Fortify Your Solution with Glue

October 9, 2017
Author: Duncan Ashford

How many times have you shaped a beautifully crafted solution that delivers an impactful value proposition, only to find the client tries to break it apart… to unbundle it? It is a frequently encountered strategy and may reflect a lack of trust or transparency in your relationship. In our experience, it is usually an attempt to reduce the price of the solution’s essential parts or to test the necessity of each component. Maybe they are trying to make it simpler to compare your pricing to competitor bids? Or perhaps you have been handed off to procurement, who will take delight and get rewarded for these actions!  

The answer is to fortify your solution with a little “glue,” so it cannot be broken up! Package it to keep it together. In order to do this, we recommend four bundling glue tactics:

1 - Name it: Brand your solution by giving it a catchy, memorable name. Create a mental image for your client, think, ‘Happy Meal’! It’s amazing how a good name can catch on and help to build your identity and differentiate you from the competition. Avoid product titles - find a name that describes in just a few words the specific value the client will derive and make it unforgettable.  

2 - Price it: offer a single bundled price only and focus on the total value provided. Don’t be persuaded to itemize each component as this simply enables the client to cherry-pick – and then negotiate price on each item individually. Depending on the situation, a good pricing strategy may be to offer an advantageous price that is less than if they purchased components separately. Be confident in your solution and be proud of your price. Don’t erode margins and returns unnecessarily. 

3 - Time it: magnify the time window. It’s almost certainly taken you a considerable amount of time to reach this point in terms of defining and developing the right solution, and from the client’s perspective, a complex sales cycle and evaluation process will probably have taken them weeks, if not months. Delays can be costly on both sides, but especially when the client needs to see tangible value within a defined timeframe. So, reinforce the urgency to drive a faster decision. Remind the client that in order to deliver the value they need within the required timescale, there is no time to unbundle, seek revised proposals and effectively re-start the evaluation process.  

4 - Amplify it: Position your offering as a uniquely blended, synergistic solution that meets all your client’s specific needs, and where each component is inter-dependent on each other. You must show that there is value in the bundling and solutioning that cleverly brings together all the right pieces to create the business impact needed, demonstrate that the impact will be dramatically reduced unless it remains intact. You wouldn’t want a car without a steering wheel, so why remove components of your solution and reduce its effectiveness? Just be sure that if there are any unnecessary components in the solution, remove them before bundling the rest. 

By using one or more of these glues, it’s possible to keep your solution fortified and protect it from unbundling. It also has the potential to greatly differentiate your solution and create the competitive advantage needed to win.

Personal Challenge:
Next time you have customized a bundled solution, follow all four steps above to name it, price it, 
time it and amplify it. The combination of all four actions creates a binding glue and offers you several responses to any client demands to break your solution apart.

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