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What Is Solution Selling?
Solution Selling is a comprehensive, end-to-end sales system. It is a widely used sales execution methodology for winning sales opportunities that involve direct contact with buyers.
The core sales philosophy behind solutions is that the sales professional’s focus should always be on helping customers solve their business problems and achieve positive, measurable results.
The Importance of Solution Selling
Solution Selling enables sales professionals to collaborate effectively with modern buyers. It supports buyers and sellers bringing their ideas and perspectives together using a transparent and commonly understood structure, in shared physical or virtual space, to solve mutually recognized problems or to benefit from identified opportunities and create measurable value.
Solution Selling enables salespeople to compete effectively and thrive in modern markets. It enables sales organizations to provide differentiating value for commercial organizations, and therefore, to become a competitive advantage in the market.
The Solution Selling methodology enables sales teams to:
- Increase the number of qualified opportunities in sales pipelines
- Increase the size of sales opportunities
- Increase the rate of winning sales opportunities
- Decrease average sales cycle duration
- Improve sales forecast accuracy
Understanding the Solution Selling Methodology
Solution Selling is a modular methodology: each module includes effective methods, tools, and skills. These modules and corresponding tools are:
- Buying Process and Sales Alignment
- Pre-call Planning and Demand Creation
- Opening and Positioning the Meeting
- Consultative Sales Conversations
- Qualifying Sponsorship and Setting Up Next Steps
- Managing Buyer Evaluation and Proof of Value
- Final Negotiations
Solution Selling Modules
Here, we explore each of the modules that make up the Solution Selling methodology in greater detail.
Buying Process and Sales Alignment
Solution Selling is anchored to a dynamic, buyer-aligned sales process, which includes buyer evaluation and purchasing steps, aligning seller steps, and verifiable outcomes that indicate alignment with buyers based on their behavior.
Richardson Sales Performance’s Solution Selling training program teaches sellers three core models and processes that result in an effective buyer-aligned process that accounts for the varying concerns of customers as they progress through the stages of a purchase evaluation and decision. Those models are:
- Buyer Behavioral Psychology Model
- Dynamic Buyer-aligned Sales Process
- Situational Fluency Model
Pre-call Planning and Demand Creation
The pre-call planning and demand creation module includes methods and tools for prospect account research and stimulating buyer interest and curiosity, including:
- Personal Brand Definition
- Key Player List
- Pain Chain (analysis of organizational interdependence of business issues)
- Target Account Profile
- Messaging Templates: Pain Theme, Results Story Theme, Initial Value Proposition Theme
Opening and Positioning the Meeting
The opening and positioning the meeting module includes methods and tools for preparing for an effective sales conversation, including:
- Differentiation Grid
- Sales Conversation Prompter
- Buyer-aligned Sales Conversation Model
Consultative Sales Conversations
Consultative selling skills, methods, and tools empower sellers to execute effective sales conversations that align with different buyer scenarios, including:
- Vision Creation Sales Conversation
- Vision Re-engineering Sales Conversation
- Vision Enhancement Sales Conversation
Qualifying Sponsorship and Setting Up Next Steps
The qualifying sponsorship and setting up next steps module includes methods and tools for identifying buyer sponsorship, uncovering solution evaluation criteria, gaining access to buyers with power (influence and authority), and collaborating on next steps using:
- Buyer Communication email (for Sponsor and Power Sponsor)
- Collaboration Plan
Managing Buyer Evaluation and Proof of Value
The managing buyer evaluation and proof of value module includes methods and tools for guiding a buyer through an evaluation process, mitigating buyer risks, and determining and communicating solution value. Tools included in this module are:
- Go/No-Go Step Completion email
- Transition Plan
- Value Analysis
- Success Criteria
The final module focuses on methods and tools for negotiating and closing a sales opportunity. The tool associated with this module is a negotiation worksheet.
Solution Selling’s modular design and provision of practical tools makes it easy to learn and apply with a high degree of quality and consistency.