April 16, 2020 by Mackensey Young
Unless we missed our copy in the mail – There’s no guidebook on how to react when the world changes (seemingly) overnight. With so many questions, sometimes you just need some good old fashioned advice. With 15 years of experience as a Sales Leader in technology sales (Apple, ACL, and Galvanize), we looked to Jody Geiger for her take on what sales leaders want from your competitive intelligence program right now.
We asked: “Obviously this is a unique situation and everyone is doing their best to adjust their strategies to adapt. Each industry is being affected differently, but based on your experience, what is a top priority for sales leaders right now and where should their focus be?”
Jody answered: “Priority for sales leaders right now – I think that the expectation to close revenues and close business in normal times is high, right now it’s critical. So we’re going to see – we already are seeing – is softening demands and longer sales cycles.
There’s just a smaller volume of deals that are being transacted. So I think the mindset is how do I get involved in and – ensure our teams are involved in – the deals that are happening and how do we win those deals that are in play. I think the thinking really is – how do we strengthen our competitive position.
And that could mean equipping sales teams with information, equipping sales teams with messaging. The theme is – how do we stay ahead of the competition? My mind is going to a “grizzly” analogy. So they say not to run when you encounter a bear while hiking, but when panic kicks in and other hikers start running I don’t think you really have to outrun the bear necessarily, but you do have to outrun the other hikers.
So similarly, Sales Leaders are thinking “how do we equip our teams to outrun our competition?” and that really comes down to prioritizing competitive enablement for sales teams. Giving them easy access to updates on market conditions, competitive intelligence information, internal product updates, relevant messaging and then being able to take that information and action it and use it for real-time decision making to close business.
I think the quicker and easier that information is to access, and how broadly it can be shared, the better the chance for companies to weather this crisis. Most companies are looking at sales teams and sales leaders to be the driving force in that.”
Jody brought up two important points about what Sales Leaders want from your competitive intelligence and how it comes in to play:
1] When there are simply fewer deals, the focus is on closing what you already have in the pipeline. Your team should be enabled to be on the offensive; market conditions, product knowledge, anything that can help them inform decisions and close the deal quickly.
2] The longer the deal cycle, the more vulnerable it is to competitor attacks. Your team needs to be ready to play a bit of defense with objection handling, preemptive advantage points and up-to-the-minute knowledge of their competitors.
When you and your competition are trying to outrun a bear – enabling your sales team with competitive insights is like giving them a bike.
Understanding your competitor’s product is an important part of your Competitive Intelligence program. Use our Competitive Product Analysis Template to evaluate how your competitors are reacting to market changes.
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