… urgency is lost. To be different, agents need to find religion and dedicate themselves 100 percent to getting smarter, to add value in more ways after the sale is made, and to stay engaged.
BP: There are different ways in which partners can differentiate themselves, and finding the right strategy or approaches that make the most sense can be difficult. Some partners are finding success by focusing on specific vertical markets; others are standing out from the crowd by selling end-to-end complete bundles, while some are focused on offering the best possible customer service and support. Once you identify your approach, the biggest challenge is getting the right people on board to ensure success.
CS: Fear — To be competitive, you have to dare to be different. Try new things. Not every one of them will work, but when you hit on that element that defines your culture, product, or strategy, it is worth it.
CF: Can partners implement a differentiation strategy easily, without too much interruption of current sales strategies, product development or business models?
PO: Yes, partners can layer on additional value to their existing business with no interruption to their current strategies. One tiny change that will revolutionize their business is asking the question “why?” No company IT manager wakes up one day and says, “I think I need to upgrade my network from 100 Mb to 1 Gb” just for fun. There is always a reason, and once that reason is known, there is a huge chance that the agent can sell more than just one 1 Gb circuit. Medical doctors never write a prescription just because a patient asks for it. They run tests, ask lots of questions, and then write a prescription. Agents need to look and act more like doctors if they want to look different to their clients and attract more like business.
BP: Depending on which strategy they choose, it’s possible, but it will still take work. Partners need to evolve their skill sets, and they can do this by hiring the right people or training their staff in the needed skills. This can be as simple as helping sales people ask customers the right questions and identifying customer needs before trying to sell a specific product or service, as well as training staff to sell based on business benefits and outcomes rather than features and functions.
CS: I think so. Not every differentiation strategy requires a complete rebrand of your company. It can begin with something as simple as a new marketing piece or video. Also, I am a big believer in betas. Test the waters with small trusted groups. Does your message resonate? Is it compelling? Can it be delivered consistently? If the answers are yes, you may have yourself a winner. All of this can be done while conducting business as usual. Once you find the element that is your differentiator, you simply start tagging it to everything you do.