As the competitive landscape continues to transform in the wake of COVID-19, it is as vital as ever to qualify your leads and ensure that you are addressing the status quo and internal resources in the process. By aligning on the problem from the very beginning, it becomes your responsibility to highlight how your solution outperforms what is possible through inaction and in-house capabilities.

It can be easy for sales reps to obsess over their competition. Not only is understanding the competing value proposition a vital factor in winning new business, but the sheer volume of solutions available makes developing competitive intelligence even more valuable. However, the two options overlooked more than any competitor can be just as daunting, as internal resources and the status quo continue to lead the pack in lost deals among qualified leads.


Especially in times where spending is restricted, prospects are much more likely to lean on the easiest and most cost-effective options. Who can blame them? Tensions are heightened, and more stakeholders are likely to be impacted by organizational changes, so it is critical that salespeople understand what concerns decision-makers face in 2020 and how to address them.


Some of the most common concerns voiced by prospects have been outlined below:


  • We have managed fine for this long, why do we need to change? 
  • Why would we commit to something in the middle of a pandemic? Is now the best time?
  • How hard could it be? Why don’t we tackle this on our own?


While these are questions reps should address early in the sales cycle, they will continue to be asked by decision-makers until their business is won and may be your downfall if you are ill-prepared.  To ensure these concerns do not hinder your efforts, equip your sales reps with the value case for your solution, and an understanding of how to compete by aligning on the problem from the beginning.


Get started with SBI’s Problem Alignment Checklist to understand how you can guide your prospects through the decision process as a partner in their vision of success.


Download the Problem Alignment Checklist Here



Establish a Case for Change


In times of great uncertainty, your prospects are more likely deciding whether to make a change at all and less likely to be weighing your solution against competitors. To combat this, your sales reps must establish the value gap in keeping the status quo and what that means for the long-term health of their business. What is the monetary risk of delaying change? How will a lack of action leave the prospect vulnerable? What future opportunities will the prospect miss without change?


These are all questions your reps should not only be prepared to answer but plan to address head-on as they establish the value of your solution in the sales cycle. The problem should be sold first, and if done well, the status quo should be the least comfortable option your prospect holds.


Define Opportunity Against All Alternatives


When addressing how your solution solves a problem, it is just as important to present potential threats against the status quo and short-term solutions as it is against the problem itself. Your prospect should know what they want before you come into the picture, but it is up to you to gain a meaningful understanding of what they want to avoid in the process. Whether that be wasted time in internal solutioning or long-term risks of leaving the problem unaddressed, your solution will deliver value in more areas than what is immediately understood.


It is imperative that your prospect understands the cost of inaction and known obstacles associated with addressing the problem on their own. Clarify and quantify these risks as you continue to build a case for change.


Drive Your Prospect’s Vision of Success


If a prospect is seeking a solution for their business, then they have likely established their core requirements for defining success with or without an outside vendor. Understanding what these desired results are will enable your salespeople to validate the prospect’s goals, align on a strategic approach, and add measurable ways to highlight how your solution will deliver upon the prospect’s vision. That last point is critical, as quantifying how your solution’s distinctive approach will shape their vision of success will elevate your offering from “nice-to-have” to essential when a decision is made.


With this vision of success established, take inventory of your true competition and what value levers your prospects will weigh the most. Prioritize these factors to establish yourself as the best partner to help them achieve their vision.


Understanding what drives customers to lean on inaction and in-house capabilities will help define your selling process to optimize your chances of success. By aligning on your prospect’s unique problem from the get-go, you can proactively challenge internal resources and the status quo as you build your case for your solution and the value it can drive for their business. Analyze your threats from the beginning and prepare accordingly with the Problem Alignment Checklist to align with your client’s goals and champion their desired outcome. If you still have concerns given the economic conditions of today, submit your questions to SBI’s Revenue Growth Help Desk, and an expert will get back to you within 24 hours.


Download the Problem Alignment Checklist Here


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Jack Trump

Drives operational excellence through world-class delivery and execution

Jack brings 3 years of consulting experience working with SBI, Accenture, and Microsoft specializing in delivery and execution. Having led workstreams for multi-year programs and technology migrations, he is an expert in change management and has deep experience addressing complex organizational challenges.


Prior to SBI, Jack led the Accenture finance support team on a major ERP implementation to deliver the solution to 1,000+ retail stores.

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