Fear, uncertainty, and doubt. If your prospects aren’t already coming to you full of FUD about your product and process, your competitors will ensure they eventually do. For years, companies have been selling to the FUD factor, and using it to position themselves against you. And while they may think that injecting FUD into their prospects is the best way to win a deal over you, I’m here to tell you there’s a better way to think about competitive positioning.
Admittedly, there was a time when selling to the FUD factor was potent. But the B2B buying process has evolved, rendering FUD far less useful. Buyers have grown tired of this antiquated sales tactic, and simply have access to too much information for it to continue to work. Luckily for you, your reps can effectively counter this old-school approach, and insodoing, turn their knowledge about a competitor into a differentiator itself.
Here’s how and why you should think about your competitive analysis differently:
Stop thinking about competitive battle cards as documents
The days of document-based competitive battle cards are dead. Instead, reps need access to situational competitive analysis while they're on the phone with a prospect. Taking the time to dig through a static document for a specific, canned response to a competitive question won’t cut it. Instead, sales teams need to adopt enablement approaches that equip their reps with relevant, up-to-date competitive knowledge within their workflow, making it easier to find, and more useful to your prospects.
By the time you get your prospect on the phone, 67% percent of the buying journey is complete. As such, they have checked out your competitors and are often familiar with basic differentiators. Regurgitating these high-level and generic differentiators won’t move a conversation forward. Instead, you need to tailor your competitive positioning to a particular use case, vertical, or even a persona - making your product as relevant to your prospect as possible while you have their attention.
Answer competitive questions faster to shorten the sales cycle
According to research conducted by Zogby Analytics, 57% of buyers are influenced in their decision by the seller’s speed to respond. By answering competitive questions with specific, relevant, and tailored responses while on a call with a prospect, your reps can continue to drive conversations forward and shorten the sales cycle. This eliminates the need to continually follow-up later with a prospect about a specific competitive situation or question while on the phone, or take hours digging up the answer and formulating a response to a question asked via email.
Empower your reps to be smart and fast in their responses to questions about product, market, competitors, or your prospect’s problems. While good in theory, the fact remains a modern-day B2B rep is responsible for more information than ever. Such an overwhelming amount of information is impossible to remember, so enabling your sales team to be competitive different can be challenging.
Understand your buyers and their roles and responsibilities
The B2B buying process has fundamentally evolved, and prospects are able to gather information about your market and your competitors more easily than ever. Having said that, an intimate knowledge of differentiators and use cases will be hard for them to hash out on their own. That’s where you should come in. According to Sirius Decisions, 71% of sales reps said their lack of knowledge was the reason they could not close deals. With reps being responsible for more information than ever, it’s important to understand they can’t possibly remember every possible possible piece of knowledge, particularly when a lot of it is changing. Instead, make your knowledge useful and easy to find. Moreover, make your knowledge more useful.
This is where you can win.
Equip your reps with fast access to specific competitive situations based on your buyer’s role and responsibilities. Here are some examples:
If they are a champion of your product but don’t have buying power, explain how your product helps solve their particular pain point more effectively than your competitors
If they have buying power, but won’t necessarily use the product, explain how your product makes their team more efficient than your competitors
If they are the technical implementer of your product, explain how your product or team will better support them through implementation than your competitors
Use situational, personalized knowledge to close more deals
Today’s buyers aren’t just buying a product, they are buying a way of thinking - your way of thinking, hopefully. With all the competition that exists in most industries, a buyer has to believe that you are thinking about their problems in the right ways, and, as such, have the best way of solving for them. While thought leadership and social proof can be heavy drivers of ensuring this belief, there exists an opportunity for sales to continue to convince your buyers your team knows they should be trusted in solving their pain points.
Empower your reps to be smart and fast in their responses to questions about product, market, competitors, or your prospect’s problems. Leverage this on-the-spot knowledge to gain the trust of your prospects, and quell their FUD once and for all.