Does your sales process provide salespeople with the knowledge they need to win the short-term competitive advantage?
The paradox of today’s world is that long-term growth is actually driven by your sales team’s response to rapid, short-term changes. In her book, The End of Competitive Advantage: How to Keep Your Strategy Moving as Fast as Your Business, Columbia Business School professor Rita Gunther McGrath argues that the sustainable competitive advantage is quickly disappearing. Instead, business leaders learn to compete on a series of short-term competitive advantages.
Speed is the name of the game now, and most sales teams are not equipped to keep pace. Changes are occurring so rapidly that salespeople need rapid knowledge. Consider the following scenarios that call for agile responses and a real-time knowledge base.
Your value proposition changes due to a new acquisition, divestiture, or new product/service.
Your sales strategy changes, with emphasis on a new pricing or service model or ideal customer profile.
Your competitors’ value proposition changes due to a new acquisition, divestiture, or new product/service.
Your customers’ needs shift due to regulatory or geopolitical events.
Legacy CRM, marketing strategies, and sales-training solutions do little to provide salespeople with real-time knowledge. For example, consider how these three tools are no longer supporting sales teams the way they used to.
American Management Association reports that 90 percent of what sales is getting from marketing is not being used. Marketing/product management needs to replace generic feature/benefit statements with real-time messaging and a knowledge base that reflects the rapid shifts in sales strategy, value propositions, and customer needs.
In this SlideShare presentation, “Improving Sales in a Brave New World,” James Rogers points out that 74 percent of organizations report low adoption of CRM. The fact is, CRM systems need to be turned upside down. Instead of using technology to ask salespeople to fill out forms, use technology to deliver competitive knowledge that salespeople can use to stay ahead of rapid changes in the market.
American companies spend $16 billion annually on sales training; CSO Insights reports that 70 percent of that learning is gone within 30 days. Make the shift from generic process and sales methodology to a knowledge-based approach that gives salespeople real-time data that allows them to compete at the speed of change. Salespeople also need to be trained in how to leverage knowledge in customer conversations rather than how to execute methodology.
5600blue has introduced the first-ever vertically integrated sales-enablement solution that builds a knowledge base that tracks with current changes at every phase of the sales process. The technology houses, distributes, and updates knowledge in formats salespeople can use (Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and email) and enablement in the form of sales training, deal coaching, and win/loss reviews.
This knowledge aligns with every step of the sales process and helps salespeople
qualify customers and make pursuit decisions in line with shifting management priorities regarding what an ideal prospect looks like,
understand market trends to gain access and add value to the executive- level customer,
lead the customer’s buying process.
This knowledge also enables salespeople to leverage value throughout the sales process. For example, we know from 12 years of win/loss reviews among deals collectively worth $20 billion that winners win when they show customers how they meet their needs at higher probability and lower risk than the alternatives. We also know from our primary research that more than 85 percent of companies say they can’t deliver that knowledge to salespeople in real time.
Similarly, we know that 97 percent of buyer negotiation tactics follow predictable patterns. 5600blue puts knowledge in the hands of salespeople in advance of the negotiation to change that conversation early on.
The biggest changes in selling in the last 25 years are occurring right now. This shift is driven by the digital revolution, which puts much more information in the hands of buyers and competitors. Start taking steps today to equip your salespeople with the knowledge they need to compete in the short term so that your team can win in the long term.