Company knowledge and product expertise have been and are critical components of any sales rep’s success. Today, however, customers expect sales people to know more about each of those plus be knowledgeable about the customer’s industry, their competition, and how they can bring greater value.
They expect the sales people to understand how their products can help deliver a better solution for customers – for example, to provide the imagination and insights to:
- manufacture products more quickly
- improve product quality
- shorten order times
- improve the customer service experience
Global competition and advanced manufacturing technologies have made it increasingly more difficult to sustain a competitive advantage by product alone. To win you need to sell value and the bar for what it takes to sell value has been raised – for example, understanding your customer’s customer is now a foundational requirement.
If the sales team is to do all this successfully they need help from others. This means, for example, the often-flawed connection between marketing and sales must be addressed, front-line sales managers must be provided the time and expertise for coaching, IT departments need to provide the tools to manage the increase information requirements and top sales leaderships must create the culture that makes it possible.
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