "we do that already" (imaging) or "EDI does that" or "my accounting system can already send an invoice PDF or email". My company does not do invoice imaging , nor do we PDF or email invoices and we are much simpler that EDI and we are more focused on targeting service based companies where EDI is not needed. What differentiates us we are provide real time rich data that can be used to report on and gain valuable analytics, and we compliment the accounting system and extend a process out to suppliers or customers they are dealing with today in paper.
Can you suggest how you would communicate the message so that people understand that this is different than what they've seen?
If I understand your problem it is that your descriptive vocabulary invites unhelpful comparisons. A really important exercise would be to relentlessly work towards describing your software in an ordinary metaphor that coveys what it's like rather than what it is not like.
Said another way, take what people know and say 'it's just like this, only for that' For instance, "We're the eBay of business to business transactions." Spend some time and try out your ideas on fresh ears that do not know your business. You'll find a metaphor that works for you.
We are the Google Analytics of business intelligence.That will then invite more questions; which you could follow up with
We take the real time data that you already have and tell you things about your business that you don't know.
You aren't going to like this answer. The fact is- if you can't tell me what your company is about in 10 words or less, you have a communications problem. The description you provided- "What differentiates us we are provide real time rich data that can be used to report on and gain valuable analytics, and we compliment the accounting system and extend a process out to suppliers or customers they are dealing with today in paper." is a confusing jumble of jargon.
A potential new customer would need to read that 3 or 4 times to make any sense of it. Of course virtually no potential customers will bother to read it more than once. (if that) When they don't understand it the first time they just move on to another site. There goes your potential customer.
This article tries to explain why business writing is so bad. It's written by Jason Fried, co-founder of 37signals.
So back to your original question- how do you get your message across? Sit down with your core people and start writing very short descriptions of what your company does. Take the best 4 or 5 and throw away half of their words. Use those reduced best summaries to generate a 10 word or less tag line. Or hire a good business writer to step you through the process.
You're going to have trouble getting customers to switch. There has to be a conversion process and it better be painless. Setting up edi can be difficult, but once in place why change it if it works?
Complimenting the accounting system is nice, but do you integrate?
Is the timeliness of data that important for this market.
What will your customer's customers think of this service? Is it just one more vendor's site they have to remember login information or will they just pick up the phone?