You already understand the pace at which products and services are copied by your competition. Buyers in the B2B environment can commoditize almost anything. It took only 3 years for a product hailed as one of the greatest innovations ever, the iPhone, to go from being completely unique with only one service provider option (AT&T) to having more than two dozen similarly functioning smartphones with service available from four major telecom carriers.
The customer experience is harder to copy, though many companies are also trying to add value in this arena. Ultimately, it’s the sales experience that provides a tremendous opportunity for differentiation and client value.
Sales is a vital component of the customer experience that is often neglected. Too often, executives think of sales as “just” the distribution engine for the business. The sales team is directed to go get new clients and extract more business from existing clients. But to do that well, and not sacrifice margin in a price war, the sales organization needs to move from “just” distribution, to becoming part of the differentiation. When your sales team can differentiate in the way they sell, not just what they sell, you’ll have a growth strategy that no competitor can copy.
You won’t make that happen with a few days of sales training. It’s a fundamental strategy for your business that impacts metrics, recruiting, sales team deployment, and of course, leadership provided by executives in the C-suite. You can’t just ask the VP of Sales to lead a major shift in the business. (More on that
in this article I wrote for HBR a few years ago.
Instead, focus part of your business strategy on differentiating and creating value in the sales process. That will create a unique prospect/client experience, that influences at least 25% of the buying decision according to McKinsey & Co. (and I think that number is massively understated.)
In order to deliver a sales experience that grows your bottom line, your team will have to make considerable changes in what it means to sell solutions today. If you're interested in learning more about what that means, read on.