More personalised customer experiences, increased brand loyalty and a competitive edge are what a company could gain by switching from a product to solution-based offering. But how does a company begin to make the switch and what strategies are proven to work?
At Springbok, we’ve worked with many of our clients to help them with their transformation, and found there are 3 essential tips any company can use to ensure a seamless transition.
First, find a balance that works for your company
Before you start any transition, it’s important to know where your company stands now. In reality, most companies today aren’t exclusively product or solution — but fall on a spectrum between the two and use a plan that works for their business, customers, staff and the bottom line.
After defining where your company resides, then you can look toward finding the right combination of products and solutions. For example, your company could choose to remain product-based and advertise products and services together to avoid too much organisational change. Or you could choose to develop solutions per customer industry and make a full organisational transformation toward integrated solutions.
If your company is leaning more toward a solution-based offering, but wants to avoid too much disruption, then a pilot project may be the way to go.
Get going with a pilot project
Organising a pilot project alongside a product-based offer allows you to find what works best for your company without affecting its current structure or operations. The results of the project can help you identify what works and whether the pilot solution can be implemented right away or needs to be optimised.
Create a successful pilot project
Getting a pilot project off the ground happens in 4 steps:
- Develop the solution
Gather expectations and information from within the company, existing and potential customers. Based on this information, R&D can start to develop a solution. Don't forget to also ask customers for input or feedback during the development phase.
- Inform and create a demand for the solution
After developing the pilot solution, it's time to inform and convince existing and new customers about the new solution through marketing and sales.
- Sell the solution
Translating this value into tangible contracts and profit is a crucial exercise for finance and legal teams. The goal is to create a long-term contract and pricing based on the value the solution will bring to customers.
- Deliver the solution
After selling the solution, then it must be delivered and measured for success. Your company should check in with customers to see whether the solution meets their needs or if they have ideas for improvement.
Compared to a product approach, the pilot process doesn’t stop after the sale and delivery of a solution. It should be the beginning of a trusted relationship between the customer and a company to continue developing and refining the solution. But having the right team on board can make a world of difference to ensure this partnership gets the attention it deserves daily.
Create a core team
To achieve a successful pilot project, we advise creating a dedicated team that's separate from the current product team. The core team will start up the project, supervise the process and call in experts when needed. Keep in mind, selecting the right profiles is also crucial. Try to choose people who can think beyond product boundaries and attract new people with a solution experience.
Become a solution-minded organisation
Pivoting to a solution-based offering can have a significant impact on the organisation and staff in a company. It requires a change in almost every department.
- Sales no longer sells one clearly defined product, but a whole solution that includes multiple integrated products and services.
- R&D no longer develops products and services on its own but has to take into account the needs of the customers and even co-create with them.
- Finance and legal no longer work with short contracts and a price based on costs but need to think about long-term contracts and value-based pricing.
- Marketing can no longer make a promotional advertisement for a product; the team needs to build and maintain a relationship with customers.
Some companies that make the transition from product to solution-based offering make the mistake of trying to change everything at once or impose a top-down change in their organisation. Both approaches are doomed to fail.
The most successful transitions happen incrementally. With a pilot project and dedicated core team, the entire organisation doesn't have to change overnight. But the core team must also think carefully about how to get the rest of the company’s buy-in from the start.
Create an internal communication plan
The most successful communication plans ensure employees are well informed, feel part of the project, and are aware of the impact the solution may have on their daily work. A great way to get employee buy-in is by asking them for feedback or input.These conversations are crucial to ensure employees feel heard and that your company is on the path toward a successful transition.
Gain a competitive lead with Springbok
If your company is looking to learn more about solution-based offerings or ready to make the transformation, our experts are here to help. From building a solution pilot project to refining a value proposition to offering strategic advice — let us know how we can support you.