In my conversations with chief revenue officers (CROs), a recurring theme is emerging. They tell me: “John, we just aren’t effectively articulating our value and differentiation.” While this has long been a challenge for sales leaders, several macro forces have accelerated this issue:
- Corporate priorities shifting – for many years the focus was on growth. Now, the pendulum has swung to profitability and efficiency.
- Champion disruption – reorganization and layoffs have displaced many of the champions who were so effective at articulating our value when we weren’t in the room.
- Competition – as one CRO told me recently, it feels like there are 20 competitors in every deal. If we can’t credibly articulate our differentiation early on, we are done.
Additionally, there is the issue of a generation of sellers who have come of age in a predominantly growing market. When combined with the overall industry pressures, this creates a major challenge for organizations trying to make their number.
Does this all sound familiar?
As we enter a new year, kickoff is a great time to ensure that our revenue generating teams are all aligned on a high impact, buyer centric conversation.
5 Questions to Improve Your Value Articulation and Differentiation
First, take an outside-in look at your customer’s world:
- What pressures are your customers under? For a long time, there was board and investor pressure to grow. Now, there is a lot of focus on efficiency and cost reduction.
- What plans do your customers have in place to address these pressures? For sales leaders, ramping sales capacity was a priority for the past several years. Now, it is all about productivity per resource.
- What problems are holding your customers back from achieving these plans? Is it a lack of resources? Broken processes? A lack of skills or capabilities?
Then, consider your world and define your perspective on these issues:
- How can you solve these problems better and differently than other alternatives? Do you have a unique product or service? Experience with similar companies in the same situation? Do you have a defensibly different implementation or service methodology? Do you have expertise in either a vertical or a workflow? Why would a customer say it is better and different?
- How can you prove it? What examples, demos, and customer stories can you bring to bear to prove that you can address the customers problems?
This approach may seem simple, but when we at SOAR work with organizations to clearly articulate and define the above points, the level of debate amongst the teams is amazing, often lasting well into the post workshop dinner.
Make it a lasting change.
If your organization can make it through the first step of defining your differentiators, the real work begins. Having your differentiators on paper isn’t enough; the field teams from business development representatives to account executives to pre-sales to customer success managers must be able to have a value based discussion. Specifically, everyone needs to be able to discuss the customer’s world and bring your unique perspective on how you can address their problems better and differently than competitive alternatives.
Once you kick the year off by aligning your teams on a high impact, buyer centric conversation, traction planning becomes critical. Ensuring that these new discussions are embedded in the daily sales conversations already taking place is critical. The frontline manager is the single most important person for ensuring the new approach will stick. So, engaging the frontline managers throughout the process and making sure that they incorporate your value based conversations into their approach is critical for success.
If you feel like your team needs to better articulate your value and differentiation, reach out to us today to learn more about how we can support you in better articulating value to your buyers.
This blog was written by CEO of Soar Performance Group, John Thackston.