Jeff Thull, in his book “Mastering the Complex Sale” makes a strong case for delivering tangible, observable cost savings to customers as the foundation for successful complex selling to enterprise business customers. I agree completely with Mr. Thull’s point. In fact, I see clearly how products targeted to markets that require complex selling efforts should be designed entirely around cost savings. If you cannot deliver tangible cost savings to a customer with a conceptual product, then don’t waste your time.
Using this rule of thumb, that products must deliver tangible cost savings to justify a purchase at some planned price (I’ve italicized the word “some” to convey the importance of flexibly approaching the task of pricing products in a ratio to cost that delivers persuasive savings to customers to successfully build a market) or else move on to a better idea, it is easy to see why solutions like online website development have disintegrated into low price/low value offerings. After all, isn’t the market message for online website development some version of “everyone else has a website, why not you”? Where is the value proposition in this rationale? Where is the presentation of clear, measured cost savings for the customer? How different and how much more persuasive would be a market message that details the cost savings packed into an online store versus the expense represented by a brick and mortar store! Sadly, this type of cost savings centric market message is generally absent from the online website development marketplace.
Designing products to deliver measurable cost savings ensures maximum return on investment from selling efforts. After all, sales of these products should deliver long term relationships with satisfied customers, just the type of business that most business ought to crave. If you opt to follow this approach, then be fully prepared to truly deliver savings via your early customer engagements or else relegate your market message to the trash can. Therefore, delivery and after sales support must be completely aligned with marketing & sales to deliver success. Complete alignment means understanding the cost savings for the customer and taking whatever steps are necessary to deliver those savings in each and every engagement.
In the world of the complex sale, there are no purchases made without saving capturing some substantial saving against costs that would otherwise have to be incurred by the business. This is especially true for businesses in highly regulated industries where costs can result from improper policies and procedures. It is remarkable how open prospects with “external drivers” (meaning unfavorable regulatory reviews) are to discuss these drivers and to communicate the costs that they need to save. Successful marketers to highly regulated industries learn quickly to collect as much detail about these “external drivers” as they can to construct their custom, individualized presentation of tangible value to prospects. Don’t fail to do the same.
© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2011 All Rights Reserved