As Bob Lobascio, partner at Corporate Sales Coaches, pointed out in a recent NSCA webinar, integrators now have to battle against the “three Cs” when selling:
- Consolidation: Do your clients view bigger as better?
- Convergence: Are your processes fully acceptable to IT?
- Commoditization: Are you product or customer focused?
None of these things should come as a surprise, but they’re important factors today (when they weren’t even a concern a few decades ago).
In the recent past, solution-based selling was considered the sales “answer.” Today, however, outcome-based selling is much more effective. This sales approach is helping integrators overcome the battle of the three Cs.
Let’s map out the key differences between solution-based selling and outcomes-based selling.
“Solution-based selling” has long been touted as the route to go for integrators. Depending on how you look at it, however, the term “solution” may set the wrong tone. A “solution” implies that there’s a problem. Right? So we’re assuming that the business world is full of problems waiting to be solved. This may or may not be true, but it also doesn’t paint the most positive picture or message.
Many times, integrators simply approach “solution selling” by replacing the word “product” with the word “solution” in their marketing materials – still ultimately talking about superior product features. But decision-makers don’t have the time, energy, or inclination to learn enough about your product or “solution” to understand why those features make it better – and then translate those features into positive business outcomes.
And that’s where outcomes-based selling comes into play.
Instead of solution-based selling, we’re encouraging integrators to talk “outcomes-based selling” instead. In other words: Talk about things of interest to your prospect or client. Talk about business issues as they pertain to each area within their organization.
Imagine you’re talking to a potential customer about creating a series of huddle rooms within their corporate office. How would you talk about the outcomes that the organization may experience as a result of implementing these huddle rooms?
This group is concerned primarily with growth, value, and productivity. How will huddle rooms:
- Improve customer satisfaction and image?
- Lead to profitable growth?
- Provide an advantage that competitors may not have?
- Enhance employee satisfaction and retain talented staff?
- Support new vendor partnerships or entrance into new markets?
This group is concerned about things like alignment with standard operating procedures, information security, and leveraging IT systems. How will huddle rooms:
- Align IT with corporate goals?
- Lessen technology maintenance requirements?
- Streamline technology troubleshooting and improve the end-user experience?
- Leverage existing IT investments?
This group is concerned about things like warranties and total cost of ownership. How will huddle rooms:
- Provide a quick return on investment?
- Reduce costs in other business areas?
- Improve cash flow and/or cash management in other parts of the business?