Sales is the difference

In my last two articles, I wrote about this idea called The Next Level. In a nutshell, The Next Level is all about achieving competitive advantages in all three areas of price, quality and service (rather than just the traditional two), or gaining a massive advantage in one of these areas and being competitive in the other two. But it’s not just in the delivery of your offering that is going take your company to the Next Level. The real difference to how your company is perceived lies in how your offering is sold.

CEB (the research company behind the book The Challenger Sale, by Brent Adamson and Matthew Dixon) did extensive research over four years, surveying over 5000 buyers (from procurement professionals, to line managers to senior leaders) in companies from around the world to find out what exactly they were looking for in B2B suppliers.

They based the research around three customer loyalty questions (these questions are a great measure for Next Level too):
1) How likely are you to keep buying from the supplier?
2) How likely are you to buy more from the supplier going forward?
3) How likely are you to advocate for the supplier and recommend them?

What they found was that only 47% of customer loyalty was attributed to a suppliers ability to outperform their competition in terms of price, quality and service. 53% of customer loyalty was attributed to the experience the customer had with the supplier in the sales process. That is...
Over half of customer loyalty is in not what you sell… but how you sell.

Specifically, the attributes that customers valued most in their buying process related to the sales person's ability to create new insights around how the customer can save money, make money and achieve their goals in ways that they haven’t considered or thought were possible. This is the transformational value that I wrote about in a previous article.

So in order to take your company to the Next Level, not only do you need to change the game in the price, quality, service triangle. You also need to move away from the transactional style of selling that most companies are using, and adopt a transformational approach that your customers actually want.

I’m interested to hear your thoughts? How can you transform your company’s sales process to give your customers a next level buying experience?