Every business problem can be investigated and analyzed with different methods. But based on the design thinking process, as a human-centered method, the problems, needs, and demands of the users should first be examined to reach the solution. In general, considering the user in the buying and selling process is a priority.
Companies and businesses think about different reasons why they experience a drop in sales compared to their annual planning and targeting. Many organizations refer to their supply chain problems and start their analysis and reviews from their organization’s process. There can be different reasons that over time have led to a drop in sales losing the market and handing over market share to competitors. Design thinking examines this problem with its method and offers a unique solution.
Surveying the problem
How to investigate the problem depends on what product you are offering to your customers. And whether your business deals with the end consumer or with intermediaries can make a difference in how you look at the problem.
Businesses that provide their services to other businesses (B2B), not to the end user, have different problems than companies that deal with the end user.
Is the problem analysis model of these two forms of communication/and sales also different? Usually, in critical situations, when organizations experience a drop in sales, they investigate the reasons within their organization. The fact that the decrease in sales is due to the decrease in the quality of the service or product, or that the organization’s marketing team has not properly provided the goods and services to the customer, can all be important reasons for the decrease in sales.
But the issue can be seen differently based on the design thinking process; You can start the issue from the consumer and the customer, not from within the company!
That is, the issues and problems that caused the drop in sales should be asked of the customer. Why the product or service is not welcomed will be told by the customer himself better than anyone. Empathy with the customer and the design of quantitative and qualitative questions according to the persona of the brand audience is the beginning of this process. It is crucial and helpful for the customer to be capable of telling us why he no longer uses our products and services in a proper environment and based on intelligent questions.
In a world full of changes, customers and consumers are constantly changing. In addition, their reasons for choosing our competitor over us are significant. What criteria have caused the customer to stop choosing us? Furthermore, we could no longer keep our buyers, without knowing that we were losing the market to our competitor.
A decrease in our company’s sales means a decrease in purchases, a decrease in choice, or a change in the customer’s preference in the market. Investigating the reasons for each of these cases and knowing their causes can inform the sales team and the entire supply chain about the reasons for the drop in sales.
Rooting the problem
It is vital to understand the problem and listen to the customer’s voice and demand and express the reasons for not buying our goods and services, But the customer is not supposed to tell the reason for not selling our product.
In essence, customers articulate their reasons for not purchasing our product from their perspective; however, the underlying issue and resolution should be examined by design thinking experts and each organization’s internal team.
Finding the root of the problem helps us to understand where the problem originates from so that the customer no longer chooses us. Again and again, after finding the root of the problem, we realize that the main reason for the drop in sales has nothing to do with the sales team. Its roots can even go back to the macro and strategic decisions of the organization’s senior managers. Decisions made in the past and their effects are visible today.
There are different methods for finding the root of problems, such as the “5 Whys” technique and the “House of Quality” technique, which help us find the root of the problems, desires, and needs that the customer told us in the research process. Many organizations skip this step and think that it is a time-consuming and unnecessary step, and as soon as the customer has expressed his problems, they can go to find a solution for them; Without finding their roots. Defining the problem is exactly half of the design thinking process. Without this, reaching the correct answer and solution is not possible.
The perfect ideation for the wrong problem is a trap that most organizations fall into.
Ideation and solution presentation
Once the root of the problem is identified and the main issues are prioritized according to the organization’s strategy and policies, operational solutions can be explored. In the previous section, the “House of Quality” technique helps us determine the priority of the root of problems for businesses. As mentioned, the root of the problem of sales decline can be traced back to any part of the organization. The root of the problems can help us understand that the customer’s habits and behaviors have changed, and solutions should be provided based on that.
Therefore, we start brainstorming based on the importance and priority of the issues.
Different techniques give ideas and solutions based on them to increase organizational sales. The techniques of Triz, Brainwriting, Mind mapping, etc. can all give us creative solutions. But one point should be considered for all of them, the best solutions should touch 3 important parts simultaneously. In fact, among different ideas, the best idea should have these characteristics:
The most important ideas and solutions in the sales world are created based on the common point of these three areas. We provide our sales solution according to the customer’s demand and the implementation possibilities in line with the durability and stability of our business.
There are different techniques and methods to solve the problem of sales decline. However, the difference in the design thinking method is to prioritize the customer and provide creative solutions based on his wishes and needs. Today, old methods are no longer responsive to customer needs. In a competitive and ever-changing world, some businesses can endure and thrive by offering a unique customer experience during the sales process.
It does not matter if this process is physical or digital, that is, online or offline. The customer values a distinct experience crafted through various service designs and unique product presentations while shopping. In fact, by designing a different purchase process and creating a new experience, you can provide unique value to the customer. Customers have been seeking new experiences and value, rather than just purchasing goods and services, for quite some time. Design thinking is an effective and precise approach to generating experiences and value for both online and in-person buyers during the sales process of businesses.
By: Majid Ahmadi KhoshbakhtCEO of MAKH