SalesHood - Sales Enablement Platform

Compete to Win

  • by Elay Cohen
  • September 14, 2015

Compete to Win

Who doesn’t want to crush the competition on every deal, all the time? Who doesn’t want to see win rates skyrocket rather than eat away at quota attainment and market share? Who doesn’t want every rep to confidently overcome competitive objections and plant competitive traps?  Who doesn’t want to compete to win?

Do what most do and create slick one page PDF/PPT competitive tear sheets and wonder why competitive win rates don’t improve.

What if I told you there’s a proven way to improve competitive win rates by twenty to thirty percent in less than thirty days?  

Consistently competing to win is hard work. The secret is to focus on rep competence and confidence.  Focus on how reps knock down formidable foes by repositioning perceived strengths to conflict with a buyer’s needs and wants. Make a competitor’s strength work against them. Malcolm Gladwell talks a lot about this in his book “David and Goliath.”  

Regardless of size, it’s time to stop being defensive against the “fear, uncertainty, and doubt” (FUD) competitors are saying about you and assert the leadership position in conversations.  When I was at Salesforce we crushed Microsoft and Oracle in every deal because we were scrappy, creative, and armed. The following is a highly prescriptive competitive enablement strategy you can do for each of your competitors.

Step 1:  Create Bite Sized Competitor Coaching Videos

Start by focusing on top competitive strengths.  Embrace them. Don’t pretend they don’t exist.  Record short two to three minute video shorts for each competitive strength explaining what your competitors are saying and how you’d handle the objection. Focus on your buyer needs and why this strength isn’t important to them. Then, do this also for each weakness and capture the questions reps can ask to plant traps, forever locking out your competition. When recording the coaching videos it’s most important to get very granular mapping strengths to objection handling and mapping weaknesses to traps and questions to strategically pose during discovery.

Step 2:  Have Sales Teams Review Coaching Videos & Role-Play Together

Turn the videos and exercises into “huddles” that first line sales managers use
with their teams. Do each competitor individually and have teams dive deep into strengths and weaknesses with role-playing and applying to real deal scenarios. Hold the team accountable. Make sure everyone watches the videos and shares what’s working and what’s not working against each competitor.  Have teams practice blending discovery questions with competitive trap questions.

Bringing the teams together will improve the confidence of the reps resulting in immediate results.  I’ve seen the transformation of an entire sales organization happen in days.

Step 3:  Certify Reps On Objections and Traps

The way to do the certification is to have every rep video record one objection and one trap. Make all the videos centrally available for peer review.  The power of practicing objections and traps is great. The benefits of peer-to-peer reviews are tremendous.  An open-transparent certification process will also result in the richest library of crowdsourced objections and traps.  After the certification is done, if peer-to-peer scoring and engagement takes off like it always done, you will have created rich content that will serve your organization way beyond this activity.

Crush the competition by putting maniacal focus on helping reps get confident and competent in overcoming competitive strengths with objections and tackling their weaknesses by planting traps.   The emphasis this competitive program does transcends individual deals and quickly becomes part of the sales culture.

Execute this program and your competition won’t know what hit them regardless of your size and resources.  Here are some wise words Gladwell’s book “David and Goliath.”

“There is a set of advantages that have to do with material resources, and there is a set that have to do with the absence of material resources – and the reason underdogs win as often as they do is that the latter is sometimes every bit the equal to the former.”

What are your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses?

How are you arming your reps to be competent and confident versus defensive?

How are you competing to win?

Get in the ‘hood to learn more about how you can improve your win-rates by arming your reps to more confidently and competently compete to win.

About the Author
Elay Cohen

Elay Cohen

Elay Cohen is the author of SalesHood: How Winning Sales Managers Inspire Sales Teams to Succeed and the co-founder of SalesHood, a SaaS sales enablement platform and community for sales professionals. Elay is the former Senior Vice President of Sales Productivity at Salesforce. Recognized as the company's "2011 Top Executive", and credited for creating and executing all of Salesforce's sales productivity programs that accelerated its growth from $300M to $3B+ in revenue. The sales training and sales support innovations delivered over these years by Elay and his team to thousands of sales reps resulted in unprecedented hypergrowth. He also created the Partner Relationship Management (PRM) category.

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