Solution Selling

Solution Selling

Solution Selling Jonathan Poland

Solution selling is a type of sales approach that focuses on offering customers a tailored solution to their problems, rather than just selling a product or service. This approach is based on the idea that customers are more likely to make a purchase if they see the value and benefits of the solution being offered, rather than just the individual components of the product or service.

Solution selling is common in industries that offer complex or customizable products or services, such as construction, software, or outsourcing. In these industries, customers often have specific needs and requirements that cannot be met by a standard product or service, and they need a solution that is tailored to their unique situation.

In order to succeed in solution selling, sales professionals need to be able to understand the customer’s needs and challenges, and to offer a solution that addresses their specific requirements. This may involve conducting research and analysis, working closely with the customer to understand their goals and objectives, and collaborating with other teams within the organization to provide the necessary expertise and support.

In addition to having a deep understanding of the customer’s needs, sales professionals in solution selling also need to be able to effectively communicate the value and benefits of the solution being offered. This may involve using data and analytics to show the potential impact of the solution, or providing examples and case studies of how the solution has helped other customers.

Overall, solution selling is a valuable sales approach that can help businesses generate revenue and build relationships with customers. By offering tailored solutions that address the customer’s specific needs and challenges, businesses can increase their chances of success and achieve their sales goals. The following are the basic stages of solution selling.

Relationship Building
Solution selling often involves complex, high value sales that take significant time from the cultivation of relationships to close. This requires a stable and highly connected sales team that can develop a large pipeline of prospects and opportunities.

  • Camping Strategy
  • Competitive Intelligence
  • Influencing
  • Lead Qualification
  • Prospecting

Consultative Sales
In order to keep the customer engaged, the sales team may provide access to consultants who can answer the customer’s questions and provide valuable industry data such as benchmarks. Ideally, the customer becomes dependent on you as a source of knowledge and data.

  • Benchmarking
  • Business Analysis
  • Competitor Analysis
  • Countersignaling
  • Market Research
  • Storytelling

Needs Analysis
Working with the customer to identify their needs, preferences and perceptions to develop a value proposition. This is a process of requirements elicitation whereby the customer outlines issues and the sales team captures requirements. This will take into account factors such as budget, decision making authority and influencers such that the value proposition is likely to sell.

  • Customer Needs
  • Customer Needs Analysis
  • Customer Perceptions
  • Customer Preferences
  • Estimates
  • Requirements
  • Requirements Elicitation
  • Value Proposition

Solution Design
Developing a design that demonstrates how your products and services will solve the customer’s problems. A high-level design may be necessary to close a deal. Alternatively, design may be part of solution delivery if your customer is willing to buy based on value proposition alone.

  • Concept Selling
  • Design Concept
  • Feasibility Analysis
  • Proof Of Concept
  • Prototypes
  • Solution Architecture

The process of negotiating price and terms to close a sale. In complex, high-value sales it is common to use a foot-in-the door approach whereby an initial deal solves a single high impact problem for the customer.

  • Bogey
  • Choice Architecture
  • Negotiation
  • Objection Handling
  • Soft Selling

Solution Delivery
Delivering your obligations to the customer. The goal of solution sales is typically to expand such that the customer is dependent on your products, services and expertise. As such, solution delivery continues to be a sales process whereby customer relationships, needs analysis, solution design and negotiation of more deals is ongoing.

  • Customer Experience
  • Managing Expectations
  • Managing Risks
  • Opportunity Study
  • Project Management
  • Stakeholder Management

Account Management
When the solution is launched the account continues to be monitored for cross-selling and upselling opportunities. If you are generating monthly recurring revenue, customer satisfaction may be carefully monitored and managed. For example, a sales account manager may contact the customer after an issue or incident to act as a advocate for the customer.

  • Cross-Selling
  • Customer Advocates
  • Customer Lifetime Value
  • Customer Loyalty
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Customer Service
  • Incident Management
  • Upselling
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