We talk a lot about the importance of articulating differentatiation in the sales process. Even the greenest sales reps know they need a way to explain why their solution is different. Still, even if they have the best product on the market, many sales organizations struggle with enabling their sales team to effectively articulate why they're different than the competition in a way that has meaning to the buyer.
Why do so many organizations struggle with differentiation?
In our experience, the answer is often the result of one of three reasons.
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1. Too Internally Focused
Organizations are often too internally focused when it comes to differentiation. Rather than thinking about what makes them different in the eyes of the customer, they differentiate on things that may not matter to the customer. For example, you may have a marketing software that now supports e-commerce. That's great, but if I'm not selling anything online, that point of difference means only one thing to me - I'm going to pay for features that I won't use.
2. Rely Too Much on Unique Features
Organizations also have a tendency to rely too much on features and functions that are unique, things your competition doesn't have. This technique can be a lynchpin for salespeople. The challenge is if you rely on this strategy, it will only work for a finite period of time. It's only a matter of time until the competition has those features. So many organizations make the mistake of enabling their sales teams to sell on a feature or function that’s unique. Then, when the competition catches up they get killed in the market because they only know how to differentiate on that one trait.
3. Customer Relevance
Organizations fail to establish customer relevance for differentiators. We see this problem frequently. It's one of the chief reasons organizations will repeatedly lose to the competition.Your sales reps need to set the customer context before you talk about why you are different than the competition. Many sales organizations are plagued with reps that show up and throw up their differentiation, whether those factors matter to the customer or not. They spend too much time presenting differentiation without customer context.
Let's say your platform allows my sales reps to easily launch marketing campaigns out of a CRM system. In our sales conversation, you present that to me as a differentiator. I nod and recognize the ease of use. However, I am not really concerned with ramping up that feature for our sales team right now. Now, let's say you show that same feature, but explain to me how it enables me to better tie my marketing activities to revenue. I am now seeing that differentiation in a way that solves a key problem that I'm currently having. The sales conversation is now shifted into a way that I can easily see why I need to do business with you.