When an existing solution is "good enough", how do you convince potential customers to use your "better" solution?

 

What does a client or prospect mean when they tell you they've decided not to invest in your offering because their existing solution is good enough? From my experience objections typically fall into one of two main categories: No Benefit or Satisfied. The way to overcome either of these is to create dissatisfaction with their current situation. To me, it sounds as though your target audience sees "no benefit" in switching. Your software may make the task easier but "easy" doesn't usually get people to open their checkbook.

I would ask myself a few questions about the problem you're helping to addr

ess:

  • What is it they are actually trying to accomplish by completing the task? This goes deeper than just the outcome of completion and into the bigger picture of how it impacts the company
  • How are they doing it now?
  • How is what they are doing now (point 2) impacting their ability to accomplish point 1?
  • How can your solution address the challenges in Point 3 to enable them to achieve the goals in Point 1?

Let me give you an example based an industry I worked in during a previous life (document and information management systems) that is abbreviated and unpolished, but it'll give you an idea. Let's look at an accounts payable invoice approval process where several people in the organization have to review invoices and supporting documents prior to payment.

Example 1 - Looking at A problem

  • "Don't you want to be able to pay your invoices on-time and reduce your headcount?"
  • "Right now you employee 3 people dedicated to opening invoices, keying the information into your accounting system and shuffling paperwork around for management approval and "
  • "Paper can be lost, be time-consuming to review and all those people cost you a lot of "
  • "We offer solutions that allow you to scan and automatically extract the information from your invoices and import them directly into your accounting system saving valuable time and helping you reduce headcount. Once scanned we can route the documents electronically along an approval path which gives you the ability to speed up approvals and pay your bills on time."

Example 2 - Getting to THE problem

  • "How important is it for you to maintain strong vendor relationships, to have real-time control over your cash flow and access to accurate financial data to make more informed business decisions?"
  • "Right now, your accounts payable team is manually entering all the invoice information as they arrive. Invoices are processed on a first in first out basis. Once the data is entered, to hard copy invoice stapled to your original purchase order and the vendor's receiving documents (which have to be searched for in a filing cabinet) for the purposes matching totals, quantities, etc.. If all the documents match they are then sent off to the departmental manager for approval then back to finance to produce a check."
  • "What we've observed with clients who have operated in a similar manner is they were having challenges identifying the payment terms of invoices so they could delay payments on invoices with 60 or 90-day terms or process invoices with early payment discount options on time; resulting in missed savings and less manageable cash flow. Additionally, the resources needed to manually data enter the invoice information is costly and error-prone, which further impacts your profitability and ability to act with accurate information. Finally, the documents being shuffled around the office were frequently being lost or misplaced resulting in late payment charges from vendors which created bad blood between the two "
  • "We implement solutions that allow our clients to scan and extract the information from their invoices quickly. Once the information has been extracted, it can be imported into their financial systems, eliminating manual data entry costs. The scanned documents can then be automatically matched to their respective purchase orders and receiving documents for comparison without the time needed to look up the paper documents. The electronic documents can then be routed for approval based on payment terms, taking advantage of early payment discounts or delaying longer-term payment options, giving you better control over your cash flow. Once digital, you'll have instant access to accurate forecast information to make the right decisions for your business."

So this was just a quick and dirty example, but the real point is to effectively sell something there needs to be dissatisfaction (you may need to help create/reveal this for them), and the solution needs to help address the bigger picture, otherwise you will forever be told "Our existing solution is good enough."

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