Monthly Archives: December 2010

What would it be worth to your company if you could enable most of your salespeople to perform at the same level as your top salespeople? Quite a lot, I assume, as top salespeople can deliver three to six times as much in revenue as the average salesperson.

Obviously your top salespeople are doing many things right, including working more hours and being incredibly productive during that time.  And they are most likely as persistent as bulldogs.

However, it takes a lot more than hard work to be successful, and it is likely that they are are doing some the following to be successful:

  • Positioning your solution/product in a new or different way.
  • Creating a solution/product that addresses the needs of new stakeholders within your customers’ organization.
  • Addressing an emerging customer need, this may become more widespread, and therefore represent an even bigger opportunity for your organization.
  • Figuring out a new way to beat your competitors.
  • Using an access message that captures the attention of the C suite.
  • Crafting a proposal that effectively communicates value, especially to an economic buyer.

So why is it that we don’t systematically and effectively leverage best sales practices? And when we do look to leverage these practices, why is the process often slow and difficult?

The first time I thought about this issue was during my first sales conference, the primary purpose of which was to share sales best practices. I was grateful to be learning so much, and at the same time, I imagined how much more impactful it would be if the entire sales organization learned about these best practices in real time.

Since that day I’ve been developing process tools and techniques to identify, verify and apply sales best practices. I don’t have all the answers, but I have learned a few things that I will share with you over a series of blog posts.

And if there’s one thing I’m absolutely certain of, it’s that rapidly leveraging sales best practices will create a competitive, albeit short-lived, advantage for your company, in the rapidly changing, dynamic market in which we all compete.

There are 8 elements that are necessary to creating and sustaining a process that applies sales best. In the next series of posts, I’ll be describing each element  in detail.” The first element is engaging stakeholders.

Posted in News |

A recent editorial by John Kay in the Financial Times “Innovation Really Comes From Within” struck two cords with me: differentiation and competitive advantage. Kay indicates that companies such as accounting firms, banks and mobile phone companies see themselves as engaged in intense competition while customers think they’re all the same. He goes on to say that the benefit of competition is not just that it serves customers’ needs today but that it’s a mechanism for adapting what they will need tomorrow.

The dynamism of the market economy comes from innovation in products, services and processes. Kay’s view is that competition usually comes from outside the existing market structure. Two examples are Amazon, which totally changed the book-publishing industry and Apple, which changed the nature of the phone industry. It is very challenging for firms in B2B industries to differentiate themselves. One reason is that we work in a digital world where intelligence on competitive products or services is rapidly uncovered.

One strategy for creating and re-creating your source of a competitive advantage is how you sell your product or service. Selling by your employees or by channel partners is an underutilized source of competitive advantage. Here are two of the many reasons why your sales organization, employees or by channel partners, is a source of competitive advantage:

  1. Your salespeople know your customers better than anyone else in your company so they are in the best position to craft a solution that will help your customers to achieve their desired business outcome.
  2. Your salespeople are able to differentiate themselves by creating unique packages of services and products, which are almost impossible for your competition to copy, at least in the short term.

Research by Wilson Learning Worldwide shows a 32% increase in top-line performance because of a salesperson’s ability to serve as both a business consultant and business strategist.

To what extent are you using your sales organization to differentiate your products and services and create a competitive advantage?

Posted in News |