by Martina Partl
cyLEDGE has been researching the field of mass customization for more than 10 years now. Our previous work mainly focused on B2C and web-based configurators. By collaborating with Siemens Building Technologies we started to take a deeper look at complex B2B configurators and their relevance from the sales´ perspective.
Value-Based Selling with support of configurators
Creating value for the customer is the basis for a successful customer-seller relationship. The sales method value-based selling aims to understand the customer needs to meet them with a bundle of products and services in the best possible way. With our research we wanted to find out, if and how an interactive tool like a configurator can optimize the sales process.
According to the idea of value-based selling the configurator should give answers, why the customer needs the product or service. The configurator should be able to identify, understand and prioritize the most important quantitative and qualitative values (e.g. increase of productivity, feeling for security or sustainability). Correspondingly to the answers why a customer needs a product or service and which value the usage would provide, the configurator should find the associated arguments in an interactive way which features are important. Therefore, the question how can answer the function-oriented criteria. The results are desired applications or features of the services. The last step is associated with the highest complexity: the physical properties or the parameters of a product. These refer to producer-specific characteristics and its accompanying questions are answered with the question what. The configurator should present the products with detailed information about their fulfillment of the chosen values.
As shown in the figure* above the chain of reasoning should follow the path from a value-based selling to a feature selling ending up in a parameter selling with a tender as the output. The configurator should lead the users through this whole process.
Alain Debrot from Siemens Switzerland and Paul Blazek from cyLEDGE presented some of the research findings of how to set up the perfect sales configurator at the MCP-CE 2016 (International Conference on Mass Customization and Personalization in Central Europe) in Novi Sad. Their conference paper is available for download.
But the journey continues. We are the leading partner of trust for companies who are actively embracing the world of customization. Send us a mail to learn more: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Alain Debrot, Paul Blazek, Monika Kolb (2016): Value-Based Selling with the Support of Configurators, Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Mass Customization and Personalisation in Central Europe (MCP-CE 2016), Novi Sad, 58-62