The full picture behind a handshake, the universal expression of a successful transaction, a sale, has many similarities with other processes in physics, like the behavior of sub-atomic particles in a fusion process where atoms combine at the expense of energy to achieve a ‘desired’ new stable form.
In a short-sighted view, a sale, is just a transactional consequence of the collision between a problem and its potential solution. Beyond the solution, it’s about ‘the job to be done’, as analyst Horace Dediu many times refers to.
Problems belong to buyers, who are perpetually in active seek of solutions, in a dance surrounded of sellers.
In between problems and solutions, where they meet, there is, in ‘firewalling’ words, a DMZ area, the conflict zone. In the corporate world, this DMZ area is delimited by finance, business operations, business affairs and legal on one side, Brand & corporate marketing, channel marketing, Product Marketing, Technical support and PR on the other.
Picture yourself driving the Challenger spacecraft re-entering atmosphere. You can feel the heat below your feet, that burning side of the spaceship will be what we call sales in any company. This fringe, always in friction, is where I work, at the beginning of the end of problems, where the job needs to be done.
Problems and solutions belong to ‘The What’ of the story. The bigger picture becomes visible if we ask about ‘The Why’. Why does a problem exist?, answers are not always evident.
Majority of the times, particularly in the tech word, and as a consequence asymmetric competition, it becomes necessary to reverse engineer everything from the visible impact in the market.
Smartphone sales, as an example, may illustrate this. A smartphone is actually a piece of hardware whose purpose is to materialize an interconnected multimedia experience for human beings (although we see also cats, dogs and other animals staring at screens). The problem to solve here, is to deliver intelligibly a stream of content&services to an UI, the solution (or the tool if you will) is a smartphone.
In this case, the problem belongs to different stakeholders in the value chain. Content and service providers want to reach end users, that’s their problem. They ultimately rely on carrier networks to convey their products. Carriers, owners of networks, also want to reach end users and their problem is to make sure end users have something in their hands with a screen as big as reasonable to deliver their megabytes of data. But… why?.
Problem owners or buyers, carriers, content developers, service providers, share the same motivation, they want to monetize their products or services, that’s why. In other words, they want to deliver something on to a recipient (at a cost) to obtain a benefit (at a profit), the delta between cost and profit speaks to the importance of the problem and fuels the determination to resolve it.
In our example, the solution is simple, go and buy an smartphone. In our story, those with bigger profits at a stake will be keener to dance with smartphone vendors, rules are simple, everyone will fight to maximize profit or reduce cost in the value chain but always within the limits to secure the new, aspirational stage, is not jeopardized. i
It’s a sum-zero game in which everybody wins one way or another. We, users, enjoy our connected life in our never-leave-more-than-a-meter away smartphones, while carriers, content and service providers make commercial profits. It’s all about the transfer of value and the transactions in between.
But, this is not over, no single solution can ever, never, serve entirely to solve the problem it is intended for. There will be always gaps. Gaps need to be filled in by means of innovation in products and services, ultimately serving better end users, us, for a richer and happier experience.
Is there a limit to this?. I guess the answer is yes, if we, at some point of time, connect ourselves to an on demand endorphins delivery system.
But, this is a standalone topic on its own…