“When a sales team has the same strategy as the competition, the sales experience becomes a commodity. When this happens, there is no longer the ability to differentiate on anything other than product or price. Unless the company is lucky enough to sell a product superior to others, an advantage that is likely to be short lived, the pricing pressure will result in missing the number.”
Does this feel familiar? Losing traction in an account can be devastating. Being perceived as the same as all the others can be demoralizing. Competing on price propagates all of the negative sales stereotypes. Yet 67% of sales strategies are a “me too” approach, with little competitive differentiation. As a Sales Professional, the time, focus and effort involved in winning an account is a true commitment. To invest this amount of energy and be lost in the crowd is not what you signed up for. Have you ever quantified how much time is wasted on lost opportunities?
It may be better to assess how much time you spend preparing your account strategy. Is it any? Having the correct strategy is one of the strongest indicators that you are going to achieve your sales number. Having a better strategy than your competitors is not the goal. SBI’s 8th Annual Research Report reveals that having a different strategy is the key.
So what does it mean to have a different strategy? Having a different strategy means being easily differentiated in your value proposition. High value for low cost (or some spin on that) groups you with most competitors. And following through with this “me too” strategy creates a race to the bottom: whoever provides the lowest price wins. As Sales Professionals, our job is to communicate value in a way that resonates with our customers. Competing on price results in the exact opposite. Besides, do you really want to be the low-price leader?
So, how do you differentiate so that you are recognized for your value?
First: You have to understand how your competition is selling. What is their strategy? If you don’t readily know, how can you position yourself against them? Don’t just rely on intel that you hear in your accounts. Do your research—examine competitor websites and press releases. Do some social listening through online groups and forums. Understand what the corporate focus is, and how this translates to field execution.
Second: You have to make yourself different. If your competition is selling on customization, flexibility, cost, etc.., don’t say “me too.” Understand the niche benefits of your solutions and how they will specifically impact your customers. Provide buyer insight as to how your unique solution is the best option. Create a wedge between you and your competitors. Position their competitive selling points as one of the masses.
Download SBI’s 8th Annual Research Report for more perspective on the importance of strategy. These aren’t the days of the past; a business card with the right logo will no longer get you the business. Understand how to differentiate yourself amongst your customer base to hit your number.