It can be difficult to comprehend the idea that having a solution to a problem can in fact cause you more problems. When you are looking to market your commercial solution or value proposition, it would be almost business suicide to not to look for problems.
When you define your potential problems properly, you make them easier to solve, less of a surprise, and in turn save time, money and resources.
But who’s problems are you looking for?
The answer is simple: both yours and your potential customers!
Just like the old chicken and egg dilemma: the fact that we even have a value proposition to take to market is wholly dependent on the concept that someone, somewhere, has a problem… regardless of whether they know it yet or not. Really understanding your potential clients and the challenges they face can often be the problem we have with our solutions: as their problems become our problems and organisations sometimes miss this in the pursuit of Sales.
In problem solving, it has been proven that it makes more sense to work backwards; expanding what you DO know and confirming your uncertainties.
For example, Amazon are well-known for working backwards to create the ultimate customer experience, as explained by Forbes: “It begins with the customer’s problem and works its way backwards to identify the technology that will help solve it. As a result, product development teams at Amazon create the future their customers need.”
It is this concept of working backgrounds that presents you with a much clearer picture of your own problem – ‘defining your commercial solution.’
Now, how do you begin defining your commercial solution to ensure you understand its challenges?
Know Your Target Market
The core part of marketing your value proposition is know your customer: looking at the world and identifying a group in need; a segment of the market with questions and challenges.
Once identified, you need to get to know your buyer personas. Learn all sorts of things about them: the kind of jobs they have; the lifestyles they lead; their buying processes; their level of autonomy, etc. Continue to develop and expand on the things they have in common and the things that set them apart.
But most importantly, you must know the one thing that binds them all together – their problem.
Now, Understand Their Challenges
Understanding the challenges your potential customers face on a daily basis is vital in defining your solution - for if you can’t adequately put a voice and context to their struggles how can you be sure that your solution is the answer they need and want? And how can they trust that you have the solution?
Alternatively, your potential client might not even realise that they have a problem; stuck with time consuming or complex daily tasks or processes. Or, they might realise that tasks are long and tedious but have resigned themselves to the grind. These are the prospects that need you to show them a well-defined solution to the questions they didn’t even know it was possible to ask.
Know Your Solution
You’ve spent hours upon hours living, breathing and perhaps even dreaming of your product or service. You know it inside out; its strengths; how it performs; how to get the best out of it, and even though you might not like to admit it, you could probably think up a few weaknesses. You’ve put the time in, and you know every detail about your product or service.
A potential customer doesn’t have that insight, so when you’re answering questions like ‘What does it do?’ or ‘How does it work?, it is important to remember that they haven’t been present for the journey like you have. Consider the highlights that will grab their attention and the lingo they are used to conversing in. Give them what they want to hear in a language they will understand.
The market place can be a minefield of over-stimulation making it extremely important to present your product or service in a concise, easy-to-understand format and with all your USP's shining bright to attract potential clients.
An effective way to help them break through the additional noise is to consider the platforms by which you distribute your defined solution – it makes little sense knowing that your future customers spend their commute to work in the mornings catching up on emails but not optimising your carefully crafted email for mobile consumption. Or to spend valuable resources creating a social media campaign for Facebook when your potential customers spend most of their time on Twitter.
Defining our commercial solutions has become an eye-opening experience for us – adapting to the changes in the lead generation market, as well as in the IT and Consulting markets has ensured that we really lay out our services in a concise and easy-to-understand format; to emphasise why we are the best choice. Because, regardless of their size, budgets or needs – we can help our clients to grow!
Defining your commercial solution can be tricky, but in the end, there are just three things you need to consider: knowing your target market, knowing their challenges, and knowing your own solution.
While these might seem like three problems in themselves, rather than three parts of the one solution, but by starting with what you know the task of defining your commercial solution doesn’t have to be a daunting one. When you really think about it, it’s not a “chicken or the egg” problem, but rather a three-legged stool – each leg as equally important as the other two.