By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company
For many organizations the Holy Grail for product development is to have sustainable competitive advantages that sellers can use to win business. Given the pace of change and the shrinking product life cycles, it is becoming an unrealistic to enjoy product/feature advantages for any significant amount of time.
It is interesting to note that when calling at high levels, offerings can look very similar to senior executives that often aren’t users. For example, if you look at hosted CRM offerings and had sellers from 3 different vendors call on a CFO whose goal is a more accurate forecast, I’m not sure the buyers view of offerings would be significantly different.
The seller most likely to emerge as “Column A” would be the one that was able to uncover the buyer’s goal, do a thorough diagnosis of how the forecast was being created today, and then offered only the relevant capabilities that would enable the CFO to improve forecast accuracy. Coincidentally, the seller that took this approach would be the one that exhibited the most patience in deferring any discussion of product and price.
A small percentage of sellers are A Players capable of making effective calls on senior executives. Instead of having Product Development trying to always have a competitive advantage, perhaps some of their funding and effort should be geared to creating sales ready messaging® to enable B Players to use best practices in emulating executive sales calls made by A Players.