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JWPM Consulting

Solution selling

25 March 2020

What is solution selling?

Solution selling refers to the process of engaging with a customer to deliver a product or service where DESIGN or DEVELOPMENT of the requested product or service is a significant proportion of the project scope.

Examples of Solution Selling

  • The design and construction of architecturally designed homes or commercial buildings
  • The design and construction of infrastructure such as roads, bridges and tunnels
  • Bespoke software development
  • Designing, fabricating, installing and commissioning of mechanical or hydraulic systems used in processing plants
  • Designing and building ships

Before developing a proposal (submitting a bid) the competing firms need to translate the customer's requirements specification into a design before they can calculate a cost estimate.

Firms compete for the project based on differentiating via the following main methods...

  • Capability
  • Capacity
  • Their proposed design (which will be unique)
  • Reputation evidenced by delivery of past projects
  • Selling ability
  • Value for money

For the buyer the challenge is comparing offers as each firm will have put forward a unique solution making it harder to compare.

For the selling firms the challenge is being able to put forward an attractive bid without investing too much time and money in developing the solution and preparing the proposal.

Solution selling firms therefore need to be selective about what they decide to bid for to avoid expending resources on low probability opportunities. This process of selecting opportunities is called capture planning.


Further reading

Solution selling - building a better sausage machine
What cycling teaches you about business