CEO Topic: Solution Selling in Information Businesses

Author: Simon Alterman

Date: January 24, 2016


What does a successful sales function in a modern B2B information business look like? Over the last 10-15 years, the evolution of the market and the advent of the networked digital economy have transformed the way we sell. Gone are the days when salespeople could present a menu of offerings without uncovering the buyer’s needs or preferences. Although “solution selling” is not a new concept, the information industry can greatly benefit from making a buyer-centric sales approach the new normal.

Solution Selling in Information Businesses analyzes how information services companies manage this transition to solution selling, examines how to evaluate the alternatives to this sales model, and identifies the critical components for success, including the four key areas for best practices in establishing true solution-selling based sales organizations.

Overhauling the sales operations of any company is demanding and risky. This report enables CEOs and sales leaders to see how they compare against best practices and what is needed to move to the next level, and ensure they have a state-of-the-art sales model fit for the future of their business.


Our analysis and recommendations in this report derive principally from 20 interviews, mainly with CEOs and sales leaders across a broad range of B2B information businesses. We also interviewed buyers of information solutions in enterprises to get a sense of their needs and what’s expected on the receiving end of “solution selling”. Interviewees come from many different segments of the industry: education content and technology, STM services, financial information and tools, and general B2B publishing and information. We also draw on our previous research into sales effectiveness as well as our ongoing dialogue with industry executives and suppliers.

Outsell Inc. CEO Topic: Solution Selling in Information Businesses


  • Why This Topic
  • Methodology
  • Drivers of Change
  • Solution Selling Basics
  • The Need
  • The Buying Process
  • Implementation
  • Structure
  • Recruitment and Training
  • Remuneration
  • Metrics
  • Organisational Impact
  • Best Practices Summary
  • Controlling the Process
  • Beyond Solution Selling
  • Essential Actions
  • Related Research

Figures & Tables

  • Table 1. Transactional vs. Solution Selling
  • Figure 1. Best Practice Organisational Structure
  • Figure 2. Best Practices Checklist

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