September 30, 2020

3 essential tips to transform from a product to solution company

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.

TIP 1
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: 

  1. 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. 
  1. 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. 
  1. 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. 
  1. 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. 

TIP 2
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. 

TIP 3
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.  

Let’s chat 

September 30, 2020

The advantages of transforming from product to solution-based offerings

As an agency that focuses on delivering optimal customer experiences, we’ve noticed many companies over the years are transitioning from providing products to solutions. Instead of selling cars, electricity and mobile phones, these same companies are now specialising in personal mobility, creating comfortable homes and connecting friends and families. These solution-based offerings are putting customers first, and as a result, creating exceptional customer experiences along the way.

Whether your company is thinking about adopting a solution-based approach or curious to learn more about the subject, we’re sharing our experience and knowledge to help you embark on a path to success

But first, it may be helpful to define what makes a company “solution-based.”

What’s a solution-based company? 

Solution-based companies have four essential characteristics

  1. Successful long-term relationships 
    These companies have their sights set on the future. Instead of a one-off contract with one product exchange, these companies use solutions to build long-term trust with their customers. 
  1. Integration of goods, services and knowledge 
    Product-based companies offer their products separately, which means it's up to the customer to figure out which product is right for them. Solution-based companies already integrate their products and knowledge into one solution that’s hyper-relevant to a customers’ wishes. 
  1. Adaptation to customers
    Product-based companies begin with building an excellent product and then search for customers that need that product. Solution-based companies start with researching the needs of their target audience and then tailor the solution to them.
  1. Co-creation is a priority 
    The companies that offer the best solutions are often the ones that involve their customers in the creation process. Including customer insight in the early stages brings even more value to the final solution.
This graph shows the difference between a product and solution-based offer.
Companies that embody a product vs solution-based approach.

In the end, it’s a bit of a spectrum… 

Most companies are not entirely product or solution-based but fall somewhere in-between. There’s a wide range of possibilities between a pure product or solution-based approach.

Some companies occasionally sell their products and services together while others choose to bundle their products and services and market them as one solution. Others create and offer a solution tailored to the needs of a specific client industry, while a few companies co-create an independent solution to meet different customer needs. In the end, every company has the option to select and develop an offering that works best for them. 

The spectrum of a product and solution-based approach.

The advantages of switching

How can your company gain by moving to a solution-based offering and how will it make a difference? From our experience, we believe there are 6 major benefits a company could gain on the short and long term.

  • Switching barriers 
    Creating a solution tailored to customer needs decreases the likelihood that they'll switch to another company. 
  • Stronger customer relationships
    Companies that co-create with their customers show that they want to know their customers inside and out — which goes a long way to building relationships and brand loyalty. 
  • Business opportunities with existing clients
    Cross-selling and upselling become easier and more natural when a company can offer not one product, but several products and services in one solution. 
  • Stand out from the competition 
    Offering tailor-made solutions and a co-creation process with customers can set a company apart from its competitors. 
  • Attract new customers
    Solution marketing can attract a whole new type of customer that's looking for not one product but a total solution. 
  • Future-proof company
    Integrating different products and services into a single solution makes it easier for clients to buy established and brand-new products and secure future business opportunities.

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.  

Let’s chat

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