Technology-based products are, almost by definition, complex and difficult to install, operate and maintain. Many of us, for example, have personally experienced the change in buying a television. The analogue television of 20-30 years ago simply required the buyer lug it into the family room, put it on a stand and plug it into the wall socket. Today’s digital-based televisions, however, will likely come with a 100-page manual and need substantial programming and wiring to operate properly. Now multiply this in shift in technology complexity by 20-30x for the type of sophisticated products purchased in most B2B transactions.
Solutions Marketing Latest Insight
As we all know, the foundation of marketing since the 1950’s has been described as the 4 P’s. The concept of the 4 P’s – which stands for Product, Price, Place, and Promotion – has endured for over a half-decade, and continues to be the basis for many marketing plans and strategies. Professor Neil Borden, the Harvard Business School Professor who came up with this nifty framework, and then Phillip Kotler in his seminal marketing textbook, Principles of Marketing in 1967, have influenced millions of successful marketers.
I’ve decided to post a blog that isn’t about solutions marketing…at least not directly.
I live in the Boston area. I have many friends and family members who both ran in the marathon and watched it in person on Monday. Patriot’s Day in New England is a very special day of celebration and reminder of everything that is good about the region and country.
So…what do strong learning organizations do when they identify a gap in their own capabilities? From what I’ve seen from my perch over the years, they reach out and study companies that are considered “best of breed”.
It’s that time again -- when marketing departments are being asked to quickly churn out Playbooks to increase sales productivity and focus the sales force on selling strategic solutions.
Enabling Solutions Through Services: How PTC Developed a Model to Scale Professional Services for Solutions Growth
The Role of Professional Services in Creating a Customer-Based Solution
For product-based companies, creating new technologies that improve customer business performance is their main focus. Whether they produce networking gear, manufacturing equipment, medical equipment, or off-the-shelf software, these companies excel at coming up with the “new-new” – the next generation of their offering that promises improved performance to the customer.
Moving from a product to a solutions focus is a daunting challenge for most B2B companies. When companies realize that a product-only strategy is, in the long term, a great market-exit strategy, the challenge they then face is how to make the shift to a true customer solutions orientation. Some of our Solutions Marketing colleagues have semi-seriously suggested it would be easier to make a U-turn with a supertanker inside the Panama Canal than change their organizations from a product focus to a customer-centric, solutions culture.
The Republicans and the Democrats are looking for a “solution” that will prevent them from driving over the edge of the fiscal cliff. The National Hockey League is looking for a “solution” to its player lock-out so that hockey fans can once again watch the bone-crushing body slams and slap shots that they expect every winter. And parents like me are trying to find a “solution” to taking care of their kids, parents, pets and other relevant living organisms, while at the same time earning a living, staying current with the latest technology (have you posted on Pinterest yet today??), and getting in our recommended 2-mile daily walk or jog.
Many of the solutions-oriented companies we’ve worked with have finely-tuned processes to bring solutions to market. But getting the sales teams and partners ready for that launch—and preparing them to sell the new solutions successfully -- are often overlooked as the marketing team focuses all of its time and money on the external marketplace. What is often forgotten is that unprepared sales and channel teams can directly affect the customer uptake of the solutions. On the other hand, preparing them to be the “tip of the spear” in a new solutions campaign can provide the early traction new solutions need to be successful.
Guest Blog post: Mike Peters, Managing Director - Whitespace Consulting Group and an Associate of Solutions Insights
What do Neil Young, Betty White, Bob Hope, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, and Paul McCartney all have in common? Great comic timing? A villa in Tuscany? A love of the Classics? No, they were all victims of a premature obituary. Based on a recent Harvard Business Review article: ”The End of Solution Sales,” we can now add Solution Selling to that list.