It’s important to ensure that your sales team is ready to close any deal that comes into their pipeline, whether or not it’s competitive in nature. Sales teams need to be well equipped, trained, and qualified to sell their products and bring in revenue for their company.
One key aspect of sales enablement is competitive intelligence. While some companies may choose to focus on sales enablement and competitive intelligence as their own initiatives, they are much more impactful when paired together. Joe Booth, Senior Director of Competitive Intelligence and Sales Enablement at SecureAuth, did a great job of highlighting why competitive intelligence and sales enablement go hand in hand.
Joe said, “Competitive intelligence and Sales Enablement go hand in hand because this is all about enabling the field to win deals. To do that, they have to have a certain baseline of competitive intelligence, knowledge about why we win and lose against our competitors, and then once you have that baseline knowledge, you start training people on it.”
Let’s take a look at each of these areas of building a competitive sales enablement program within your organization, starting with equipping your sales team with information about your competitive landscape.
The Importance of Competitive Intelligence for Sales
To be a good sales representative, you need to be able to understand and effectively sell your product or service. You need to not only understand everything about your own product, but you need to understand your competitors’ products, too. No matter what your product or service is, it’s highly likely that your prospect is analyzing at least one other solution - likely belonging to your competitor. Since this is expected, training your sales team on your competition and how to handle competitive deals, will give you an advantage in winning competitive deals.
How to Train Your Sales Team with Competitive Sales Enablement
There are many approaches when it comes to sales training - workshops, role-playing activities, presentation skill-building, and more. But when it comes to content for these trainings, competitive intelligence should be high on your list.
You can train your sales team in a few different competitive areas, including your competitive landscape, objection handling, and win/loss. There is a lot of overlap between these topics, and for ultimate sales success, your sales reps should use all of this info together. The different sales trainings you can implement for your sales team will focus both on competitors and helping them to level up supplementary skills to put their competitive knowledge into action.
With a better understanding of what your competitors are doing, Sales will be able to speak knowledgeably about the market and build trust with prospects. While on a phone call, if a prospect asks a competitive question, your sales team will be able to handle all competitive objections with ease.
Competitive Landscape Training: In order for your sales team to be ready to handle any competitive objection during the sales cycle, they first need to have knowledge of your competitive landscape. Your competitive landscape goes beyond your direct competitors - it extends to second tier, third tier, aspirational, and perceived competitors.
Your sales team should know the most about your direct competitors, as those are likely the businesses you come up against the most during a deal. However, don’t neglect your full competitive landscape. Dive even deeper into breaking down your competitive landscape. You can break down your landscape by sales competitiveness, vertical and industry, company stage, and the types of solutions that your competitors are offering.
Your team should also know how you stack up to your competition. Think about a basic SWOT analysis - strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats. Your sales team should know how to tackle competitive objections with talk tracks to address what prospects are saying.
Win/Loss Training: A sales training on why you win (or lose) competitive deals will help your sales team sharpen their skills. One way to ensure that you’re able to provide your sales team with strong win/loss data is by tracking your win reasons and loss reasons within your CRM.
You can keep all of your information about the competitors you're up against in a deal, the opportunity stage, the loss reasons, and the reasons won within your CRM. This helps your sales reps keep track of what’s happening during a competitive deal, such as potential warning signs that you might lose the deal, and allow them to use their skills to counter those loss reasons, and win the deal.
Objection Handling: With knowledge about the competitive landscape and common win/loss data, your team should also know how to tackle competitive objections. At any point in a deal, a prospect might mention that they’re evaluating a competitor, a competitor told them X, Y ,Z, or that a competitive product does something better than your own. Your sales team should have the knowledge to back up and displace any of these claims, but they also need to know how to deliver the information without sounding biased.
By gathering common objections, you can train your team on tactics, provide scripts, and ensure that any critical information is included within their battlecards. If an objection is common, your sales team can prepare early on, and address the issue before the prospect has the chance to bring it up. No matter when the objection is addressed, your sales team will be ready to tackle it and win the deal.
Now let’s look at materials to arm your sales team with.
Materials to Keep Your Sales Team Sharp
There are many sales enablement materials that will help your team sharpen their selling skills. However, there are a few specific resources that will level-up your sales team's ability for competitive selling. Some helpful tools include battlecards, sales scripts, case studies, and win/loss reports.
Battlecards: Competitive battlecards are the ultimate tool for your sales team to have on hand. Battlecards give you an overview of your competition, competitive advantages, talk points, and landmines to lay so that you can position yourself as the best solution. When it comes to competitive objections, having a battlecard within reach, ideally within your CRM, your sales team will be ready to tackle anything that comes their way.
Sales Scripts: Having consistent messaging, especially when it comes to talking about a competitor, will give your team an advantage when they’re on the phone with a prospect. Making sure that your sales team can successfully deliver your value proposition, while displacing the competition in a non-malicious way, is a strong way to position yourself as the best solution provider for the prospect.
Case Studies: Case studies are a great way to showcase how your product has helped your customers solve a problem. Publishing successful case studies on your website is beneficial, but allowing your sales team to leverage the key points of those case studies when they’re trying to close a deal is even more beneficial.
Win/Loss Data: While it’s extremely beneficial for your sales team to have a deep understanding of your win/loss data, they should be able to find some of that data when they need it most. Not only is it important for your sales team to have insight into win rates, but it’s also important for them to understand the specific reasons why your team has won (or lost) against a competitor. If your team is armed with these insights, they’ll be able to turn those anecdotes into a tool to guide a prospect to choose your product over that of a competitor’s.
There are many ways to enable your sales team to succeed in their job. When it comes to competitive sales enablement, it’s helpful to provide your team with win/loss data, the ins and outs of your complete competitive landscape, as well as conducting robust sales trainings, and arming your sales team with materials to help them win more deals.
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