Sucessfully transitioning from product selling to solutions selling

Companies who successfully evolve from product to solutions selling can improve profit margins, access new customers and markets, gain greater share of wallet, and increase customer retention.

This transition, however, has proven more difficult than most companies expected. Our experience in advising clients in developing a solutions strategy and acquiring the capabilities to enable solutions selling has revealed common pitfalls to making a successful transition.

  • Narrowly defined solution – A solution is not simply cross-selling products or wrapping products with services. Real solutions solve a customer's business issue or imperative. They pull together all the necessary products and services to improve a customer's business performance.
  • Offerings limited to the company's existing set of capabilities – If a company has been bold in defining its solution opportunity, chances are good that all of the required solution components (e.g., products, services, financing, sales channels) do not reside in-house. Carefully managed partnerships are frequently key to delivering end-to-end value.
  • Failure to execute sales differently – Successful solutions providers expand beyond narrow sales roles to act as business partners to customers; they work with customers from initial problem or opportunity identification to defining a custom solution to post implementation services.
  • Inability to extract value from solutions – Pricing should be based on the value of benefits realized by the customer. Moving to value-based pricing may require significant re-training, new sales support tools, and new hiring.

We have expertise in helping clients address the core issues for successfully creating a solutions-oriented business.

  • What are my customers' key business challenges ("pain points")? What are the business opportunities associated with those pain points?
  • What is the economic value associated with addressing customers' solution requirements?
  • How can my company define and prioritize customer segments and the associated business opportunities?
  • How can we shift the company culture and performance metrics from product-centric to solutions-focused?
  • What new capabilities are required to develop and deliver new solutions? What are the implications for the sales talent as well as the entire organization?
  • How should partnerships be leveraged and managed to ensure end-to-end value delivery?
  • What is the best revenue model and pricing structure for selling solutions?

How much investment is needed to develop the solution capabilities under consideration? How can we grow our solutions business to reach beyond our current customer base?