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Execution is a Differentiator—If You Can Prove It

Anthony Iannarino
Post by Anthony Iannarino
December 27, 2010

You compete in a crowded marketplace with a lot of offerings that look and sound a lot like yours. To create an opportunity, you have to differentiate yourself and your offering from the field; you have to be worth taking a look at. To win your opportunity, you have to be different in a way that makes a difference for your dream clients and their results.

When much of what you do is necessarily the same, you will achieve nothing more than parity on a whole range of things that are important to your dream client. Every one of your competitors is going to talk about the results they produce, and that makes execution a tough differentiator to sell.

That is, unless you can prove it.

Execution’s Quantifiable Results

Sometimes what differentiates you from your competitors is your execution. They sell the same product or service and they use roughly the same processes that you use. In some cases, you have so much in common, it is difficult to differentiate; unless you produce quantifiable and verifiably better results because of your execution.

Sometimes good old-fashioned elbow grease coupled with the un-sexy work of executing well produces results that are remarkably better than something that looks and sounds the same (but that is really something quite a bit less).

To compete on execution as a differentiator, you have to be able to provide meaningful evidence and convincing proof—all of your competitors are telling your dream client that they are the best choice and that they will produce the greatest result.

Execution, as powerful as it is in practice, needs a lot of help to get over the line in sales. It needs quantifiable results.

Taking Execution’s Measure

Whatever results you sell, if execution is your game, you bring it to life by measuring the results for your clients. If your execution results in your clients experiencing greater revenue growth versus your competitors, you need to be able to quantify that difference.

It means very little to your dream client that a salesperson says that they are quite similar to their competitors, but that they really do execute better for their clients. But it is quite meaningful to say that you produce 13% greater revenue increases for your key accounts in your dream client’s segment.

Your execution improves revenue, it reduces costs, or it improves profitability. If your game is customer service, and if your execution here differentiates you, you must be able to translate that to improved performance in the way of increased revenue, reduced costs, or greater profitability for your dream clients.

Does it reduce their cycle time? Does it increase their profits and by how much?

Does it reduce your client’s error rates and the accompanying chargebacks from their clients? How much does it reduce error rates and how much in reduced costs has that saved similarly situated clients?

Quantifying the result your execution produces for your clients allows it to be a differentiator—against the status quo and against your competitors, many of who are differentiating their offering on their systems, the processes, or the perceived value of their size alone.

And What of Customer Service

The same is true of customer service and customer intimacy. Can you prove it?

The rules above still apply. The more you can quantify the results of great execution, the more powerful they are as differentiators. What are the results of your greater customer service?

Do your retention rates prove you execute when it comes to customer service? Do your client satisfaction scorecards prove you walk the talk?

Have you reduced the number of complaints? How have reduced complaints benefited your clients? Has your customer service resulted in the amount of time your clients used to spend dealing with problems and missed commitments? How much time and money is this saving your client?

Execution is not the easiest differentiator to sell, especially when there are those who tell tall tales. But if it is your defining differentiator and the difference that makes the difference for your clients, make sure you can prove it.

Quantify it!


What are the differences that make a difference for your clients? What part of those differences really comes down to execution alone?

If execution is the difference, how do you tell the story in the most meaningful and impactful way for your dream clients?

How can you quantify the benefits of your greater ability to execute on similar processes? How do you prove what those results translate to for your clients in the way of improved revenue, decreased costs, or improved profitability? How do you prove the benefits of something that is something as subjective as greater customer service?

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Sales 2010
Post by Anthony Iannarino on December 27, 2010

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. He is the author of four books on the modern sales approach, one book on sales leadership, and his latest book called The Negativity Fast releases on 10.31.23. Anthony posts daily content here at TheSalesBlog.com.
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