THE Sales Strategy You Must Have in Place in A Slow Economy
In a reasonable economy, with ‘normal’ growth and investment, most organisations are able to get close to their sales targets by grabbing the low hanging fruit (new business that comes to you through enquiries and leads) and looking after customers who will spend more with you.
In flat economies, such as the global one we are experiencing, this rather passive strategy
It’s not going away anytime soon. The GFC hit in October 2008 and here at thestart of 2012 the economic predictors tell us another 3 years before much changes. Even China is slowing down and nervous because of the lack of orders from its primary markets, the Eurozone and the US.
doesn’t work and will see you fall well short of your sales targets. Successful organisations are moving from a growth strategy to a market share strategy. This means that to survive and even thrive, you must win business at the expense of your competition. Now most will say they are always competing with others and have learnt to do it, but competing for new business with others is very different from moving competition out of key accounts.
At Prosell, we have spent 25+ years looking at sales operations around the world. When we look at sales effectiveness we find that most of our customers have not given their people the sales training in the specific areas needed. This is the ability to articulate your company’s Value Proposition and differentiate in the three most critical ways. Each of these three ways is about the way in which your company positions its value proposition through its sales people. It is a challenge because it means being more skilful at going after the more inaccessible, but more profitable fruit.
The Three Value Propositions
Value Proposition Number 1 – The Generic Proposition
This is often referred to as your USP’s, or the areas where you may be strong, if not unique. Ask yourself – what are they? If this is not crystal clear then your sales people have little chance of putting your value proposition over well. Ask yourself this; if a customer lined up your sales team and told them they had 30 seconds to tell me why you versus your completion, how powerful, articulate and convincing would they be? And beware, customers are turned off by unsubstantiated claims of greatness, such as ‘best at, worlds’ leading, most robust, leading edge, latest thinking’ etc.
Value Proposition Number 2 – The Customised Proposition
This is about the ability of your salespeople to engage all levels of the customers’ business and not just understand needs, but to use specific skills to influence needs in the areas where your company and its products are strong. This means sales people must know as much about the customers’ business as the customers themselves and be able to genuinely consult, add value and as a result influence. Does your sales training help them do this?
Value Proposition Number 3 – The Sales Person as a Differentiator
There are a range of capabilities and skills that allow a sales person to differentiate themselves from their competition. These are over and above normal sales skills and more specific than mere relationship and social skills. These are the skills that customers value and allow them to prefer to deal with one sales person rather than another. These skills are a combination of technical, consultative and interpersonal skills that mean the sales person is able to build genuine partnerships and be seen as a valuable contributor to the debate.
How Well Does Your Company Stack Up?
In the next section of this article we will give you a simple set of questions to identify your strengths and weaknesses and allow you to build a plan to perform much better in tough times.