“Bridging The Great Divide” is what this article should really be called. Sales and Marketing battle it out again. Both hungry to drive customer satisfaction, loyalty, and revenue. The difference between a company’s sales and marketing responsibilities are not always obvious, and technology today isn’t making things easier. If you’ve been responsible for one or both, you know what I mean. Some leaders will say “everyone at our company is in sales!” While others say “everyone is responsible for marketing our brand!”
What makes YOU different than others in your space? Would your answer strike me as different…or just fumbled and bland?
Differentiating is complex, so let’s add clarity.
4 Reasons Sales Organizations Struggle in Differentiating
1) An organization’s differentiating values are too vague and not truly unique
2) Salespeople view their prospects & customers as “companies,” not individual people. People buy companies don’t; those people buy based on what they think the product or service will do for them.
3) The differentiating message doesn’t relate to the buyers (“decision influencers” aka “DI’s” – anyone who contributes to the buying decision) within their role & responsibilities.
4) Salespeople use the wrong “Tools” to articulate and relate their differentiators when speaking to DI’s.
When we cover Differentiating in our workshops (delivering our Sales Process), there’s an awkward silence when I ask participants (Salespeople, Sales Managers, VP of Sales, and Marketing Leaders) “what makes you different in your industry/vertical?”
Typical responses include:
- We’re the more affordable option (we save our customers money)
- We have better customer service and better customer experience
- We’re a Small Company which better supports our customers” -OR- “We’re global and a well-known organization”
- We have a more reliable product or service
- We have a better Warranty than the industry average
None of these clarify how someone is different. Assuming nobody wants to be the cheapest option to the market (with a fear of being commoditized), how does an organization save a customer money over someone else? If your value is higher, why would you charge less? Each bullet above deserves the response “how?”
Sales & Marketing Leaders need to be able to articulate how their product or service is different. I encourage you to write down your differentiators and ask yourself “how is this unique?” Let’s face it, if someone else claims the same differentiator, it’s not truly unique, or different.
Once your differentiators are agreed on internally, address the challenge of relating those values to the individuals you sell to (Number 3 above). Many claim there are more buyers involved in B2B decision making processes. This may be overwhelming, but remind yourself that “people buy, companies do not.” Each buyer is going to believe a differentiating value is unique and important if it relates back to their role and responsibilities.