Written by Christophe Fajs, Goedele Pyck and Anne Boyle

Imagine your company is transitioning from offering products to solutions. You and your core team may understand the value of this transition, but do your employees and customers? We'll share how to devise an internal and external communication plan to get employee buy-in and maintain customer trust.

This article is part of a series to help companies transition from a product to solution offering. If you’re new to solution offerings, we recommend reading the first article of our series.

Sharing the solution offering internally

Evolving from a product to a solution company is a significant change for any organisation. Developing an internal communication plan can help you share the value of this change and its impact on the company.

We believe one of the best ways to communicate the solution offering is to do it alongside the pilot project. Using a pilot project to develop your solution offering is beneficial for two reasons:

  1. It allows you to test your offering before it hits the market
  2. It gives you time to share the value of your offering with employees

How to build an internal communication plan

Employees should know about a pilot project before it launches. Sharing the pilot project is a great way to introduce the solution offering and gain first reactions from employees. When you understand general employee sentiment, you can then create a communication plan that addresses fears and provides support. 

During the pilot project, you and your core team can provide employees with periodic updates about how the project’s progressing. As you share project updates, try to think about the information employees need the most. These updates can be knowledge sharing moments but also a chance to explain how the offering will impact employees.

You should continue to monitor the company sentiment throughout the pilot project and adjust the internal communication plan accordingly.

Open the door for ideas & input

Each phase of the pilot project requires input from the right experts. At some point, you'll need to invite R&D, customer researchers or other stakeholders to support your work. Your internal communication can also help you define:

  1. Who needs to be involved
  2. What are their responsibilities
  3. How you plan to keep them updated about the project.

We also recommend inviting employees not affiliated with the project to contribute their ideas or opinions. Employees will appreciate the inclusivity, and it may even increase the likelihood that they'll support the project.

This image shows how solution offerings need employee buy-in and input.

Plan for additional tools & training

Working with solutions requires different skills than working with products. During the pilot project, you should monitor employees’ current skills and look for any knowledge gaps.

Based on this insight, the company may need to invest in new tools and training, reorganise teams or recruit people. It’s essential to be transparent about this process with your current employees and discuss how they see their future roles.

Sharing the solution offering externally

Devising an external communication plan ensures all internal stakeholders, no matter the department, are clear about:

  1. What’s the solution offering
  2. How to communicate the solution offering

Determine what to communicate about the solution

Before the team starts advertising and selling the solution offering, it’s important to reexamine the value proposition. The value proposition explains the value your company and the offering will bring to customers.

There are different ways you can refine the value proposition: 

  • Create a separate value proposition for the solution offering
  • Add on to the existing product value proposition 
  • Develop a brand-new value proposition for both the product and solution offering

How you approach the value proposition also depends on how your company defines a solution offering currently. We recommend using a product vs solution spectrum to see where your company lies. After determining where your company is starting from, you can then create a realistic value proposition to support communication materials.

This graph shows how companies evolve from a product to solution offering.
This spectrum shows how companies evolve from a product to true solution offering.

How to communicate the solution offering to customers

When you know what you're going to say, then it’s time to organise how you’re going to reach your audience. Use these steps to develop communication materials for current and potential customers.

  1. Know your audience

Researching your audience is a foundational best practice. How your customers make decisions, who influences them and how open your customers are to a new solution are some aspects you should look into.

2. Update the website

Your research will also help you understand the buyer journey and how to communicate the solution on your website. The solution could appear next to your product offer or on a separate webpage depending on your value proposition.

3. Create campaigns & content

Advertising for a solution offering focuses less on selling a product and more on building long-term relationships with customers. Developing personalised content tailored to customers' needs and interests can increase interest and trust in your company's solution offering.

Data-driven content can also help you communicate with prospective customers based on their needs or the stage they're currently in the decision-making process. This content can then generate valuable leads to start a new long-term solution for a customer.

Gain a competitive lead with Springbok
Whether your company is looking to learn more about solution offerings or make a gradual transition from products to solutions, our experts are here to help. From building a pilot project to refining a value proposition to offering strategic advice — let us know how we can support you.

Interested in switching to a solution based offering? let's talk.