What are you differentiating from competitors?
Businesses today are changing and so too the buyers. If a company is operating in the competitive environment, then showcasing the better quality and low price of product or service have been key differentiating factors.
Things have been changing. Buyers think the high quality is a necessity. With most companies adopting Kaizen, TQM, Six-sigma, the quality levels have been improving. Every company must meet buyers specified quality else it will not even be qualified. Companies claiming the superior quality of their product or service compared to competitors is good but no more a key differentiator to win customers.
Differentiating on price still continues. It is normal for companies to claim they are offering at the best price. But competing on price, is this sustainable? How long does it take for the competitors to match your price?
With improved manufacturing practices and common suppliers, every company is ready to match competitor prices and guarantee the lowest price. Take the case of smartphones, more than 20 brands exist in same price band as 10K-15K and all claim best quality and lowest price.
If not quality & price, then what remains the key differentiator for companies? Newer features is something many company’s want to promote. But what if your product doesn’t require more features?
Customers today expect the best quality product at lowest prices. Most companies are trying to match this. The key differentiation companies can bring on the table is better customer engagement.
Companies have to learn to highlight, how unique they are to their customer and how they can delight them in all their engagements. If price and quality are 2 sides of the triangle, customer engagement forms the base.
What is delightful customer experience?
A company which says we will deliver the order by next 48 hours but delivers in 24 hours is delighting customer. A company which says, we will provide defect TAT of 24 hours and serves the customer in less than 2 hours is delighting customer.
A company which understands its buyer’s journey and engages with the buyer in developing requirements has superior customer engagement compared to a company which just waits for RFP and responds.
Those are just examples. What is required is, every company must find its own unique way to delight the customer.
How to sell customer experience as a differentiator?
When it comes to competitive selling, salespeople mostly rely on highlighting the customers better quality, great price and extra features their product offers. Salespeople do not know how to articulate their company strength in delivering a better customer experience
Another question is how many salespeople are good at identifying what their customer considers great experience? If they identify what their customer is looking for, do they communicate back to their teams?
Example from industry
Recently we were talking to a leading company in food & beverage industry. The management concern was, their salespeople like to deliver samples to the customer. Salespeople don’t know how to offer the solution capability the company has. Instead of samples, the company management wants to offer customers ready solution itself which can be tried by the customer and save time and help the customer make a better decision.
But salespeople were not doing that. Instead, they are used to providing samples and looking for more orders. This was not only costing the company in terms of more samples but also lower sales.
Here is a unique experience the company can provide to its customers but salespeople aren’t trained to do that.
Increasingly in the B2B segments, the practice of salespeople promising only better prices, better quality, more features compared to competitors will not result in buyers interest.
To delight customers and improve engagement, salespeople must master the art of understanding buyers in-depth. Salespeople must also learn to articulate the companies unique benefits and ultimate results it can provide to customers in terms of better engagement and experience. This will translate to better results and improved long-term relation.
Let us know your thoughts and how you think salespeople can improve their engagement with buyers.