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“Even those who have enjoyed success in the past are having to recalibrate and adapt their approach, because the ‘field’ on which the ‘game’ of competitive positioning and sales effectiveness is now being played has changed dramatically.” -Thomas A. Freese
A Darwinian style recalibration is currently underway where individuals and companies will play a more crucial role in their own success than ever before. As such, it may be time to update your company’s positioning strategy.
If you think about it, sales and marketing departments in competing industries have been trying to out-describe each other for many years. As a result, marketing buzzwords no longer convey any significant value, and the typical ‘elevator pitch’ has become one of the quickest ways to commoditize your value proposition.
In today’s marketplace, I would argue that effectively positioning your product relative to other solution alternatives is more important than the viability of you company of the product itself. All you have to do is look at any sales organization and you will discover that some salespeople are more effective than others, even though they’re offering the same products and services to the same types of customers.
The premise of Question Based Selling is teaching sales teams HOW to increase their Return on Invested Sales Effort. More specifically, QBS teaches salespeople how to position themselves, their company, and their product offerings to maximize revenue, sustain margins, and maintain the highest levels of customer satisfaction.
Best of all, it turns out that the skill set(s) required to enhance the positioning of your company’s value proposition are not limited to salespeople. Enhanced positioning skills carry over to virtually anyone who touches the customer, or can have an impact on the out come of a sale–including inside sales, lead generation teams, marketing, subject matter experts, and customer service personnel.
Time for a Competitive Boost?
People are often surprised to find out that Question Based Selling is not actually about asking questions. Funny, huh? But asking questions is not the actual skill, as you can literally teach any script-reader to ask a bunch of sales questions. The real skill is causing people to “want to” engage in a productive conversation about their needs and your value, with someone they don’t yet know and trust.
Question Based Selling is ultimately a positioning strategy, where we focus on the cause and effect relationship between what needs to happen in order to create the desired result. For example:
* Teaching people how to leave more effective voice-mail messages can easily take the standard 2% response rate to a 50%+ response, just by adjusting the positioning of the message being left.
* The same is true with email. Customers today receive so many email messages, that companies are actually doing more to satisfy the recipient’s curiosity than to create it.
* Have you ever finished up a product presentation of system demo, just in time to hear one of the participants say, “That’s was great! I wish Robert had been here to see it.” Who’s Robert?
The truth is, most viable companies have a good story to tell. The issue and potential opportunity comes from the way that story is being told (or positioned). This includes proactively dealing with weaknesses that are likely to get asked, as well as positioning away the competition without mud-slinging, which only makes you sound defensive anyway.
Repeatable Success comes from Superior Technique
What is the cost to your company for losing a sale by simply getting outsold?
For any positioning strategy to be effective, it must first be predicated on sound logic to secure the buy-in of the sales and marketing teams who will ultimately be responsible for implementation, and the positioning strategies must also be differentiable and repeatable. Repeatability comes from proven technique.
Schedule a QBS Positioning Assessment
A QBS Positioning Overhaul is a relatively new offering from QBS Research, Inc. Basically, it’s a day and a half on-site ‘think tank’ session whereby we work with the client to map the company’s total value proposition against other competitive offerings. Usually, there is significant overlap of messaging at the buzzword level. That’s where specific positioning techniques become the differentiator.
Prior to the on-site event, we will ask client to provide a complete set of marketing collateral, competitive information, product information, and anything else that might help us understand the current positioning.
After the event, a detailed report with specific recommendations is delivered to the client. Implementing these specific recommendations in terms of enhanced positioning of the product, company, and salespeople themselves is where the transformation and desirable outcome takes place.
As companies work harder and harder to convey greater value, especially in an increasingly competitive selling environment, the messages being communicated are becoming less and less impactful.
Customers today are more discerning and more sophisticated, and they are no longer willing to endure a steady stream of cold-callers from vendors wanting to “probe” for needs. Thus, it’s more important than ever for sellers step outside the box of traditional sales thinking, in order to separate yourself and your team from the rest of the “noise” in the marketplace.
Contact Us for information on dates, availability, and deliverables.
QBS® is a registered trademark of QBS Research, Inc.