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Strategies to Outshine Your B2B Competitors in Sales: An In-Depth Analysis
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Discover the key factors that will give you an edge over your competition in B2B sales.

The Levels of Competition

In 2018, I published Eat Their Lunch: Winning Customers Away from Your Competition. This book is a methodology for displacing your competitors (i.e., stealing their clients). The sales strategies used in a displacement strategy will also help you beat your competitors for deals.

Over time, I have been exploring another way to look at competition in B2B sales, outside of the sales strategies used to win deals. This is a first draft of this framework describing factors that cause one salesperson to win over their competition. As I work with these ideas, I will update them here on The Sales Blog.

Comparing Salesperson Effectiveness: A Competitive Edge

This is the first factor a salesperson might use to win is effectiveness. When one salesperson is more effective than another, they have greater odds of winning the deal.

Do you wonder why a top 20 percent salesperson has little trouble winning over a competitor located in the bottom 50 percent in their stacked ranking? The mismatch makes it easier for the highly effective rep to beat out the one with lower effectiveness.

Modern Sales Methodologies versus Legacy Sales Techniques

The second factor that may determine the winner of a contest is the salesperson with the better methodology. In our current environment, there are modern sales methodologies and "legacy methodologies." A modern sales methodology has a greater chance of winning over an older, outdated methodology that has lost its power.

Some sales leaders and sales managers don't recognize that B2B sales methodologies have evolved in response to buyers and decision-makers who need something different from B2B salespeople. After effectiveness, the methodology is likely to have an impact on winning or losing.

Relationship Building in B2B Sales

In part, the salesperson's relationship may include their effectiveness and their methodology. The salesperson with a greater relationship with their champion and their stakeholders has greater odds of winning over a competitor.

This is a tricky factor to consider. Salespeople with fast rapport who happen to be attractive characters will have no trouble building relationships. Too many sales organizations underestimate the value of the relationship for both the salesperson and their clients. Worse, once the salesperson has the relationships, the competitor that loses may not see the opportunity again for many years.

Sales Status and Buyer Confidence

You may not know that your contacts assess your status. A high sales status is one that we call One-Up, a concept that suggests the salesperson has greater knowledge and experience. A low sales status sales rep is one that isn't able to fill in the gaps in their contact's knowledge and experience, putting them in low sales status.

In our current sales environment, our clients are plagued by uncertainty and a lack of confidence. The high-status salesperson will be preferred over a low-status salesperson, if only because they are able to help contacts make sense of a rare decision clients must get right on the first attempt.

Creating Value in Sales Conversations

When we talk about creating value, we are talking about educating the contacts. There are many sales strategies that create value; the most important is information disparity. If one salesperson has information disparity and uses it to create value while their competitors don’t, the competitor will lose.

Right now, many sales organizations are regressing to transactional approaches. There are sales organizations that should sell using a transactional approach. When the mismatch of a value creator competing with a transactional approach occurs, it will make it easy for the rep that creates greater value to win.

Assessing Value for Money in B2B Sales

Buyers consider price in any decision, but you are mistaken if you believe that it is always the main factor. The other factors described to this point may weigh more than the value for money. This may explain why buyers rarely buy from the lowest-price provider, choosing a higher price that is often a safer choice.

A combination of the above factors may make contacts willing to pay more for your solutions than your competitors’. Most contacts want to ensure they get value for money, so they avoid a too-low price that may cause the client to fail.

Evaluating the Value of Solutions

The last couple of decades have been the Era of the Solution. Now, everyone has a solution that can solve your contacts’ problems. If you believe your solution will allow you to win deals, know that the factors above will have a greater impact on winning over your competitor than what follows here.

Those who believe their solution is special will struggle to beat a competitor. If your sales organization is solution-centric, you will lose to competitors who address the other factors listed here.

The Impact of Company Reputation

This is the last factor for now. Your company, like your competitors’, is a good company. This factor doesn't seem to matter.

Too many sales organizations think about winning in a way that contradicts their clients’ needs. I believe overlooking the factors outlined here explains why every important metric except pipeline coverage has been collapsing. In the future, we will build on this framework to improve B2B sales training and development.

Is this conversation helpful so far?

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Post by Anthony Iannarino on June 9, 2024

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino is an American writer. He has published daily at thesalesblog.com for more than 14 years, amassing over 5,300 articles and making this platform a destination for salespeople and sales leaders. Anthony is also the author of four best-selling books documenting modern sales methodologies and a fifth book for sales leaders seeking revenue growth. His latest book for an even wider audience is titled, The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success.

Anthony speaks to sales organizations worldwide, delivering cutting-edge sales strategies and tactics that work in this ever-evolving B2B landscape. He also provides workshops and seminars. You can reach Anthony at thesalesblog.com or email Beth@b2bsalescoach.com.

Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn, X or Youtube. You can email Anthony at iannarino@gmail.com

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