By Steve Robins
Where Are You in the Solution Marketing Lifecycle?
The obvious part of solution marketing is what gets delivered at the end of the process in the go-to-market phase – materials, web content and more. But the heavy lifting begins well before. Following are highlights of the key phases required to build and implement a successful solution marketing strategy.
- Building the solution portfolio – Identify top solution opportunities based on the company’s past successes in solving particular business problems, revenue trends for the solutions, market factors, market needs, etc. Also may include SWOT analysis, user and buyer persona development.
Outcome: Prioritized list of top solutions for a given vertical or market space.
- Solution development – Dig deep into the use case to understand typical users, their challenges, business benefits of the solution. Determine the services, technologies (hardware/software), best practices, process, and template components that each solution will include from your company and its partners. Essentially you’re productizing and formalizing the solution so that folks know what they’re selling, consultants know what they’re delivering, and prospects know what they’re buying.
Outcome: Complete solution descriptions.
- Solution message – “Package” the solution and develop the compelling and unique value propositions for the solution. Relate the solution’s business value to the customer’s industry issues and terminology. Precise messaging will help you to avoid customer satisfaction issues later.
Outcome: Messaging documents.
- Go-to-market plan – Develop, implement and measure the go-to-market plan including sales/business development/consultant training, partner training (documents, presentations, live training), lead generation, cross-selling, awareness-building activities. Based on the characteristics of the target industry/segment, leverage the appropriate elements of the marketing mix including marcomm/Web, advertising, PR, analyst relations, marketing programs, inbound marketing/social media (if appropriate for the industry) etc. Focus on marketing levers appropriate to the industry. Measure results: lead gen, training, deals, marketing touches etc.
Outcome: Executed training and marketing plans, measurable results.