Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Product-> Solution Selling-> Transformation

Many people at Lotusphere seem to be scratching their head saying, hey where is the product? Why doesn't anyone say we use LotusLive/Connections/Domino to do x, y or z?  It could be Microsoft up there.

In truth, you are all correct. But IBM at Lotusphere is not selling a product per se. (You Smart Planet love/hate people, I have another post coming on that)

Look at it this way:
Years ago we sold products
Then came Solution Selling
Now its Transformation Selling

Yes a bad acronym unless your last name is Eliot.

Imagine talking to CEOs, not CIOs, not Line of Business execs but people who have a job that is to steer their company.
Bring them a direction, an angle, an idea for them to think about and other ways to expand their business. Think big, as Donald Trump says. It doesn't have to be expensive either. Let me use one example.

Think about when Mars, the owners of M&M's, set out to find a new color? The voting created huge loyalty and a major increase in sales and it cost them next to nothing. Read about this in this book.

So you say, how does this help IBM make money? There's no technology play there? (I have no idea if they used an IBM product, but this is not about ANY IBM product, this is about business discussions)

Not true at all, how did M&Ms stay in contact with the world? How do they today? How do they know when a great idea has been submitted? How do they find out?

This is Transformation in an industry that has a hard enough time bringing a new product to market.

You can do this for anyone...but I am not sure your average Business Partner has the right connections to make this happen.

But a number of issues come up:
1) Executives today are near retirement age and have no reason to start massive change
2) Idealism is great, but you need the Executive people to champion it....and believe it and do it as well, especially if you want others to have social businesses
3) Transformation is not an easy sale or a short sale, it requires the right person, providing a vision(not necessarily the right one) and having someone on the other side who can see it and help it and fulfill it.