It’s happened to all of us. You are involved in an opportunity and have been making good progress. Then in a conversation with your contact a realization occurs: You are not the only date to the dance. Your competition has begun to make headway in the account. Progress begins to slow down and you find yourself in an uphill sales battle. Or worse- you get the verbal agreement and the incumbent responds with an offer the customer can’t refuse. What now?
The competitive battle will always be there. These days it is harder than ever. Buyers know more about you and your competition than ever before. They’ve done their research. In fact, they are 57% through their Buyer’s journey before engaging with a salesperson*. How do you keep ahead of the competition?
The key is to be on the offensive with an Airtight Competitive Sales Plan. This plan is simple to execute and provides the following key benefits:
- Identify the strengths of your company and all competitors.
- Develop an offensive sales strategy
- Develop a defensive sales strategy
- Establish key tactics to execute these strategies
- Create a clear alignment of responsibilities with your sales team
- Beat out your competition to win the deal!
Competitive Sales Plan Approach
Team collaboration: This plan should begin early in the sales cycle to avoid being blindsided. As early as possible, hold a working session with your deal team. Have each member contribute input based on their interactions in different areas of the account. Identify what competitors may be engaging with the prospect. These may be the incumbent vendor as well as other new hopefuls. Brainstorm the competitive strengths and weaknesses of each entity involved.
Develop your strategy and tactics: With competitive advantages determined, it is time to formulate your sales strategy. Use the input from each team member to establish your overall direction and goals. Identify how to best leverage your strengths against your competitors. Create actionable tactics that will be executed by each appropriate member of your team. Ensure that each tactic is validated using the SMART method (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, Time bound). Have someone to play “Devil’s Advocate” to challenge the effectiveness of each approach. Do this as a complete team to ensure buy-in and alignment with each member.
Establish accountability: With tactics decided, it is crucial to establish team accountability. An airtight plan is useless if any items get dropped. In a competitive deal, “you do this” is not effective. Each member must understand and agree to what type of contribution they will make. The RACI model is extremely effective in mapping the responsibilities of each member. For each tactic, RACI determines who is:
- Responsible: Person(s) that execute the task
- Accountable: The person who owns the result. This can only be one person
- Consulted: Subject matter expert(s) that contributes ideas that lead to the work being done more efficiently and effectively
- Informed: Person(s) kept in the loop because they need to know what has been done
Increase the wedge between you and your competitors. Download the Airtight Competitive Sales Plan today. The tool is simple to use and contains everything you need to stay ahead. Full instructions for execution are included. Take the lead and snuff out the competition!
*Sales Executive Council, 2011