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Co-Creation Critical To Selling Solutions

by David Brock on February 5th, 2013

For years, we’ve been trained, “Customers want solutions.”  The best of us try to sell solutions, moving beyond just product features, functions, and benefits.  To a large degree, we’ve trained our customers to expect this.  They engage us looking for solutions, listen to our presentations, discuss them, and ultimately buy.

In reality, our solutions are just a component of the solution our customers are looking for.  All of us live in complex adaptive systems.  Both our own companies and our customers’ organizations represent a constantly changing and evolving set of interactions, shifting priorities, agendas, needs, systems, and processes.  To be successful in achieving our goals in selling our solutions, we have to help the customer successfully implement the “whole solutions.”

Too often, we fail to do this, we focus on our part of the transaction, perhaps helping develop and implementation plan, but not going beyond that.  But we are missing an opportunity!

The real opportunity to create value and differentiate ourselves is to go further–to focus on the solution from the customer’s point of view.  To look not just at the part we supply but working with the customer to align all the moving parts in implementing the change, moving forward and getting the results.

Customer tend to put greater value on things that are co-created.  It makes sense–they have greater ownership of the change, the elements of the solution, and the outcomes.  We have the opportunity to differentiate ourselves by co-creating the total solution with the customer.

What are you doing to help the customer address the entire solution?

Are you maximizing the customer engagement in co-creating the solution?

Are you maximizing the value you provide, through your leadership in working with the customer?

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3 Comments
  1. David,

    Good Post.

    We did this a year ago with one of the largest logistics provider in the world. We were competing against bigger players who were selling solutions. We told them that the best approach is to co-create something together marrying each our expertise.

    We had no products to show them. We had no demos. All we had was spec sheets we had to develop based on their input. What helped us was that they really understood the technology and the solution since they helped create it. They slowly developed confidence in us and gave us the contract.

    • Thanks Jay, my experience has always been, when you get the customer involved in designing the solution, you get both a better solution, create far greater value, and position yourself as a trusted advisor for the customer. Thanks for amplifying the point. Regards, Dave

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