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Ideas and Innovations as a Differentiator

September 23rd, 2011 · 42 Comments

During a recent customer meeting, I realised that when talking (pitching), I needed to separate what I saying into two:

  • The first part of what I was selling was effectively a commoditised set of products (email, SMS, etc.). Many other companies could offer the same set of products. Here, our pricing had to be competitive, and there is always some pressure on margins. While we could claim some technological superiority or better service, these would not be enough for us to charge a significant markup as compared to competition.
  • Then, there was a second part to the meeting. Here, we were discussing ideas and innovations -things which could become “gamechangers” for the customer. They were expecting ideas and innovative solutions to solve the challenges they had in both customer acquisition and customer retention (or engagement). Here, there was no discussion on pricing. Budgets were infinite if we could come up with the right solution. Competition wasn’t even talking this language.

I came back and shared these thoughts with my sales team. We needed to do both. But, increasingly, we needed to spend more time on the second – thinking hard about the customer’s business, and how the “Lego blocks” we had could fit together to make a big change for the customer.

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42 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Siddharth Chawla // Sep 23, 2011 at 9:57 am

    That sounds perfect. That is what we are working on.

    Infact I like to call the second part as use cases. Customers are always ready to listen to use cases while most of competitors are selling technology.

    And being able to offer a customized solution to their use case can be the difference between good margins and poor margins.

    Thanks for reminding.


  • 2 Sundar // Sep 24, 2011 at 5:58 pm


    On the first one, I suggest you offer consulting services, which command a premium, separate from the commodity products/services. There are always customers wanting consulting. Will mail you separately on this.

    On the second one, consulting could be integral to the services and it could also take shape like co-creation / COIN – Collaborative Innovation Network.


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