By Pat Hinds
When I discuss the potential of providing consulting solution for customers, one topic that comes up on a frequent basis is the concept of “in the box” and “out of the box” thinking. Listed below is a definition for “out of the box thinking from Wikipedia:
“Thinking outside the box is to think differently, unconventionally or from a new perspective. This phrase often refers to novel, creative and smart thinking.”
Two types of “box” solutions for customers:
Customer 1 – Need to “build a box” to ensure a repeatable sales model.
Customer 1 Example: Customer has a line of products, but was not able to establish a repeatable sales model. The customer required a solution to identify the target market for its product lines, build a sales territory, assign a territory to sales, establish a sales process and monitor the activities within the box.
In this case, the customer asked POIM to make recommendations and implement a system that provided a repeatable sales model allowing them to expand geographic sales coverage for its existing product lines. POIM leveraged the Sales 2.0 model that included market modeling, sales territory design, Salesforce implementation, and reporting to build a box for the product line.
Customer 2 – Need to “think out of the box” to stimulate sales growth.
Customer 2 Example: Customer wanted to capture greater market share in a specific vertical. The customer had established in the box tactics: building infrastructure, building sales territories that included the accounts within the sales territories, assigning the territories to sales people and providing the sales people with products that meet the requirements of the customers. This in the box strategy worked well to capture initial market share within the vertical, but after a period of time the effectiveness diminished and market share growth stagnated.
To grow market share the customer needed to think out of the box and leverage new stimulus to ensure market share growth. In this case the customer asked POIM to come in and assess the market and provide recommendations on a strategy and tactics that would help grow market share. The challenge for POIM is to make recommendations to the customer on growing market share with new tactics that meet the needs of the customer; and fit back into the box to ensure the solutions can be put into action and adopted by marketing and sales.
My recommendation prior to formulating a solution for the customer is to evaluate if the solution is an “in the box” or “out of the box” this will help you define the goals, objective and strategy for the project.