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Six Competency Gaps That Steal Your Competitive Advantage

By March 23, 2018September 12th, 2023No Comments
Man on computer looking out the window

Do your competitors fear your salespeople?

Your salespeople are engaged in hand-to-hand combat. Your competitors are fielding their best sales talent against your best sales talent. Previously, to gain the advantage, companies hired more and more salespeople, but that was an expensive model.

It is no longer about flooding the market with bodies but having quality salespeople – those with the most sales competencies and the best attributes. The question for sales leaders is, “Which sales competencies are most important to have in your team to create a competitive advantage?”

Although Revenue Storm has identified 27 distinct Sales Competencies across all types of sellers and industries, our database of over 20,000+ revenue producers has allowed us to study and reveal the top 6 competency gaps that create the most sales vulnerability. You will have a marketplace advantage if you can improve your salespeople in these six areas.

1. Establish Executive Credibility

How do the prospect executives view your salespeople? Are they experts in themselves and their offerings? Do they bring fresh thinking to the executive’s business?

Prospects can get information almost anywhere. It is not a differentiator. Data and information wash over executives–it has become a daily tidal wave to be avoided.

What they want is fresh thinking about their business and their industry connected to the ways that will help them gain market share or grow revenues. They want to know if what someone is selling can uniquely help them close more business. Do you have a salesperson doing this today? Talking about the prospect’s business first and foremost.

2. Map Politics

The differentiator here is not that they can identify where the political power is situated within a buyer’s organization, but they can purposefully align themselves to the political power. Are they aligning from so many angles that competitors are thwarted at every effort to penetrate your “electric fence?” Is this alignment happening in relationships? Is it happening in the solution? Is it happening with influencers outside the visible walls of the deal?

3. & 4. Present Value and Craft Messages

This dynamic duo determines if the salesperson is differentiated for their creativity or is another “me too” salesperson. In this high-paced, “copycat” environment, these competencies must be anchored in ability so that the re-messaging and presenting are evolving to stay ahead of the growing number of competitors.

So, the question for these competencies is not only, “Do they create and present powerful value messages that create interest?—but, “Do they have the depth and agility to continue to change it up to stay one step ahead of the competition?” Is the same message and presentation used at each prospect, or can they change things?

5. Influence Decisions

No shortage of business cases makes a strong, logical decision to make buying decisions. But why buy from your salesperson? It can so quickly become a competitive fight, resorting to price reductions. Linking to emotion and personal agendas is where the distinction is created. Can your salespeople intentionally make feelings to propel your business case to the top?

6. Demonstrate Financial Acumen

Are your salespeople taking the responsibility to uncover which financial metrics will be essential to impacting the buyer, or are they just choosing the same metrics the competitors will use? Can your salespeople believably elevate the conversation to more strategic business drivers that leaders rely on in your prospects’ environment?

Creating a competitive advantage is the holy grail for sales teams. Establishing the ability to develop this advantage with each new pursuit involves planning that leverages the above sales competencies. Once others mimic it, it is only achieved by leveraging one great idea for a quarter or two.

It is to consistently reinvent a source of competitive advantage with creativity in every pursuit. This is achieved with the power of the six sales competencies – help your sales team focus on developing these skills to gain competitive advantage in more pursuits.


Personal Challenge:  Choose one of the top 6 competencies to focus on in your organization. Find the salesperson, sales leader, or executive who can highlight how this competency comes to life in your organization. Challenge and coach EACH salesperson to elevate this competency in a current deal. Highlight the successes and share the learnings from efforts that failed. Congratulate both for driving the organization aggressively toward competitive advantage. 




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