Does Selling as a Competitive Advantage Make Sense for Your Company?
Perhaps the most powerful attribute of a good strategic plan is how the company plans to distinguish itself from the competition in a way that is not easily replaced or replicated. With the pace of change and disruption today, it is certainly not easy to get ahead and clearly differentiate yourself.
For those struggling with how to stand apart from the pack, the encouraging news is that Gartner Research reports that over 50 percent of customer loyalty is driven by how you sell – more than the impact of your brand, product, service, and price combined. Wow.
The even better news is that how you sell (your sales experience) is the one thing your company can still design, improve, measure, and control in a way that is difficult to replicate or replace. This creates a wonderful opportunity for sales driven companies to use selling as a formidable competitive advantage for growth and profitability.
The Sales Challenge
Let’s start with the current state of sales. Even though U.S. companies report spending over $15 billion each year on sales training, most sales reps are struggling. A recent Selling Power survey found that only:
Combine that with the sobering fact that buyers report that over three-quarters of solution sellers do not clearly understand their key issues, are unclear how they can add meaningful value, and are not well prepared to answer questions or to share relevant case studies to substantiate what sets them apart.
That sounds like a wonderful untapped opportunity to strategically invest in selling as a competitive advantage that is hard to replace or replicate.
Steps to Use Selling as a Competitive Advantage
Is your sales strategy clear enough?
Before you embark on sales skills or sales product training, first make sure that your sales team is healthy and engaged enough to want to take their performance to the next level. Then make sure that the way your sales team measures, communicates, and rewards performance is fair, accurate, meaningful, and aligned. Lastly make sure that the way your sales and service teams treat customers, make decisions, view risk, create loyalty, go to market, and get results aligns with your business and sales growth strategy.
If you want use selling as a competitive advantage your sales team must have the experience, knowledge, attitude, and business acumen to:
Identify what matters most to your target buyers.
Link your offering to their most pressing needs.
Articulate how you can help them to succeed better than anyone else in a way they can understand.
Can your sales team consistently position and sell complex solutions to your target buyers in a way that makes sense?
Sales Support Resources – Make sure your sales teams have the necessary time, information, tools, technology, supporting sales processes, and structures to sell in a differentiated way.
Sales Reinforcement – Make sure you provide and align sales success metrics, incentives, consequences and recognition with the newly desired sales skills and behaviors.
Sales Coaching – Our research shows that sales reps who receive frequent sales coaching outperform their peers 4-to-1. Invest in sales coaching if you do not want your sales training investment to waste away.
The Bottom Line
In a buyer-driven world, sales organizations need to adapt and sell differently if they want to remain relevant. But if you truly want your team to sell in a way that differentiates you from the competition, you and your team must align your sales strategy, culture, and talent in a way that sets you apart from the pack.
To learn more about how to use selling as a competitive advantage, download Unique Value Proposition – Are You Setting Yourself Apart from the Competition?
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