The Prime Solution: Close the Value Gap, Increase Margins, and Win the Complex Sale

Overview

A snapshot of today's B2B selling environment: Sales cycles are chaotic and getting ever longer. It is impossible to predict results and plan for the future. Customer bases are eroding. Satisfaction and retention rates are dropping, and customer relationships are not expanding.

In The Prime Solution, author Jeff Thull presents sellers with the integrated, cross-functional approach required to develop and deliver compelling whole solutions, and ...

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Prime Solution: Close the Value Gap, Increase Margins, and Win the Complex Sale

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Overview

A snapshot of today's B2B selling environment: Sales cycles are chaotic and getting ever longer. It is impossible to predict results and plan for the future. Customer bases are eroding. Satisfaction and retention rates are dropping, and customer relationships are not expanding.

In The Prime Solution, author Jeff Thull presents sellers with the integrated, cross-functional approach required to develop and deliver compelling whole solutions, and profit in today's complex B2B environment.

The Prime Solution leads B2B sellers through major components of the value promise system, such as the creation, marketing, selling, implementing, and measurement of whole solutions, or prime solutions, that fully deliver on their promise to customers.

The Prime Solution shows sellers how to turn value fulfillment into a core competency, because they've helped customers understand and achieve the full value of the products and services they've purchased. The power of this model rests in closing the ""value gap"", or that frustrating division often created by sellers who have either been unable or unwilling to fulfill the promises they've made about their products, and by customers who are unwilling or unable to comprehend the total value received.

Author Jeff Thull describes a disciplined, ""all-hands"" approach that involves all the teams in an organization connected to the customer: R&D, marketing, sales, and service. This practical, whole solutions approach has been used with astonishing success by small to midsized companies as well as major corporations worldwide.

Whether in technology, manufacturing, professional services, health care, or finance, this is a guide for professionals involved in creating, marketing, and delivering complex B2B products and services. Senior management, sales and marketing managers, technical specialists, product managers, customer service and account managers will find new ideas and tactical solutions in The Prime Solution that will go a long way in closing the ""value gap"" and increasing revenue.

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Editorial Reviews

Business Book Review
"The Prime Solution acts as a how-to guide or handbook for business solution sellers..."
April 2005
TheWorkingManager.com
"We thoroughly recommend this book to anyone serious about major or key account selling."
CRM magazine
"Page turner...Thull offers solutions that any part of a company can use to provide that value to its customers."
SoftwareCEO.com
"Lots of case studies, good practical advice, and interesting discussion that always returns to value...a good read, and recommended."
CEO Refresher
new ideas and tactical solutions...that will go a long way in closing the "value gap" and increasing revenue.
Management Consulting News
You won't find a value gap in this book, especially if you're in the business of selling "solutions."
Holden Advisors
"A terrific summary of what marketing and sales leadership must do to uncover opportunities to move beyond pushing product..."
Business Strategies magazine
"Thull's book offers a blueprint to solutions-selling organizations looking for long-term growth, maximum profitability, and optimal market position."
Soundview Executive Book Summaries
In his previous book, Mastering the Complex Sale, sales strategist and adviser Jeff Thull wrote, "Spectacular success is always preceded by unspectacular preparation." Achieving and sustaining profitable growth in a highly competitive global market requires this kind of extensive, yet unspectacular preparation, in order for you to harness the full range and depth of expertise in your organization, and to use that expertise to provide value to customers — value that will help you create and sustain crucial, long-term customer relationships.
To succeed in this value creation, you must have technical expertise in service and support, you must know how to sell your wares to needy customers, and you must be able to position your company as a "sole source" to customers over time. These are the essential tenets of The Prime Solution: a detailed explanation of how businesses can close the value gap that separates the value that is promised to customers from the actual value achieved. Many fine companies have disappeared into that gap: Don't let yours be one of them.

The Elusive Prime Solution
When Lou Gerstner was hired as IBM's CEO in 1993, most of IBM's managers and employees saw their company as what Gerstner describes as a "piece part" manufacturer. From his firsthand experience as a business-to-business buyer of IT systems, Gerstner knew that customers in IBM's markets had little or no interest in the hardware and software of information technology. Just like any business-to-business buyer, IBM's customers wanted solutions to their business problems and challenges, solutions that delivered on the value promised.

Accordingly, that is where Gerstner focused his attention. He took a subsidiary unit of IBM's sales force, Integrated Systems Services Corp., and transformed it into IBM Global Services. The expanded aim of the new business unit was to deliver integrated IT services to customers — whole solutions that ranged from system definition and construction to providing fully outsourced operations. IBM Global Services quickly became the driver of IBM's recovery and the company's fastest growing business, contributing 80 percent of total revenue growth during Gerstner's tenure.

Create and Capture Value
Creating and capturing value is a strategic cornerstone of most organizations in today's business-to-business marketplace. Your company works to create value-laden solutions, you strive to ensure customers can comprehend the value that your solutions deliver, and you have customers willing to compensate you for that value. This is challenging work, particularly in a competitive market in which it is difficult for customers to differentiate solutions, because all of the players in the market are using the same words to describe their value propositions.

Customers increasingly demand solutions that come with something more concrete than just a promise of value. They want solutions that are capable of leveraging value to the highest level of the customer's business; are a result of the careful identification of needs and present the best answers to their problems; and can, through proper implementation and value enhancement, help them achieve the return on investment they anticipated.

Managing Change
Your ability to manage and facilitate change is the core competency in Prime Solution implementation. Successful organizations are accountable for guiding and ensuring the success of the changes which customers must make throughout the cycle. In this phase, sellers serve as change navigators for their customers. As such, they bring customers a process that can carry them from their current state to the future state promised by the solution. Copyright © 2005 Soundview Executive Book Summaries

Every successful change management process must fulfill two conditions: It must be adaptable and it must account for technology, processes and people.


—Summary
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780793195220
  • Publisher: Kaplan Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/1/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 721,836
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

As founder of Prime Resource Group, a sales and marketing performance consulting firm delivering training programs to over 10,000 participants per year, Jeff Thull knows what it takes to succeed in business and fulfill the value promise. As a result, he brings an exceptional ability to promote The Prime Solution. He is an accomplished and compelling keynote speaker...highly entertaining and content-driven. He designs programs to bring about long-term change. He knows that motivation without education leads to frustration. For the past 20 years he has delivered over 2,500 speeches and seminars to sales and management teams around the world with audiences ranging from 20 to 2,000 participants. His programs have been tested and proven in his own companies and by the finest national and international sales and marketing organizations across a broad range of industries. He counts among his clients household names like 3M, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, IBM, Citicorp, Rand McNally, and Philips Electronics as well as many fast-track, growth-oriented start-up companies. A more complete client list is attached.

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Table of Contents

1 The elusive prime solution 5
2 Three eras of value dilution 23
3 Five barriers to keeping value promises 41
4 Value leverage for business performance 63
5 Multiple decisions, mutual understandings 81
6 Effective execution, measurable results 101
7 Creating the prime solution : if we build it, they may not come 127
8 Marketing the prime solution : it's not about us - it's about the customer 143
9 Selling the prime solution : it's not about closing - it's about quality decisions 159
10 Delivering on the value promise : promising value is expected - delivering value is exceptional 179
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2005

    Insightful!

    Jeff Thull is a highly regarded consultant whose client list reads like a who¿s who of big business. He is also the author of the insightful book, Mastering the Complex Sale. Does this new volume live up to the promise of that one? It depends on what you are seeking. Given that its title, The Prime Solution, sounds like a brand of steak sauce, be prepared to chew your way through terms like 'decision acuity' (i.e., help your clients understand what¿s really going on), 'solution opportunities' (i.e., answers) and 'value promise delivery' (i.e., implementation). Such stylistic nuisances aside, the book diagnoses and documents a 'value gap,' the shortfall between the value that buyers receive versus what they feel they bought. Thull attributes this gap primarily to flaws in how providers of business-to-business products design, sell and execute their complex 'solutions' or offerings. He suggests ways to address those flaws, along with many useful cases and good practical advice for consultants, particularly in the last three chapters. We recommend this book to experienced consultants who sell solutions. Our one caveat: just don¿t beef about the vocabulary.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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