Your organization's ability to articulate your differentiation is a critical component to both enabling your reps and ultimately winning market opportunities. As a sales leader – as someone who is ultimately responsible for the number, you need to make sure your sales reps and everyone who is engaging with your customers is crystal clear on what makes you different from the competition.
Your team needs great clarity on why a customer should choose you over your competitors, an internal solution or doing nothing at all. Once you have aligned your company on what makes your solutions different, the next step is to enable your team with the ability to embed that differentiation into the way your reps sell. Here are three questions to have your sales reps work through on every opportunity.
1. Differentiators Embedded Into Customer Requirements
Your solution differentiators must influence customer’s requirements early in their buying process. Your sales reps need to be armed with questions, talk tracks and the skills that enable them to use those differentiators to influence the customer requirements. For example, let's say your differentiator is how you integrate into salesforce and your reporting structure that comes from that integration. Now your competition also says they integrate with salesforce, but they don’t have the reporting structure you have. If that’s your differentiator, you need your customer to see that the reporting structure is important. Your differentiators need to be part of what's required to solve the problem.
2. Value Tied to Customer Requirements
Then the value that your differentiatior brings has to be tied to what the customer deems is required for a successful solution. Those differentiators must be meaningful to the customer. When a customer says so do you offer a solution that can streamline my billing and financial reporting systems? You need an answer that makes them say, oh wow, that would be valuable. Otherwise, who cares?
3. Force Competitors to Defend their Own Differentiation
Your differentiation must be defensible. There needs to be proof you do what you say you can do. Third-party testimonials and case studies can carry a lot of weight in making you stand out against the competition. However, it also forces your competitors to defend their own differentiaiton. If I’m trying to articulate differentiation and I can provide the proof that I can do what I say I can do – I’m also forcing my competitors to provide the same proof. If they can’t, my customer can clearly see and understand my differentiation. By defending my own, I’m forcing others to do the same.
Differentiation is always part of the sales process – no matter if the customer is asking about it or not. Remember the digital buyer – they’re researching your competitors throughout their buying process.
Your salespeople need to be crystal clear on how they are leading customers from their needs to your highly differentiated solution. Remember it’s only differentiated if iyour customers view it as a highly differentiated solution.