Ten lessons for managing a solutions council
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Let’s face it: Most solutions are complex offerings. To succeed with solutions, you need deep knowledge of your customers, an ability to collaborate and share resources and assets internally, and a dedication and commitment to ensuring your solution actually works in the customer environment. Sometimes I think our clients wish they were selling golf balls or running shoes - products that are easy to explain, easy for customers to understand, and suggest a clear vision of how customers will use them!
While few of our clients have actually abandoned their B2B careers, they have had to work very hard to figure out how to manage a solutions business effectively. One important step that many of them have taken is establishing a solutions council. These councils are designed to ensure coordination and collaboration across business units and other intra-company boundaries so companies can build, market, and sell integrated solutions more effectively.
To look more closely at the critical role that solutions councils can play, we recently interviewed a number of our clients from several industry segments, including information technology, systems integration, and telecommunications. Their solutions offerings typically include a combination of hardware, software, and professional services.
All of these companies have extensive experience in setting up and running solutions councils, so our clients had a great many lessons to share across several dimensions of council management. I outline ten critical lessons below.Defining Roles and Responsibilities
Sustaining Interest and Effectiveness – Processes and Activities
Sustaining Interest and Effective – Running Council MeetingsConclusion: Councils Matter!
At Solutions Insights, we feel strongly that a decision-making body for solutions that cuts across all key groups within a company is not a “nice to have”, but a “must have”. However, simply establishing a solutions council gets you only half way home. As these 10 lessons demonstrate, how you organize and manage the council will ultimately determine its success in driving solutions growth and profit.What's your experience?
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