We’ve previously written about selling solutions from a security perspective in the past, but there’s so much more to discuss about building and maintaining a successful solutions practice.
For starters, taking a solutions-based approach involves more than selling hardware and/or software, of course. Ultimately, the goal is to know your customers’ business so well that you’re in an ideal position to determine how technology can be leveraged and implemented to help them run their business better. Let’s examine five steps you may take to get you off and running.Build a Differentiated, Repeatable Base Solution
Specializing in a unique technology, for example, network traffic visibility or network security monitoring solutions, allows you to differentiate from the competition, earn higher margins and secure a reputation as a leader in that space. Of course, developing a whole new solution for each customer is too costly a model to adopt long-term, but you can start with a base solution, add vertical-specific components or applications and establish yourself as a responsive, flexible IT provider capable.Analyze Customer Needs
Many of our partners have told us through the years the ultimate compliment they receive is when their customers call them a virtual CIO. They’ve attained that status because they understand their customer’s business, their pain points, and their needs. That’s a key component to success because it means you’ve established trust can be counted upon to provide an expert opinion. Your ability to analyze a client’s needs is critical to building a solutions-selling approach.Recommendations that Demonstrate ROI
Once you understand your customer’s challenge, you need to tell them how to solve it. Your recommendation as a trusted business and IT advisor carries a lot of weight. As does your ability to provide innovative, disruptive solutions that help them be more efficient and productive. Putting together a complete solution that integrates products, technologies, and services is the ultimate goal while demonstrating how much better they can run their company and earn a return on their investment in an acceptable amount of time.Close the Deal
Closing the deal can be a big source of stress and frustration for many partners. Maybe something slipped through the cracks or maybe you don’t have the necessary skills or bandwidth in-house to complete the project. In any either case, it may be wise to bring in a third-party partner with the appropriate professional services expertise to help facilitate the deal. For example, GCI has a global network of shared planning, marketing and business development resources available to ensure that your close rate remains high.After-Sale Support
Just because you have a signed contract or you flipped the last switch doesn’t mean your job is done. Far from it. Your customers will depend on you to ensure that their new solution is working properly, that employees are properly trained, that patches and upgrades are made, that reporting is communicated frequently, and much, much more. The more support you can provide, the more your customers are happy and the longer they remain customers.
Remember, solutions selling is based on relationships, not transactions. The most successful channel partners are those that are able to establish trust, understand business problems and deliver the goods. Chances are, you may be better at one of these steps than another. Or you may find yourself stuck and unable to proceed to the next one. In either case, you don’t have to go it alone.
Your distributor and vendor partners have a vested interest in your long-term success and should be able to provide the expert help to make your more successful. GCI can help! To learn more about our innovative portfolio of emerging technologies abd capabilities, ontact us at [email protected] or fill out our form.