Waking up the tiredest term, "solution" (it isn't a liquid)

By William Seidman If you’re like me,  you’re tired of the term “solution,” a catchall term in business marketing which is so overused as to have lost its meaning. I’ve been working with several companies lately who all claim to provide “solutions” to their clients. We work to define the term. Each client has a different understanding of what their “solution” needs to be,  and within companies there are often several interpretations: For product divisions and groups, a solution is found in several of their products. The underlying thinking is multiple products, even if completely separate, equal a “solution.” The sales collateral, sales training, pricing, and infrastructure typically line up with this notion of products that solve a problem. For sales and marketing, a solution is often what they can sell – which still usually means multiple products because that’s how they’re set up. I have come to favor a different perspective from the The Mind of the Customer: How the World’s Leading Sales Forces Accelerate Their Customers’ Success by Richard Hodge and Lou Schachter. In their view, a solution is really a means of helping clients to accelerate their organization’s ability to achieve its objective. I don’t have a better word, but to me a solution is often broad: it’s about understanding what the customer wants and providing the means to get there. While this means a mix of products and services, it is not driven so much by the individual item but by the synthesis of them. A real “solution” enables  customers to feel better about what they buy —  and they buy more. Isn’t that what you want?]]>

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