The Most Effective Sales Strategy is a Great Message
When you think about it, sales strategy is all about making sure that your reps hit their quota, right? Consider the following insights:
- Research performed by SiriusDecisions shows that the number-one inhibitor to sales achieving quota is “inability to communicate value message.” In other words, if your sales force cannot communicate why your solution is different, better and worth more, there’s nothing your sales strategy can do to fix that.
- In corresponding research in which SiriusDecisions asked executive customers about the quality of interactions with salespeople, only 10 percent said sales calls provide enough value to warrant the time they spent on them.
- A Forrester Research study revealed that only 15 percent of sales calls add enough value, according to executives surveyed.
- The Forrester study also showed that just 7 percent of surveyed executives say they would probably schedule a follow-up.
The lesson from these statistics is that the messaging element – what salespeople say, do, and write in order to create perceived customer value – is far from adequate. To be effective, a sales strategy needs to focus on customer conversations as a way to create a distinctive purchase experience and separate your company from the competition. To do that, your sales strategy needs to focus on three key areas.
Sales Strategy Key #1: Demonstrate Value
We all dream of the situation where the prospect has already recognized and wants to solve the problem that your solution addresses. In this selling environment, you don’t need a solid sales strategy and message. But too often, you are not in a great selling environment and you need to work the prospect from every angle. You need to create opportunities. And to help prospects see the value of your offering, you need to tell stories with contrast. You need to tell both the “before” and “after” story – and it’s the contrast between the two that creates a powerful perception of value. The bigger the contrast you can create between the “pain” the customer experienced before your solution and the “gain” the customer experienced with your solution, the greater the perceived value.
Sales Strategy Key #2: Position and Differentiate
Most technology companies position themselves for a competitive bake-off of features and benefits. They talk about “why us?” But the real questions that customers are considering are “why change?” and “why now?” A successful sales strategy requires a new approach for positioning and differentiating your offering. To stand out from the crowd, you need to understand that your real competitor is the status quo and that you need to help your prospects make the decision to change before you help them make the decision to choose you.
Sales Strategy Key #3: Tell a Compelling and Memorable Story
When salespeople prepare for conversations with prospects, they usually focus on getting all of the facts straight about their offerings. And certainly, you need to be accurate in what you say about your solution. But you also need to connect with your customers – and the best way to do that is through stories. Telling personal stories, as well as using metaphors and analogies, helps bring your message alive in a way that reciting facts and data simply cannot. Once you start sharing stories as part of the way you talk to customers, you’ll see relationships change. Your customer relationships will be deeper and more rewarding.
Corporate Visions can help you build your sales strategy on a solid foundation of effective sales messages. Power Messaging helps your sales reps execute the most remarkable, memorable and compelling buying experiences that convince prospects to choose you.
Learn more about this topic
Check out these resources to help you build your sales strategy on the right sales message foundation:
- Report: Sales & Marketing Messaging Report Q1 2010 – Tools and Messages
- On-demand webinar: Transform Your Company Message – How Volvo Trucks built a sales strategy on creating customer-focused messages through story
- Executive briefing: Executive briefing: Experience Power Messaging for yourself in a three-hour, executive briefing session near you