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Know Your Competition: 2010 Prep

Strategic sales managers know they must be creative when it comes to developing a sales strategy. With fewer opportunities in most pipelines these days, salesforce management is increasingly focused on executing brilliantly on each and every sales opportunity.  

One component in sales team training is to perform a semiannual competitive assessment. Here's a brief description of the steps to follow to accomplish this most important action to improve your win-loss ratios:

Step 1: With our clients, we like to recommend identifying the top five firms that seem to be involved in most sales opportunities. Certainly, this number can vary.

Step 2: Depending on the number of salespeople, we assign each competitor to one or more salespeople. They're told they have three weeks to create a 15-minute presentation on each assigned competitor. This presentation should include the following headlines: "Your Strengths vs. the Competitor," "Your Weaknesses," "Why We Should Win" and "How We Could Lose."

Step 3: Prior to the individual presentation, smart sales managers must "inspect what you expect," meaning review each presentation. This ensures the content is what you want and that the salesperson has done the proper research.

Several hints to make this truly effective sales training: One, suggest to the salespeople that they request a brochure via their Web site (this will test how well it works and if there are follow-up calls). Two, copies of their Web site should be in their presentation. Three, identification of their value proposition/marketing message MUST be included (this helps you validate your unique value proposition). Four, a physical "walk by" of their office lobby to gain a perspective of their image is nice. And five, include any information from past Won/Lost reports. Some salespeople will even phone the sales offices and request to speak with a competitive salesperson to "hear" their sales pitch and report on what they learned.

One last hint: Sales managers should build a sales library of competitive proposals. Every time you win an opportunity, ask for copies of the competitive proposals. (If you've built the right relationship, there should be no reason not to receive them.) And if you lose an opportunity, always remember to pick up your proposal!

Ken Thoreson, president of Acumen Management Group Ltd., "operationalizes" sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 12 years, our consulting, advisory and platform services have illuminated, motivated and rejuvenated the sales efforts for partners throughout North America. Move up and move ahead! Acumen Management provides keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance. 3f4qb8v9ge

Posted by Ken Thoreson on October 08, 2009 at 4:59 PM


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