Of course you already know that your sales team needs to maintain a “solving-customer-problems” mindset. “Sell the application not the product” truly is the only way to fly. All high performing sales professionals live that philosophy and high performing product/service development and marketing folks live it as well.
There’s a funny thing about applications though.
Sometimes we’re trying to solve the wrong problem – even if we have a truly great product/service to sell.
Consider Thomas Edison who invented (among many other things) the phonograph. This world class product developer had one of the biggest winners of all time, yet his early sales efforts were absolutely dismal. He knew that the best application of phonograph technology was to record a voice message and then stick it in the mail so the recipient could listen to it.
I can imagine his sales pitch. “How cool is that! Your customers, friends and family can hear the inflections, tone and nuances of your voice. You can communicate far more information than you ever could with the written word.”
Nobody bought. Not until somebody else came up with the “record music” application. Then sales skyrocketed.
Or consider Alexander Graham Bell. You may not know that his sales pitch consisted of explaining how his telephone mic could be placed in front of an orchestra and that someone many miles away with one of his telephone receivers could hear a live performance.
Nobody bought. Not until somebody else came up with the “have a live business conversation” application. Then sales skyrocketed.
Two of the greatest product developers of all time were dead wrong and worked like crazy to solve the wrong problem with the wrong application.
So keep those minds open, sales leaders. Your product/service developers and marketing teams will have beautifully prepared application scenarios for you. And they will make loads of sense. They might also be missing the boat.