One of the first challenges – and this is from the p.o.v. of one whose experience is based on a history of visioning conceiving and designing solutions – is to get all parties on the same page as to exactly what is the definition of “solution” in the current context…
But, to the original question “How best to sell a solution in the technology market?” I respond “by not selling a solution”.
Instead, sell a proposition which (once you all agree on that definition) is typically a compound of solutions.
To paraphrase myself from a post in a different LinkedIn forum:
In the world of organisations selling tech and tech-based solutions to business and government, a salesman requires the ability to clearly, precisely, quickly and concisely state:
– exactly what it is that he is selling
– exactly why his customer would buy it
– and why buy it from him rather than the competitor
– what his customer sees as the value what he is buying
– what his customer sees as value in terms of who he is buying from
I don’t mean as an elevator pitch or as sales material… these are the components of your account development plan or customer intelligence and without them I would suggest that you are only selling technology solutions and are not likely to succeed (or, if you have been successful are unlikley to remain so).
To get to this requires your clearly understanding which of your competencies, capabilities, credentials, etc. combine to form the correct proposition (solution, product, service delivery set – – take your choice of handles).
The proposition needs appropriate staging and presentation based on the needs and perceptions at a customer-specific level: what value will it provide and how will the ROI manifest, not what tech it uses or the world-class offshore development facility…
In my opinion, everything is secondary to what your customer sees as the value in buying it, and in buying it from you.
and a quick response to John: while I agree that change can be troublesome, it all depends on the objectives. To use random examples:
– if you are replacing the telephone system across a vast business organisation – or upgrading versions of Microsoft Exchange or other back office software – or even moving users from XP to Windows 7 then mimimised impact is required… and there are likely countless other, better examples but yes, sometimes change is bad
– if you are introducing a tech-based solution to transform a business unit, whether doubling output, halving resources or generally miminising costs, change is necessary and desirable: if the work packages being delivered by 10 people today will be delivered by 4 people, SAP and a dog next week then change is inevitable and is in fact a primary target of the exercise
True concern for the end user is laudable but only if that is what the man with the spreadsheet is paying for – which is of course the final part of the equation: once you know what it is that you are selling & why your customer would want to buy it, and from you then the next step is to ensure that you are selling it to the right person (another example: the IT department of your Local Government customer might not have VoIP on the roadmap until next year BUT VoIP in the contact centre would increase the base of people who can be employed in the contact centre – demand for contact centre resources as one of their current business issues base – by enabling simplified and connected home-working – – and in doing so offer employment to home-bound people which in turn provides extra “ticks in the boxes” around accessible employment targets.
and yes, it should be a great year!
Do feel free to contact me directly if you want to discuss further propositions as the basis for results in selling tech and tech solutions