Solutions selling is not about pulling together a bunch of point products. It’s about proactively identifying a customer’s business issues, and then coming up with appropriate ICT offerings to address them.
This Below the Line supplement is dedicated to the importance of selling solutions, and taking a strategic approach when dealing with customers. We’ve included an edited transcript of our recent Selling Solutions roundtable, as well as an in-depth feature and two case studies, to investigate what solution selling means to different facets of the ICT industry.
It was inevitable that the economic downturn would dominate our roundtable discussion about solutions selling. After years of strong market sentiment and buoyant sales, customers have become risk averse and are clamping down on spending for fear of being crushed by the global financial crisis.
As a result, conditions for ICT suppliers are tougher than ever. Several industry representatives jokingly claim the vendor and channel community are being forced to ‘sell’ again: Instead of just taking orders or invoicing, they need to be proactive and smarter about the way they position and deliver ICT to customers.
It’s also critical for suppliers get buy-in from the right people in a customer’s organisation – you may win over the IT manager with speeds and feeds or technical prowess, but it’s of no use if the CEO or CFO holding the purse strings can’t see the value.
But regardless of the economic downturn, there are plenty of opportunities for partners who can find the right business pain points and tackle them. Many at our roundtable agreed: The money is still there for those who are smart enough to recognise a customers’ specific needs, who can find the right person to position them to, and who can come up with the best, unique solution.