The complete guide to Solution Selling

The solution selling methodology is an easy sales strategy: The sales rep diagnoses the prospect’s needs and recommends products or services that would be a better fit. The strategy also demonstrates why their product is better than the competition.

A solution-selling approach may not be the best approach for every sales team; it is best suited for those who can sell solutions alongside insights from the customer that would make a purchase.

What is the definition of solution selling?

Michael Bosworth coined the term solution selling in the 1970s as a way to create an impression of problem-solving. This method attempts to focus on “finding customers a solution”.

Solution-based selling typically stems from a prospect's personal recognition of a problem, which often leads them to prioritize suppliers who present solutions that match their problems. By asking one or two simple questions, reps can set themselves up as the “solution provider” and increase their chances of securing a sale.

The solution selling strategy was compiled by Bosworth, who documented and analyzed the behaviors of top sellers for Xerox. Once this methodology was bought, marketed, and implemented by SPI, it has continued to be managed by them to this day.

The methodology used is continuous and can be adapted and updated. There is also ongoing research into what top-selling sellers do differently.

According to Sullivan, it’s the execution of Solution Selling rather than the strategy itself that makes all the difference.

You can improve your sales technique with solutions like SPIN selling, Consultative selling, RAIN selling, and Customer-Centric selling. Each strategy uses a convincing argument to prove one company is better than its interface.

Instead of pushing a new product, companies must garner genuine connections with their clients. To do this, there are two prerequisites for solution selling: customization and integration. When reps sell a solution, it’s crucial that they provide customization and integration in the process.

Learn how to build distinctive solutions and value propositions

Businesses should consider the service side of the solution when choosing a price. They should take into account their total business value, not just what is seemingly the most glaring feature.

  • Define the solution and demonstrate how it works across various lines of business
  • Turning a deal into a sale: Comprehensive end-to-end sales experience
  • In order for the strategy to work, you need to create a plan and be clear about your actions.
  • Examining how solution selling can be a benefit to businesses
  • Solution selling offers support and insight to customers throughout the sales process. It not only allows you to attract new customers but also keeps returning ones.
  • Pros and cons of solution selling
  • A brief introduction to the solution selling books

Michael Bosworth created the Solution Selling methodology, which leverages valuable strategies in difficult selling markets. His company, Solution Selling® was established in 1983 and his book on the subject was published in 1994.

Bosworth argues that conventional sales techniques don’t work when products and services are not the same. As a consequence, Bosworth suggests Solution Selling, an innovative process that is implemented by most large companies today.

  • Hard to be described
  • Intangible
  • Costly
  • Have a long sales cycle

Bosworth argues that conventional sales techniques can hinder the success of sales, and some would say, even prevent a sale.

Bosworth says, “Solution selling is a process to take the guesswork out of difficult-to-sell, intangible products and services.”

This new sales strategy will ensure sales success, and the buyer’s expectations are met.

Keith Eades’s new edition to his Solution Selling book centers around the idea that most companies measure the success of an individual's sales in correlation to the individual’s skills, rather than skills on a whole. They find that a company has one successful salesperson can be seen as unqualified by another company.

Sales managers believe that if a salesperson is underperforming, it’s because the salesperson has not been motivated or coached properly to close deals.

With careful questioning, there is no fear of not asking for the sales.

The author stresses the importance of defining the prospect’s problem carefully, as their results with closing deals might be improved by doing so.

Solution selling is the process of guiding a prospect through the stages of their search. To elaborate, let’s walk through 10-stage solution selling.

Learn how to influence and sell to your prospects

How to implement solution selling methodology

Though it may seem simple, being successful in solution selling requires reps to understand certain principles in guiding the process.

The six steps of solution selling

  • Knowing the ins and outs of the product
  • Identify prospect pain points
  • How to use questions during the sales process
  • Education process
  • By providing (ample) value
  • How to close the sale

Let’s look at how these steps can help with your solution sales training.

1. Knowing the ins and outs of the product

Without an in-depth knowledge of every product and service offered by a company, sales representatives will be unable to know what products or services are the best match for the buyer's needs.

Building and distributing material that outlines the product features and spec sheets can help your reps build up their knowledge of what they’re selling. The information is an in-depth knowledge base, it helps when preparing your reps.

Here at EzzyCRM, we provide a knowledge base of materials for our customers to find information about our products, as well as notes on setup, and more.

The CRM knowledge base contains a breakdown of account settings, how to bill customers, and the email setup.

One of the best ways to implement solution selling is by making sure all sales reps know what they are selling.

2. Identify prospect pain points

You should always make sure your sales people know enough about your product before initiating a call. If a salesperson talks to the wrong person, they could end up getting cold-called with a product that doesn't meet their needs.

Your sales team should go back to the specific prospects that match your target customer persona and look for similarities in the pain points.

A rep should try to get to know a prospect by asking about their problems and what they'd like to achieve. This will both inform them about the problems, and help them come up with a plan on the spot.

Reps should keep track of deals they lose to make sure they're also not wasting their time on the wrong people.

To be more efficient and track deals, you can use EzzyCRM systems to easily mark lost deals.

Not only does this help you figure out what people are looking for, but it also helps reps anticipate any objections sales prospects might have.

3. How to use questions during the sales process

The next part of the sales solution is to create selling questions that will identify customer needs, earn them trust, and qualify them.

Ask open-ended questions like:

  • "What are the general goals you have dreamt about your business?"
  • What is holding you back from achieving your goals/ revenues/targets/customer retention?
  • “How has [their problem] progressed to where it is?”
  • "How significant the problem is?'

Once the person is conversing, have your salesperson ask some specific questions.

  • What solution are you currently using to solve your [problem] problem? Do you believe that this solution is helping you to achieve your objective?
  • How to uncover the right offer and targets
  • Qualifying prospects should include a list of questions to ask, such as:
  • What is a benefit of your product/solution?
  • What are the necessities that you need to address with your solution?
  • Should we consider the company’s industry when figuring out a perfect fit?
  • 4. Education process
  • At this point, you might be wondering how the first three steps of a solution-based selling process differ from a conventional sales process. It’s here where the difference between traditional and solution-based selling starts to become more obvious.
  • Your sales reps need to find the ‘light bulb’ reason why the prospect needs your product or service. They need to connect the dots between their problem and your company’s solution using clear points like
  • Keep your production costs low
  • A current customer of ours offers a ROI for those that invest in this technology.
  • The savings you will make compared to your current system
  • You might try to highlight how investing in your product will pay off for the customer, with a narrative like this:
  • How would implementing these changes affect how you position yourself on the market?
  • "If you don't solve their problem, what difficulties will you face going forward?"
  • “What will happen to your company’s revenue if they don’t find a solution to the problem?”
  • "I can see that we have similar challenges to your company. Have you heard how we've helped other companies with the same? They were going through very similar difficulties to what your company is currently facing. Would you like to know a little more about our experience?"

5. Providing ample value

One of the main reasons solution selling closes deals is it revolves around a definite selling point. It’s vital that your reps pick a selling point that will resonate with a prospect and, ultimately, demonstrate the product’s value through it.

To achieve your need-payoff, make sure to tie in how your company's product is the best solution to the pain points they've already talked about. Your sales rep should go through previously closed deals and see if they can find any similarities with a new prospect. This step is as much about driving home that what they are offering is the perfect solution, as it is about making the prospect see the real value.

To be successful at solution-based selling, you need to show your business's prospects that by using your services, they will no longer have their problem and it will be a win-win situation for them.

Ask yourself, "How much will this product/service cost the prospect?" or "How much money could the prospect be spending elsewhere?"

The company’s product is a time saver to allow a user to generate quality blog posts in minutes, rather than hours. And the user's time equals money for the company and their business.

What are the benefits of your service to the prospect? Will it make them look good in front of their boss because they’ve worked on a project idea or new strategy with you? Will it help change their team or business dynamic because they are being viewed as important or useful by co-workers?

Putting a vision of the future in their head helps to convince the prospect that they will be better off investing in your product or service. Estimate what their business revenue, customer numbers, retention level, or value will look like next year with your product or service.

Once the value has been highlighted, all that is left to do is close the deal.

The 6 easy steps to closing the sale

Now that they’ve opened the conversation, they will likely get some objections from the prospect. The best way to overcome these is to compile a list of objections they’ve heard in the past and come up with a plan on how to respond to them. They should do this by:

  • eMarker uses regression analysis to predict sales potential based on the data collected from past and current customer interactions.
  • Analyze why the prospect failed to overcome their objection in the past, then use this information to solve it in the future.
  • You can create a script to provide responses to common objections.

How the adviser achieves this step will depend on the prospect. They may be sold on the solution, or they might need a little more convincing on the fit. It is important for the sales rep to remember that they are there to meet their prospect's needs through your product/service.

If your sales reps are struggling to close deals because of objections, there’s a way they can get expert responses to help overcome them. E zzyCRM’s Sales Objections Tool provides instant access to expert responses to common objections. All they have to do is type in the objection and they will receive suggestions instantly.
Successful solution selling relies on the right strategy.

The best salespeople will be able to identify a customer’s pain points and work with them to find the solution that matches their needs and helps them fix those issues. Solution selling means identifying customer problems, showing how your product solves them, and persuading them to buy.

You can use “solution selling” as a tactic to convince your prospects to buy by painting a picture of what their future will look like by using your company. Solution selling is dependent on the sales team persuading the prospect into believing that their future can become a reality.

Get more sales with less work

EzzyCRM makes it ezzy to streamline, grow, report and highlight leads with more potential, so your sales team can spend their effort and time on the right leads.

Sign-up for FREE

Features: Ezzy Chat Bot, Reminders & Follow-up Automation, Visual Dashboard & Multiple Sales Pipelines, Ezzy Reports, Custom Fields & Link Emails To Deals, Role Based Access & Security.