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Business Book Review"The Prime Solution acts as a how-to guide or handbook for business solution sellers..."
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.
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.
|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|
Posted July 6, 2005
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.
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