We’ve been working on this value topic because it is the single, most important aspect of any sales position.  A company that lacks a value proposition is destined to stumble through the market while being commoditized on price.

I saw this effect 6 years ago when doing sales calls in the field with a company’s reps.  After spending a couple days in a couple different cities, it became clear that they had to value proposition to offer the market.  This absence of value led to one consistent outcome – they had to compete on price.  Granted, some companies are positioned to compete in this format.  The company I was working with was not.

We’ve recently worked with another company that is in a similar predicament.  They have not articulated their value proposition but they have tried to fix it by bringing in new salespeople.  The quick fix in this approach is to make the new salespeople discover and define their value.  This approach hasn’t worked either.

This company is now on the path to defining their core competencies and their unique value in the market.  Thankfully for them, they have value.  But it is not sustainable to ask new salespeople to discern what that value is.  This task falls squarely on the sales manager’s shoulders and must be taught during the new rep’s onramping period.

If this task is not undertaken during the onramp, the end result is usually a salesperson who relies on the simplest value…price.  They will often become a price slasher, deep discounter.  Their justification will be that they have to be at that level to get the deal or that the competition is undercutting them on the price.  These justifications are made with the assumption that your solution has no other value.  As a sales manager, you have to stop this thinking before it takes root in the salesperson’s mind.

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