This client’s current sales force and channels were selling products, not solutions. Its sales force did not understand how to sell at the executive level and as such, often lost to the competition. While revenue was solid and growing, there was a strong reliance on a small portion of the product line for 90% of the revenues. The company had difficulty growing its overall business due to its singular focus on the products. Rather understanding how the product fill the whole of a total business solution.
Using a matrix organizational structure, we began defining the products in terms of solutions, versus individual products. The steps involved in this process included:
- Identify what business problem the customer is trying to solve
- Identify what typically constitutes a solution to the business problem
- Identify and create the partnerships / products needed to deliver a complete solution, including technical support
- Testing complete solutions, as defined by its customers
- Developing key messaging, value propositions, marketing campaigns, and internal/ external training
The result was an organization that was structured around solutions – inside sales, technical support, and marketing. The company’s training focused first on business problems, with follow-up training centered around technical value and implementation issues. With its new solution-focused approach, the company more than tripled its sales over two years, and its margin contribution exceeded targets for the same two-year period.