Simple Steps to Combat Selling’s Three Deadly Cs

What happens when your sales team’s influence shrinks? When your prospects have more power over your margins than you do? And when your sellers falter at the two key moments of an opportunity? These are the critical points where margins are both defended and generated. These questions can plague CEOs. They make them wonder if their sales force is hurting, not helping, their profits. This concern is valid. A seller’s worth has shifted from making a sale to their ability to create and win greater margins.

Enter the era of the Three Deadly Cs — Commoditization, Compressed selling time and Consensus decision making. They are eroding margins and rendering traditional selling strategies obsolete. The new battleground does not favor the unprepared. Decision-making teams are getting bigger. They put off engaging with sellers until the last minute. Around the 83 percent mark according to Gartner research. And once they start comparing each company, they can’t tell the difference. Here comes the race to the bottom!

Today’s accelerating change multiplies this challenge. This is especially true as AI handles more of the seller’s role and drives further commoditization. It’s time for CEOs to rethink and revamp their sales strategies with a laser focus on margin enhancement.

But hope is not lost. Two key moments of truth in the sales process offer chances to protect and grow your margins. First you must be able to defend your value when you’re shopped against similar competitors. "Why should I choose you?" or "How are you any different?" are the crucial questions your sellers must answer when entering the sale at the Procurement phase. The best you can do here is defend what margin remains. It’s filled with competition and the prospect is meeting their existing demand.

Real margin growth hinges on the second key point in the selling process. That’s when your sellers are gaining earlier access at higher levels. We call that the Priority phase, before the prospect has even started seeking a solution. Entering here demands more effort but promises big rewards. You’re actually creating demand at this point. The key questions your sellers must answer when entering here are "Why this?" and Why now?". Remember they’re starting the sale and must lead with a take.

So, how can your sales force cultivate greater influence and access? Prospects aren’t seeking solutions or shopping in this phase. Their focus is on addressing chronic, pressing organizational threats. How and where does your real impact address these threats? Blend these together into a 30 to 40 second "elevator pitch. A successful elevator pitch aligns your real impact with their top priorities. Best answer "Why this? Why now?", and you can secure a coveted invitation to the conversation. The key is matching your real impact and with your ideal prospect’s priorities. Mastery of this pitch in under 40 seconds is the key that unlocks new doors.

In summary, modern sales is treacherous. It requires a bold, new approach. But this new approach is as old as selling itself. Sellers are not good at it. With the right effort and approach, this will prove to be the most powerful tool you can deploy to combat margin erosion. 


About the Author

Mike KooryMike Koory is the founder of Blue Salesfly. He is a successful entrepreneur, speaker, consultant and upcoming author who specializes in helping individuals and businesses develop sales growth maps. He may be reached at 616-916-9855

MMA LogoBlue Salesfly is an MMA Associate Member and has been an MMA member company since April 2023.