Simple fact; customers want a good business case before parting with good money and they expect the vendor to provide it.
The simple truth is that customers are done with pointless 'sales' speak. They want a business conversation that's focused on their problems. They want to understand the problems and possible solutions and, most of all; they must be able to understand the extra profit the chosen solution will bring them. It's the absence of a credible and understandable profit calculation that drives extended sales cycle times and feeds the increasing trend to 'no customer action'.
A business conversation needs to be conducted at Executive level and the entrance fee to the Board Room is the ability to talk meaningful amounts of additional customer profit. If you can't talk 'customer profit' you will be directed to the person that deals with purchasing – not a good place.
So, customers need solutions to their problems. Many vendors have great 'solutions' but, sadly, are just terrible at explaining what value their 'solutions' will deliver for customers and what the customer has to do to get that value.
Selling a 'Solution' is about clarifying and then solving a multi-faceted business problem that delivers significant and agreed additional profit to the customer. 'Delivery' of additional profit is fundamental to sales success. A Solution, therefore, must always consist of both products and services. The customer will have an imprecise understanding of the problem. So before the Solution can be sold, the problem must be clarified and then quantified i.e. what is the actual problem and is it worth fixing?
Selling 'Solutions' requires consultative conversations with customer Executives that must include 'customer profit'. These interactions cannot be meaningful unless supported by pragmatic analytical and value quantification tools that enable and simplify value based discussions. Discussions are focused on two things:
Robert Whiterobertwhite at lucidus.co.uk