What Is Solution Selling?
What exactly is solution selling? How does it work, and what are its benefits? Let’s look at how this proven sales approach can help you hit — and surpass — sales targets.
Rather than focusing on your product’s features and benefits, solution selling is centered around your prospects' needs.
- What are their goals and pain points?
- What problems and challenges are they facing?
- What is the outcome that can solve their needs?
There’s a cliche that sales is all about building rapport based on small talk, for example, “How’s Susie doing in school?” Solution selling goes deeper. Rapport is based on knowing your customer. Maybe they’re about to have a merger, or they’re experiencing challenges with the supply chain. The solution seller’s role is to provide insight that helps customers see a vision of a better future.
1. The customer needs a custom solution.
2. The customer needs a high level of support.
Buying a productivity app for your phone or laptop? You need an average level of support. Looking to pull all of the business systems together at an enterprise-scale organization, with thousands of employees across different functions? You’re going to need a high level of support that’s designed for your unique situation.
As you can see, solution selling differs from commercial sales, where you are selling off-the-shelf products with no customization or support.
Try Sales Cloud today.
1. Understand the customer.
2. Understand your products.
Solution selling isn’t about selling features, but you do have to understand product capabilities before you can apply them to customer problems. Once you have an overview of your customer’s basic needs, map your products’ features to potential solutions.
Stumped on how to diagnose the customer’s problem? Here are examples of questions you can ask to begin:
- What are the root causes of your problems?
- How would you rank these root causes in order of priority?
- Are these pain points companywide or specific to a department or team?
- Are these pain points evergreen or do they come up at specific times (like quarterly or at the beginning of a sales cycle)?
- How can you quantify the impacts of these pain points (like the number of people affected or the associated costs)?
You may need to talk to people again — or speak with folks you haven’t yet met — in order to get a full picture of how widespread the problem is. A little extra research may help identify company leaders whose buy-in you’ll ultimately need to make a sale. Decision makers could be involved in the day-to-day issues, or be a few degrees removed from the situation, depending on the specifics of the organization.
3. Don’t sell features — sell a solution.
Selling features might mean focusing on all of the functionality baked into your mobile app. You highlight how existing features will appeal to each of your user types, but don’t speak to a comprehensive solution to address this business’ specific needs.
Selling a solution starts with talking to people at the manufacturing business to learn about their pain points and underlying business needs. Armed with that information, you then put together a solution that leverages your mobile app, but also includes implementation, training, and ongoing support to address your customer’s core problem of getting critical information out of silos and shared across the company.
The biggest thing to remember about solution selling is that you’re ultimately selling your customer on two things:
- Your solution will make their problem go away.
- They are investing in a solution that will deliver real, demonstrable value over time.
- Solution selling is all about making your products work for the customer, not convincing them to change how they do things based on a feature list.
- This approach helps the customer create a long-term vision for their business, instead of just reaching for a short-term fix.
- A well-designed, well-implemented solution impacts everything from workflows and efficiency to employee happiness, benefiting the customer's company for years to come.
- Solution selling is great for complex products designed to be customized for individual needs.
- Solution selling requires more per-customer research and a longer sales cadence than product selling.
- Prospects must be open to long-term value, and not just looking for a quick fix.
- Some prospects will maintain they can craft a solution on their own, and only need component products, not a full solution.