With more than half of the year behind us, so many companies are looking to improve the sales performance of their teams. Their usual self-diagnosis? “We need a better sales process.” This is usually followed by a request for a program to reshape their sales process, in hopes that it will help them rise above the economic pressures and rapid commoditization in the market.
This isn’t the best solution. In fact, a 2012 study from the McKinsey Center for Business Technology revealed that 75 percent of the efforts at companies using one of the hottest sales process methodologies in the field – solution selling – were deemed failures within three years. That’s because it’s not about the sales process: It’s about having the right message, one that clearly explains to customers why you’re the best choice for them. The right message will help your company stand out, no matter how many other companies are operating in your niche – and even if you’re not the lowest-priced option.
So many companies find themselves in such a competitive environment – and an incredibly commoditized one. Your customers are inundated with incredible amounts of information and data from you and your competitors. They’re forced to make very complex buying decisions, and many of them are overwhelmed by the process. To complicate matters, the messaging that most companies are offering isn’t resonating, compelling or useful. It’s just noise, and it isn’t cutting through all the clutter.
As a result, you and your competitors all look the same. You all sound the same. Therefore, your customers believe that you are the same.
By definition that makes you a commodity, and that’s a tough position to be in. You’re at the mercy of the market and your customers’ whims. The result? You’ll find your proposals bargained down, squeezing your margins and your profits.
From this perspective, it’s easy to see why improving your sales methodology won’t help. Instead, your most effective sales strategy is a great sales message. To evaluate where you currently stand in your messaging, ask yourself three questions: