• Duane Cashin

How to Establish a Sustainable Competitive Advantage

Updated: Jan 21

It’s rare today that a company has a sustainable product, price, or service advantage.

As a result of technology being readily available and affordable, new competitors enter your market on an annual basis and the quality, availability, and pricing of their products and services look very much the same as your offering.

So how will you go about differentiating your organization and creating a sustainable and profitable competitive advantage?

Elevating your sales team’s ability to sell your products and services is the place to start.

Without exception, the companies that consistently hit their sales targets, while maintaining margins, have mastered the ability to effectively market and sell their products.

I agree that for a time they may have enjoyed a competitive advantage as a result of a new and cool product, but inevitably it isn’t long before the competition catches up and their competitive advantage is greatly diminished or removed all together. Even Apple has competitors consistently nipping at its heels.

The first step on this worthwhile journey is to have the courage to analyze your sales team’s strengths and weaknesses and put the necessary process and systems in place that are proven to elevate a team’s ability to differentiate themselves from the competition.

Here are 6 factors that must be analyzed and addressed:

  1. Rejection is tough: If a Salesperson has a full pipeline of qualified opportunity, a 35% closing ratio is good. This means the Salesperson will be rejected 65% of the time. How would you rate your sales team when it comes to bouncing back from rejection? Does rejection tank some of your Salespeople for a day? A week? A month?

  2. Salespeople are winging it: 85% of sales teams have no formalized sales process.

  3. Strong sales leadership needs to be cultivated: 45% of Sales Managers struggle to manage effectively.

  4. Preparation is hard work: 62% of Sales Representatives do not put in the upfront work to prepare and as a result lack the ability to properly qualify and articulate value.

  5. Buyers focus on low price: Because so many Salespeople are ill prepared to articulate value and offer insightful solutions, the buyer defaults to price and it takes the enjoyment out of selling which reduces selling desire and commitment.

  6. Solid Producers are hard to find: 46% of Sales Representatives fail within the first 18 months. Companies rely solely on interviews and gut feelings to make their hiring decision

Your sustainable competitive advantage will be realized when you create a sales culture and selling machine where at least 80% of your Salespeople are truly excellent at selling. This can be accomplished and requires a commitment on your part to make it happen.

The first place to start is to do a deep dive on your sales team and assess their selling strengths and weaknesses. Before you put a sales improvement plan and processes together you need to know where you stand.

To help you along, here is a link to a free sales force grader:

All you need to do is answer just 22 questions (it will take less than 5 minutes) and we will provide you with an instant score on the relative effectiveness of your sales force.

Along with your score, you’ll see how your sales force compares with others, receive an explanation of what your score means, and we’ll recommend what you can do to improve your score.

Here’s to Peak Sales Performance!

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