Customers have changed.
In the past, sales reps would be tasked with “solution selling“—i.e. being adept at discovering customers’ needs and selling them solutions to those problems. In other words, the sales rep would ask the customer questions to diagnose their problem (need diagnosis) and would “sell” them a product that their company produces which provides a solution to the customer’s problem (need fulfilment).
But in recent times, customers require less help from salespeople to find solutions to their problems. This is likely because:
- the wealth of information available to customers has multiplied exponentially;
- the access to such information has become ubiquitous [in Western nations] (predominantly due to the internet); and
- customers have become increasingly dexterous at researching, curating and analysing information.
The result of these developments is that customers are able to self-diagnose problems and research solutions themselves.
Why does this matter?
Continue reading “Delivering value in the Information Age”
Wolfram|Alpha is a mathematical computational knowledge engine. Instead of searching the web and returning links like a conventional search engine, it generates output by doing computations from its own internal knowledge base and publicly available data then expresses it in a structured and intuitive manner. It really is quite amazing. Make sure you check out the introductory video, it’s something you do not want to miss!
Back in 2009, Wolfram tested their mobile optimised website as a trial for their iPhone App. Upon the release of the iPhone App shortly thereafter, they pulled the mobile website from free use and were controversially charging in excess of $50 for the Wolfram|Alpha iPhone App! This staggering price was clearly not a successful strategy and failed dismally.
However, over the past few days Wolfram has re-evaluated their strategy and decided to drop the price of their iPhone App. The price drop comes as Wolfram release their new iPad formatted App which comes at the same low price. Also, the mobile website is back!
The announcement comes as Wolfram is uncharacteristically offering to refund the cost of the App to customers who are unhappy with their original purchase. It’s not unusual for companies to amend their pricing strategies, however it is odd for one to offer refunds to customers who paid the high release price. Visit http://www.wolframalpha.com/iwantmymoneyback/ to claim the refund.
Commentary: Kudos to Wolfram for acknowledging their fault and fixing the problem. This is a great way to rebuild broken customer relationships, and gain new ones (I bought the discounted App!). Toyota could take a leaf out of the Wolfram|Alpha book next time to avoid their PR nightmare!
Check out Wolfram|Alpha at http://www.wolframalpha.com/ or try the search box below: