We all know the dangers of assuming. We all know the peril of projecting. Yet businesspeople at all levels of an organization do it frequently. Some such actions are more hazardous than others. As we work with businesses of all sizes and industries, we have picked out a few assumptions – myths, actually – that we see often. You might consider if any of these are hampering your success:
- Our salespeople do a great job of following up with our customers – when we ask clients if they have an accountability metric for this, 99% say no. They really are hoping that what “good follow-up” means to a customer is the same “good follow up” as defined by the salesperson.
- We know exactly how many customers ask for a discount; and we track how often we give a discount. This one can really damage the best of organizations. There are so many internal metrics that companies boast about having yet I have found none that keep score of this critical measurement. Another universal truth: we cannot improve what is not measured.
- We track everything – Many company leaders tell us they have a metric for nearly everything. When we get into their data, we learn they have scores of internal metrics (KPIs) but very few about the customer experience. We do not mean customer satisfaction but rather things like order accuracy, response rate, budget adherence, Track that which is most relevant to the customer to ensure success. We call them Customer Relevant Indicators – CRIs. How many do you have today? What should you add?
- We know exactly what our customers value—If you read my book or heard my presentation, you have likely heard our research results: 95% of companies do not know their customers top buying criteria. Once you know precisely what is valued, you know what to measure and how to sell it.
- Our sales team delivers our value proposition consistently and it is clearly defined – Very few businesses excel here but many assume they do. We have surveyed companies on this and about 85% admit they do not have the right metrics to do this well. And, they have not audited their sales message for consistency and content – in years. Most often, your organization’s value proposition varies based on who is talking.
- We know our competitors – Yes, you know who they are, but unfortunately that is frequently all a company knows. When we ask our clients how their offerings compare in performance to competitors, we get a lot of blank stares. Your value proposition should be positioned relative to competitive alternatives, yet few invest resources to evaluate or understand competitor offerings.
Some companies struggle because of Covid, while others are reaping a harvest due to the essential need of their business; regardless of where your company is, most have an opportunity to make improvements by considering and acting on one or more of these myths.
Do not leave money on the table by keeping your competitive advantages as your best kept secret!
Smart Advantage has spent decades uncovering and defining value propositions for companies and we can emphatically say, there are many differentiators that are underutilized towards conveying a solid, relevant value proposition in every company