I have a Solution, let’s fit your problem in it!

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Now being part of the sales fraternity myself , I agree that even I have sometimes tried to hard sell my product to the customer but only after doing a proper requirement mapping. But what we are talking about today is the scenario wherein although most  organisations go out of their way to brand themselves as Solution Providers and Discovery Partners ; we are faced with a scenario where you find an overzealous sales person selling a solution which you may or may not require.

Let’s take a step back and evaluate this. When I had started in my career we were taught that even if you were to ever sell a drilling machine, you are not selling a equipment, you are selling a solution, which could be one of many. But nowadays in the garb of solution selling and customer economy I find that most organisations pay no attention to customer requirement, they are simply selling solution bundles. Buy a license, buy an upgrade, buy a premium pack, even if you only require probably 40 % of it.

This is especially true for software solution providers, where an overtly confident sales person will make a pitch to the CIO or CTO and they will end up buying license after license of technology they have no use for or have no understanding, and will probably not use it also. But since it is the latest and the competitor is buying it, a gullible IT head says yes.

But what’s wrong with this approach, you may ask? Let me give you a scenario. Like most metro dwellers, I am hoping you also make the commute from home to office and back. Now if you were looking for upgrading your car, will it make sense if I try to sell you a cycle? We all know that cycle is good for health, it’s better for the environment also but is it the right solution for you, given how the traffic is in most metro cities in India is and no dedicated space for cyclists? Now, this may work if you are in Amsterdam but would not only be risky but an epic fail if it was New Delhi and will probably get you killed in the first week of such an attempt itself.

I find this disconcerting for a number of reasons. Number one, when did marketing become so lazy that they stopped customising statements. We spend millions of dollars in creating the right customer touch points, reaching out via multiple platforms, do tonnes of data mining and when finally we get to face the customer we send him a recycled powerpoint, which was probably made by a tired salesperson, before you?

My second biggest problem is how is it that before trying to understand what the customer requirement is, a salesperson most of the times is ready with a tentative budget and the customer is fed into a sales pipeline via some CRM? Whatever happened to doing a requirement mapping first?

But after all this I would still to say this is not against one person and I am questioning the overall chain that pushes a person to trivialise a customer’s requirement and put them in an existing solution box rather than work to find the correct solution, stop pushing the convenient solution and hoping that this will fix the problem.

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