Salute Your Solution
Do you want your website to help build awareness of your brand, generate leads, and help you close more business? Who doesn't, right?
I've worked with a lot of B2B services who want to sell solutions to their clients. I'm still amazed when I ask what they mean by "solution" and I get the deer-in-the-headlights look, followed by an overly complex answer.
Simply put, a solution is a unique combination of the products and services offered by your firm. The best way to determine what solutions your customers will buy is to uncover their needs using a consultative sales process.
Rarely will a customer sit you down and tell you about their every requirement. In many cases they don't even realize there is a better way to build their mousetrap. Their needs are implicit, not explicit and it's your job to bring their pain to the surface. Once you've done that, it's time to present your solution!
But, how do you get customers interested enough to learn more about your solution? You deliver a conceptual presentation, of course! A conceptual presentation explains what your solution does, hammers home the benefits to your audience, and compels them to take the next step.
In the old days sharing a conceptual presentation meant building a PowerPoint presentation, lugging your equipment across town (or across the country) and delivering live, in person. In addition to exposing your prospects to harmful rays from your projector, setting up these kind of meetings took time and they were generally uncomfortable for all involved.
Online video has changed all of that. Today, you can develop your presentation, cut it to video, and upload it to your web site quickly and inexpensively. So, instead of scheduling a meeting, you simply invite your prospect to view your presentation online. This alone can cut weeks from your sales cycles!
Sell enough solutions and patterns start to develop. For instance, web-to-print has become a popular solution offered by marketing communications companies. After implementing several of these web portals, I've come to the conclusion that there are two distinct markets. First, web-to-print can benefit organizations with distributed sales forces (sales reps, agents, distributors, and/or certain kinds of franchisees.) Banks, real estate, and insurance companies are all great examples. For the most part their people work remotely and need marketing collateral to help sell their product or service. Users want to customize their materials and corporate marketing departments need to control brand identity. Web-to-print can help these types of companies simplify the process, better manage budgets, and get reports that allow managers to inspect what they expect from their people.
The other opportunity for web-to-print is with consumer products companies and retailers. They need to manage the often complex process of getting the correct advertising material to each brick & mortar location. Point-of-purchase materials such as signage and displays are often tailored by location and store type. Web-to-print can help retailers capture profiles of their store locations, better handle the order and fulfillment of marketing materials, manage customization, and track their spend by location. Because the applications are so different, I've suggested that marketing communications companies produce conceptual videos to address each market separately. If you’re the marketing director of a regional pizza chain, and you’re looking at a demo that’s geared towards realtors, you might have trouble seeing how the technology can benefit your business. Likewise, if you’re the VP of Marketing for an insurance company, you might struggle to see how a demo focused on consumer products could apply to you.
While the example above is unique to marketing communications companies, the problem is germane to many types of businesses. In the 1950’s renowned management consultant Peter Drucker was consulting to a tool company. The management team told him that while the quality of the firm’s drill bits was going up and price was going down, sales were still declining. Drucker came back to his client with the now famous statement that “customers don’t buy ¼ inch drill bits, they buy ¼ inch holes.”
Your marketing message should not focus on selling drill bits -
it should focus on selling holes.
Too many companies spend way too much time talking about themselves and not nearly enough time talking about their customers. Do you honestly think buyers care how long you’ve been in business, how much equipment you have, or how pretty your building is? They don’t. Prospects want to know that you’ve got solutions to their business problems. The reality of today’s Internet-enabled world is that your web site is probably the most important piece of real estate you own. Regardless of industry, in both business and consumer-focused organizations, it’s where prospects go to learn, compare, and buy. Your web site has to focus on solutions if you really expect buyers to consider your business.
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