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What Does Command of the Message Really Mean?

by Rachel Clapp Miller /

CoM_Road_SignWe write and talk a lot about having Command of the Message® inside your sales organization. It’s a topic we feel strongly about, because without it no sales organization can thrive in a competitive environment. Command of the Message is the hallmark of a high-performing sales team.

But what does having Command of the Message truly mean, and how can your organization achieve it? 

 We define Command of the Message as: 

"...being audible-ready to define your solutions to customer problems in a way that differentiates you from your competitors and allows you to charge a premium for your products and services.”

Let’s break down our definition to see how a sales organization truly gains Command of their Message. 

Audible-Ready

You’ve heard audible ready in football. When a quarterback calls an audible, the players need to adapt quickly and effectively to changing conditions on the field. In business, they call it “situational fluency.”

What It Means for Your Sales Team

Being audible-ready means being flexible in front of the customer, ready to respond and adapt, based on what the customer communicates about their genuine business need. Audible-ready does not mean that your sales representatives are flying by the seat of their pants. It most definitely does not mean they’re speaking “off message” or “off topic.”

Great football teams invest thousands of hours in practicing scenarios, memorizing moves, and coordinating alternate plans so that they are ready to respond to the situation on the field. Successful sales organizations train their teams to be audible ready in the same way, so that sales people are prepared to quickly and effectively respond to customer needs as they arise during sales conversations.

Solutions to Customer Problems

Many sales teams make the mistake of focusing on product features and solutions without first understanding the problems the customer wants to solve. Having Command of the Message means starting with the customer’s needs, and talking about your solutions in a way that demonstrates how they solve their business challenges.

What It Means for Your Sales Team

The person who owns the problem owns the customer. Sales teams that devote most of their time to discovering client problems,  and then aligning them with appropriate solutions, close more and larger opportunities. It’s difficult to commoditize a problem. Having Command of the Message means that your team is well versed in aligning your core products and services with real customer problems, and articulating that alignment.

Differentiate from Competitors

Do you know what sets you apart from your competition? In order to have true Command of the Message, your sales team must clearly understand your organization’s strengths—as they relate to the weaknesses of your competition. Aligning your strengths and differentiation with what’s important to the customer makes it easier for your team to close sales.

What It Means to Your Sales Team

Differentiating from competitors means articulating how your specific solutions align tightly with the customer’s problems. This moves customers closer to choosing your solution because they see the value in picking yours over your competitors.

Differentiating from the competition does not mean bad-mouthing competitors or overstating your solution’s benefits. Those approaches create unpleasant tension for the customer, and foster distrust for your sales team. Instead, teach your sales people to differentiate themselves with effective discovery and helpful consultation, accompanied by tight alignment between your solutions and the customer’s problem.
 

Charge a Premium

Organizations that have true Command of the Message charge a premium for their products and services because customers can easily “defend-the-spend.” The high value of the solution has been articulated and demonstrated. Elevating customer need and urgency, by tying your solution to the business impact of the problem, helps your customers see the value in paying the premium price.

What It Means to Your Sales Team

By listening to the customer, responding to their needs, aligning your solution to the problem, and differentiating from your competitors, your team sets the stage for truly capturing the value you provide in the final stages of the sales process. Back it up with solutions that follow through on the promise, and your team will drive more repeat business, as well as cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.

Leading a sales team that truly has Command of the Message drives:
  • Higher competitive win rates
  • Higher average deal size
  • Greater deal margins
  • Stronger and deeper customer relationships 

Drive consistency in your sales organization. Arm your salespeople with the skills they need to truly articulate the value and differentiation of your solution.

 

Download our Ebook: The ROI of Sales Messaging

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