Six Competency Gaps that Steal Your Competitive Advantage

March 23, 2018
Author: Lori Preston
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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 plus revenue producers has allowed us to study and reveal the top 6 competency gaps that create the most sales vulnerability. If you can improve your salespeople in these 6 areas you would clearly have a market place advantage.

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 most 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 can they identify where the political power is situated within a buyer’s organization, but are they able to 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 are another “me too” salesperson.  In this high-paced, “copy cat” environment, these competencies must be anchored in ability so that the re-messaging and presenting is 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 up? 

5. Influence Decisions

There is no shortage of business cases that make a strong, logical conclusion to make a buying decision. But why buy from your salesperson? It can so easily become a  competitive fight resorting to price reductions. Linking to emotion and personal agendas is where the distinction is created.  Are your salespeople able to intentionally create emotion 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 most important to impact for the buyer or are they just choosing the same metrics the competitors will be using? Can your salespeople believably elevate the conversation to more strategic business drivers that are relied on by leaders in your prospects’ environment? 
 
Creating a competitive advantage is the holy grail for sales teams. Establishing the ability to create this advantage with each new pursuit takes planning that leverages the sales competencies above. It is rarely achieved by leveraging one great idea for a quarter or two until others mimic it.

It is to be able 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 then 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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