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Developing Solutions

The proposition ladder approach can also help you decide which solutions you wish to develop. ‘Solution’ is a word we’ve used a number of times already, so it’s probably worth providing a definition to avoid any doubt. It’s certainly a word we see being used interchangeably with value proposition inside organisations, which can be a source of unnecessary confusion.

The Oxford English Dictionary definition for solution is:

A means of solving a problem or dealing with a difficult situation.

The example sentence they provide to illustrate the definition is:

There are no easy solutions to financial and marital problems.

Building on the financial problems element. If you were providing a counselling service you might have an overall proposition about helping individuals feel more in control of their finances. The solution that you offer might include a number of counselling sessions, some self-help tools and maybe an audit and analysis of spending. The overall solution is made up of the services you’re proposing to help overcome the finance problem. We acknowledge that an individual product, let’s say counselling sessions, may solve the financial problem in its own right.

So, the control proposition is the promise of helping clients gaining control of their finance problems. The solution, as we would define it, is:

The collection of products and services that provide the customer the means of solving a problem. The solution is the means of delivering the value proposition.

If we go back to our example illustrated in Fig. 5.3, we can see that we have an overall agility proposition. We can start to develop overall agility solutions, though it makes more sense to break these down in line with the ladder rungs. So at the bottom of the agility ladder we have a connect proposition, under which we can develop connectivity solutions. This helps elevate customer conversations away from individual products towards solutions that deliver customer value. Hopefully you can see that this can solve the typical problem that many organisations have in selling beyond the first product.

Grouping individual products into an overall solution is what we come to now, using another adapted example from a customer project for a mobile company.

 
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