Friday, February 3, 2012

Selling Solutions? You Better Know The Problem

"Selling Solutions" can be a very effective method for ensuring your customer is getting the most value out of what you have to offer. However, many sales leaders implement "solution" selling in order to fit more of their products into the pitch. Meaning, they aren't really selling solutions, they are cross-selling or up-selling more products or services. To sell solutions effectively, one must understand the specific problems that you are solving, and their potential costs. 

Questions to Ask Before Using A Solution Selling Strategy
  1. Can you describe how this suite of products or services work together to lower costs or improve productivity? (improve revenues, satisfaction, ease of use, decrease labor costs, glitches, frustrations etc.)
  2. Does my solution solve a problem our customer's will relate to? 
  3. In purchasing the entire solution, can the customer realize more value than buying specific products or services individually? If so, how? 
  4. Are you able to articulate the benefit of the solution vs. ala carte offers that may be easier to implement? 
  5. Will the solution you are proposing create a longer and more complex sales cycle? Is that ok? 
  6. Will the solution provide you with a competitive barrier or advantage? 
  7. What customer or industry knowledge am I missing? How can I get a clear understanding of my customer's problems and the costs associated with them? 
  8. Can I present this solution's benefits from the customer's point of view? 
  9. Who else will need to be involved in the decision making process with a broader solution? 
  10. What additional departments may need to buy into this solution? 
  11. What is the budget for a solution? 
  12. Does the ROI help the customer to justify going off budget? 
  13. Does your solution lock them into a user experience very different from what they are doing now? 
  14. How can you mitigate the risk of change? (Training, try and buy, demos, on-site implementation etc.) 
  15. Does our solution make it harder to integrate into current practices? If so, how can we make it easier? 
Are you selling an "End-to-End Solution"?  
What does the customer expect from an end-to-end solution?  If they choose to do business with you, they won't have to go anywhere else? This isn't usually the top of mind need or pain point. Customers are not sitting around thinking, "I wish I only had one vendor that could supply all of my products or services". Typically customers would prefer a little more competition to keep vendors on their toes. The true value of end to end is that customers won't have to buy from a variety of suppliers and figure out how to make it all work together.  If your end to end solutions are designed to achieve a seamless experience and can guarantee these products will work together to achieve the customers' objectives then you are providing real value. Otherwise, "End to End" is ala carte. You are more like a one stop shop. Nothing wrong with that, however your value is limited to the convenience of shopping. 

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