How a prospect competitively positions your company is a critical factor when engaging in the buying/selling process. Fundamentally, positioning is about aligning your business with theirs, so that a clear synergy can be visualized by the prospect.
When there is a perfect fit between organizations, selling becomes much easier because the in the early stages of the sales cycle the prospect mentally puts your organization ahead of the competition, in principle. Therefore, it is essential that the prospect is comfortable with the salesperson, and correctly positions your company.
Many organizations discover value by using a Competitive Analysis Tool to: evaluate industry competitors; understand competitive advantages and differentiation points; develop a competitive map and a competition matrix.
To effectively position your company, determine the following:
- What are your genuine competitive advantages?
- How can we differentiate our products?
Competitive positioning is all about gaining a competitive edge in your market. It goes beyond understanding your prospects’ needs and must incorporate knowledge of your competition to ensure your product is favorably differentiated among many competing options.
While it’s true that deep knowledge of all products/services comes with time and effort, there are methods for quickly understanding the key features, advantages, and benefits of your solution.
- Feature: these are components of your product/service that have been developed to deliver value to the customer. An example would be “practical tools” like this one.
- Advantage: these are implicit benefits resulting from the features, but are not necessarily beneficial to all prospects. An example would be .saving time. by using a .practical tool. template. Note that this advantage is only a benefit when a prospect needs the particular tool shown.
- Benefit: a benefit is an advantage of a product/service that fulfills the explicit need of a prospect. For example, a restaurant offering a featured lunch that arrives in 10 minutes or less would be advantageous to some, but a real benefit for those who need to be back to work in 30 minutes.
Use our Feature, Advantage, Benefit Tool to quickly map out the most salient points for your product/service offering.
Key Account Planning
Every organization has key accounts that are responsible for large amounts of revenue or have a large growth potential.
Account planning allows you to work backwards from annual sales targets to determine which actions need to be taken to achieve your goals & objectives. Additionally, account plans provide measures that can be monitored and managed.
Following are the components of an effective Key Account Plan:
- Corporate Overview – a brief description of this account
- Hierarchy – where does power lie in the organization?
- Opportunity Size – how much revenue can you attain?
- Current State – what does this account buy now?
- Goal State of Account – what is your vision for growth?
- Account Objectives – specific, measurable objectives.
- Account Action Plan – step-by-step action plan.
Use a Key Account Planning Tool to determine where your revenues will come from.
Part II Business Communications & Process coming tomorrow