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Would You Buy a Solution Before Knowing the Problem

problem definition sales process solution selling technology adoption curve Jul 05, 2021

Sometimes the best way to demonstrate a point of view is through an analogy, so stay with me for a moment.

Cryotherapy is a somewhat recent health fad that has hit the consumer market too, I would imagine, help with any number of ailments an individual might have.

For those that don't know, Cryotherapy, sometimes known as cold therapy, is the local or general use of very very low temperatures in medical therapy. Traditionally, Cryotherapy had been used to treat a variety of tissue lesions.

I would easily put myself in the front part of the late majority  on the innovation or technology adoption lifecycle curve regarding my willingness to try this freezing health innovation because I see a solution before I really know what problems the technology solves for me.

Now if I had some specific problems Cryotherapy could solve and it was well documented with clear proof, that might be enough to get me to try this technology.

See the technology or innovation adoption cycle does well in breaking down the types of people in each stage but depending on the technology different types of people will undoubtedly move around depending on the situation.

For instance, the elderly may fall into the laggard category for a new social media platform but fall into the innovators' category when it comes to detecting anomalies in blood pressure via AI.

Looking at the categories alone doesn't really give us any insights into how to change the outcome.

What really determines where someone sits on the adoption curve is how much proof they need the technology solution solves the problem it's designed for and if it is specifically relevant to them.

Ask yourself in what technology areas you would consider yourself an innovator and in what categories you would consider yourself a late adopter and why?

This can present a real problem for new technology companies who know the problem intimately (innovators) and are presenting their solution to their target clients who need real data-driven decisions to buy solutions.

As salespeople, founders, or anyone that is client-facing, we need to remember with complex sales, organisations (and people in those organisations) make incremental steps towards deciding to buy.

What determines the frequency and length of those steps is the information they receive at specific times to move them along a mostly linear journey towards being ready to purchase.

If you work for a new technology company, ask yourself 3 questions.

  1. How much effort do you put into helping your clients define their specific problems relevant to your solution in the sales process?
  2. Do you just present your product as a solution and hope they will buy it?
  3. How many companies approach you in a similar way and how does it make you feel in regards to wanting to buy?

Sales are such a dichotomy between complexity, simplicity, science, and artfulness. It seems like a simple science that organisations should do this but delivering it in an artful way that addresses the complexity of managing multiple stakeholders is a complex process of trial and error.

Luckily I have personally walked this journey for the last 7 years in various roles within startups and corporate and am here to help if needed.

Regards

Gavin

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