Why Solution Marketing is so Challenging for Most Organizations
It is rare to find an organization where salespeople actually understand the key problems that the organization’s solutions solve. This is normally a much larger problem ,the more solutions the company offers and the more technical the solution sets.
Feature Envy – Most of these firms have thrived off of the high growth, interconnected world of product innovation – a world centered on the concept of never-ending feature improvement. Each feature is really important. So important that an “impossible to understand” technical name is required or even, sigh, an acronym. These new features are then taken by marketing and twisted into an end-user benefit based on the logical extension of that feature. The benefit is the “goodness” of the feature. The rapid growth of the technology landscape has produced a “build it and they will come” mentality.
Lack of Real Product Marketing Experience – Most product marketers today were reallocated from product management/engineering or graduated from the help desk. They get the technology and get those features even better. They love PPT, technical diagrams, and flowcharts and believe that more is in fact more. For the most part, these resources struggle to really “get” the customer’s problem or need by situation, and across market segment and industry. They don’t think that way, never had to, and in some cases, may never make the leap.
Explosion of Mediums – Marketing now has to map all of their “messages” through a dizzying array of mediums which has done nothing more than make everyone busy propagating techno-jargon in as many places as possible. They have also sought to ensure that all of this information is available to sellers in whatever medium they want but can’t understand why sellers don’t ever find it, know where to start, or even seem interested. The needle in the haystack would be welcome for most organizations.
That ADD Thing – Let’s face it, we are all somewhat attention deficit disordered in this new world, but no one more so than salespeople. They need big animal pictures, plain language, and constant reminder of context. And please, let’s keep it short. After all, I have to be calling on customers (or playing a round of golf).
Some of the best practices that we see from our clients include the following:
- Sales and service participation in messaging material creation
- Focusing on the 80/20 rule
- Creating constructs that center on Problem-Reason-Capability vs. Feature-Benefit
- Creating a “translation” function that sits between marketing and sales
Remember, most sellers would prefer to pick up the cliff-note version of Ivanhoe than actually read it.