Summary of Selling Solutions Isn't Enough

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9 Applicability

8 Innovation

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Technology and management trends are driving a transformation in business-to-business (B2B) markets toward collaborative supplier–customer relationships and outcome-based approaches. Leading B2B enterprises no longer offer so-called solutions; instead, they’re retooling their organizations and mind-sets to become contributing partners in their customers’ success. Management professor Richard Ettenson and consultant Jonathan Knowles collaborated with chief executives from leading B2B companies to produce this authoritative report for the MIT Sloan Management Review. The authors draw on 10 years of research to outline the ways leading B2B suppliers are transforming to support their customers’ success.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How business-to-business (B2B) markets are changing;
  • Why B2B customers care more about outcomes than so-called solutions; and
  • What B2B leaders can do to transform their enterprises into outcomes-based, collaborative organizations.
 

About the Authors

Hannah Grove is State Street’s CMO. Kevin Sellers is CMO of Avnet. Richard Ettenson is the Keickhefer Fellow of Global Marketing and Brand Strategy at the Thunderbird School of Global Management. Jonathan Knowles is CEO of Type 2 Consulting.

 

Summary

Business-to-business (B2B) markets are changing: “Solutions” – a term that’s come to mean prefabricated products presented with a take-it-or-leave-it mind-set – are giving way to bespoke B2B relationships. Four factors are transforming B2B markets. First, now that high quality has become commonplace, customers are looking for innovative, tailored contributions to their success. Second, new technologies, such as cloud computing, are taking entire categories of service out of the hands of B2B enterprises and putting them in customers’ hands – while making possible new ways of delivering value. Third, customers can find product information themselves, so they are looking to suppliers to provide more customized expertise. And fourth, purchasers are seeking value – not choosing the supplier with the lowest price.


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