The role of Sales has changed and continues to change year over year. Salespeople were once the keepers of the keys in terms of product information, application experience, competitive analysis, needs assessments and so on. Today a great deal of what we used to do to provide value to customers can quickly be accomplished in the digitized world with a click of a mouse. Studies indicate as much as 70% of the sales process is over before a customer speaks with a salesperson today.
What can sales people do to differentiate?
What are the top 5% of sellers consistently doing to meet and exceed their sales objectives?
Lee Salz’s new book: Sales Differentiation, 19 powerful strategies to win more sales at the prices you want helps salespeople and sales managers adjust to the sales environment of today and provide value to their customers.
When I meet with sales teams or conduct workshops I often ask a question…
How have you seen sales change in the last 10 years?
What I often hear includes:
The internet of things made buyers much more informed
We face buying committees instead of a single decision maker
Buyers are much busier wearing more hats, managing more products and it is more difficult to win meeting times
Our competitors caught up with us in quality and service and buyers are commoditizing our products and services
I don’t have enough hours in a day to do everything expected of me today
All else being equal, buyers are making their decisions based on price and we lose
Today sales is a 27/7 job and buyers expect answers in minutes
Social selling, social buying, the ability of buyers to do research in an instant
Buyers don’t ask for referrals anymore, they find our customer feedback ( good and bad) on their own
And the list goes on…
With all of the above and more seeming to commoditize our products and services is it any surprise salespeople are so quick to discount price?
For years I have done win-loss analysis calling customers we won as well as those deals we lost.
When I ask sales why they think they lost the sale I hear “Price” as their number one reason.
However when I speak with buyers they share two things very often:
- “I do not think the salesperson was really listening and understood the problems I was trying to solve so I did not trust their proposal”
- “The salesperson clearly understood their product’s features and benefits but could not connect the dots to how their product or service adds value to my organization”
We are at a critical tipping point for sales and how we sell today.
As Lee Saltz shares in his new book it is not just what you sell but how you sell it that can be your differentiation in the crowed and busy market of today.
To win deals at the price your team wants (and needs) you need to differentiate.
Why this book is important for sellers today is it provides 19 differentiations they can apply today that will help your salesperson standout among all the competition and help you win deals you should be winning.
How can you apply this book to drive sales growth for your team?
- I suggest you buy a copy of this book for each of your salespeople and tell them we will have a book review in 45 days.
- Have a virtual training and ask each salesperson 4-5 of the differentiation strategies they plan to start using.
- Over the following 3-4 months travel with your salespeople on four legged sales calls and observe. Are they applying the differentiation strategies or are the selling the way they always have? Coach and encourage them to use these strategies.
- After you have traveled with your entire sales team note the differentiation strategies they chose to use and rank them based on use.
- Use your findings to build short micro learning training courses that reinforce those strategies.
- Capture team success stories and share them.
- Use the new micro learning training courses as a part of your sales on-boarding training for new team members.
We need to fix this sales problem of commoditization and helping your salespeople differentiate themselves in how they sell is a smart strategy.
If you follow this advice you should expect to experience the following:
- Improved close rate
- More opportunities
- Shorter selling cycle
- Higher profit per sale
- Increase in cross and upselling
- More sales team members achieving quota
- ( and much happier Monday morning executive meetings for you)
How about your company…
Could teaching your salespeople how to differentiate themselves in their crowded markets help your sales results?
Could how you sell become your team’s distinctive competence?
How often are your salespeople asking for price discounts?
What % of your salespeople achieved and or exceeded sales quota this year?
Is your team’s sales quota increasing or decreasing next year? (Yah, that’s what I thought)
What % of sales deals won was discounted in the last 6-8 months? (that many?)
Why wouldn’t you try to strategically adjust the way your team sells and let the way they sell become your differentiation strategy?