It’s just common sense that companies that clearly communicate their understanding of the customer’s problem, and then explicitly define their value & differentiation in the context of that problem, have a distinct competitive advantage. Unfortunately, in order to create effective contextual value and differentiation messages, you first need to break down the customer’s problem into […]
Between their beautifully conceived offerings and the buyer exists that interesting collection of people known as “the sales force.” And in the majority of companies, the human capital costs of the sales organization comprises a significant share of corporate operating expenses. Investing in sales performance improvement solutions isn’t inherently a bad idea – some offerings might actually work well for your organization. For example, if your organization has no coherent “framework” for selling – by all means move from ad hoc behavior to some semblance of order and management science (we encounter and address this often). But conversely, many ideas might also not work well at all – even if they’ve benefitted other organizations that seem similar to yours.
The fundamental difference between product messaging and solution messaging is the process of breaking down a customer’s problem into its underlying causes. Sales people have been taught this concept for several decades now, yet over 95% of business oriented marketing organizations fail to reflect this fundamental aspect of a solution strategy in the content they produce.
An overwhelming majority of marketing organizations adopt the Hybrid Value Model when they decide to support a solution oriented sales strategy. The hybrid model combines both buyer-aligned and seller-aligned perspectives and it supports high level problem-solution messages along with more tactical and explicit feature-function messages.
Feature comparisons and competitive matrices are the core ingredients of effective product centric marketing and selling messages. But unfortunately, when most marketing organizations try to make the transition from product centric to solution centric messaging the focus seems to change from communicating differentiation to one of just describing how their products and services solve the customer’s problems.
It is rare to find an organization where salespeople actually understand the key problems that the organizations’ solutions solve. This is normally a much larger problem the more solutions the company offers and the more technical the solution sets…