Solution Selling Vs. Brand Plan Selling.

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A brand plan is an organizing principle for selling. The plan has a claim and three proof-of-claim planks. The claim, the heart of the plan, is something a product or company does well – a synopsis. It is also something the consumer wants or needs. Hopefully, the claim is pregnant with meaning and contextual. (At the Griffin Farley Beautiful Minds event last year, a claim developed by a team of tyro brand planners for CitiBikes was “bicycles with benefits,” a lovely pregnant claim.) Planks, on the other hand, are the proof areas that give consumers reasons to believe the claim. Also, they give employees and marketers content for their little elevator speeches. (Have you ever wondered why we need elevator speeches?)

B2B companies use salesforces to move their products and over the past decade there has been a proliferation of something called “solution selling.” Salesforces are trained to sell only after they’ve engaged prospects about their pain. Once the pain points are found, the seller can put his/her sales spiel together. (I like nothing more than to share my pain with complete strangers.) 80% plus of U.S. sales teams are solution selling these days. They believe it differentiates them. Hee hee.

With a brand plan “what the customer needs” has already been articulated. With a brand plan “what the product is good at” is already understood and provable. With a brand plan and the proper marketing and promotion, “consumers already are predisposed toward the claim and proof” because it has been advertised and promoted. Sales training that is based upon a strategy endemic to the product or service and based upon a consumer need is much stronger than solution selling out of a book. A sales trainer from one company that moves to another company can change the logo at the top of the presentation and make a nice living. That should tell you something.

Powerful, organized selling is based upon a brand plan — not someone’s pain. Peace.

PS. To see examples of brand plans mail steve@whatstheidea.com