I spent some time during the week asking sales reps questions to discover what gets in their way. Bad this, too little that, too much another thing. What I was trying to figure out was exactly what sort of problem these folks think we solve, and why their customers care. What they believe, after all, is what they repeat, and what their customers hear.
Sorting through your core value messaging is a lot like sculpture - once you knock away everything that the sculpture isn't, you're left with what it is. Michelangelo must have looked at a hundred blocks of marble until he found the one that the David was hiding in. Honest.
I figure that once you determine exactly what it is you do, and why it really matters, the trick is boiling down the messaging to a fond - the essential flavor of your value. The next step is to embrace that flavor for what it is, with all your heart, and embrace the folks who embrace it too.
Anything more complicated than that isn't real. Watering it down to make it cover more ground is like watering down your fond - the flavor gets lost. Watering down your value messaging to make it appeal to more people guarantees that it appeals to no one.