Sell What you Have, is it really that hard?

A pet peeve, is the complaint from sales that without a certain feature, they can't sell the product. Product Management fights this continually

The Dude is really tired of hearing excuses, particularly from the sales team. There are tons of excuses proffered as to failing to close orders, but the one that really gets under my robe like a bad case of crabs is “I can’t sell because competitor product Y has this nifty feature that we don’t.have.” I am sure that all product managers have had this lobbed at them.

Excuse me. We don’t sell feature lists, we sell solutions to a customer’s problem. They buy our product because it solves a problem. Whether that is to save money, increase productivity (indirectly saving money), meet regulatory compliance (again, to save money that would go out the door in fines if they fail an audit), … well, I suspect that you are getting the point.

This really means that we sell VALUE. That is the truth. We sell Value, not Features. Features are part of the equation, and can tip the scale, but if a sales situation is really just comparing spec sheets, then you are probably wasting your time in this customer. (there is one exception that I will discuss later)

If you listened at the annual sales training, or the product briefings around the launch of a new product (you know, the dozens of emails, and packages of collateral that sit in your inbox, unopened), you already know what the USP is, and the value propositions that we offer. We (product marketing and product management) put together sales books for you to take and learn how to sell, and position us against the competition.

The only exception is if we are selling to a government agency, or a university. Often, they will put out an RFP or RFQ with a set of specs. Often this is dictated by the company that was in talking to procurement, and if you were late to the game, you can tell who was in first. In this case, respond the best you can, and prepare for the loss, and try to be in first so that the next time you get your specs.

Sales doesn’t like hearing “Sell What You Have”. It means that they can’t just be waiters, and wait for orders to arrive in their inbox. It means that they have to learn the product, learn the competition, and be able to talk to the USP.

But it is easier to just blame Product Management for making your quota hard to attain. Waah


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