Sale leaders underestimate just how much impact their sales force can have on the execution of their strategy.
If you do not intend to lead with price, competing on price is a change of strategy. “But we are not competing on price,” you say, “We are competing on value.” This may or may not be true, but every time you match a competitor’s price, you have decided to compete on price. More still, every time you beat a competitor’s price to win new business, you are absolutely competing on price—and by doing so, changing your overall strategy.
If your product or service isn’t undeniably the best in the category to the point that it defines that category completely, you cannot compete on product or service. “Our product really is better than our competitor’s,” you say. If you insist. Look, you know far more than I do. That said, almost everyone has a good product or service. If you lead with product, you are selling features and benefits. This means you are selling at too low a level to be compelling, differentiated, or a trusted advisor.
When your salespeople compete on product without that actually being your strategy, they lose because they have decided to change your strategy.
I know, you want your team to compete on value creation. You want them to be consultative, and you want them to be considered trusted advisors, peers of your clients. But when your sales force isn’t equipped to sell value, that’s the same as not having a disruptive, insight-based strategy.
Some portion of your sales force will try to make selling easy by competing on price, when it is not to your advantage to do so, and by expecting the product to sell itself. It is likely that this isn’t possible in an economy that is commoditizing everything it can.
If you don’t want your sales force to change your strategy, then you cannot be responsible for changing the strategy either. This means you can’t allow your sales force to compete in ways that aren’t aligned with your strategy.
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Filed under: Sales