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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Disruptive Innovation and Solution Selling

Disruptive Innovation and Solution Selling

I realised recently how "Disruptive Innovation" as described by Prof. Christensen at Harvard and Selling Methodologies, such as Solution Selling (or), Customer Centric SellingBuyer Focused Selling were the two sides of the same coin and how they were conceptually close one to the other. I thought this was a good news.

Disruptive Innovation: one of the key concept is to focus as Product Manager on "what job the customer want to be done by the product you are offering" "job-to-be-done" view (see Innovator's Solution from Christensen).

Solution Selling and family: "what are you trying to accomplish?"
One element of the "Solution Selling family" methodologies is that people are best convinced by reasons they themselves discover. Selling is therefore not about convincing as it is to help the buyer convince himself/herself that your product/your service will help her/him get the job done. It is also to help the customer be clear about their needs, about the job he/she is trying to accomplish, the job she/he wants to get done. So selling is also a process where the seller is asking questions to help the buyer define or refine her/his needs.

Product Manager will then look at the product (or service, let's call it "product" as a generic term) from the point of view of "job to be done".

Sales Team will interact with customers and prospects and try to understand (quickly):
- if there is a match between the product and the customer' needs
- if there is a motivation to buy "compelling event" or "PAIN" or "Customer Business Objective"
- who is making decision?
- what is the decision process?
- how budget are being decided, by who and when?

When you think of it, Product Manager should also care about:
- matching product capabilities (features) with customer' needs - "job to be done"
- motivation of the buyer - what "PAIN" is it addressing - what job to be done is it helping?
- who is making decision for this "job to be done" product
- what is the decision process and how budget are being decided

Why do we care?

Sales and Product Management are trying to answer to the same question:
While Product Manager should think of several customers who have the same "job to be done", the Sales team is dealing with one customer at a time (and can end up meeting several customers).


Focus on "what job to be done" or "what the customer is trying to accomplish".

Product Manager views on "job to be done" can be helpful for the Sales team:
this can be a list of questions to ask in order to qualify the customer

Sales Team discussion on "what are you trying to accomplish" can also be valuable to Product Manager

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