In most markets, every competitor is watching every other competitor so closely that market-facing innovations and improvements tend to get copied in just a matter of months, if not weeks or even days.
That being said, Sales Operations is in a unique position to develop sources of proprietary advantage that are largely hidden from competitive view. Thus, these “secret weapons” are very difficult for competitors to even recognize, let alone emulate.
Here are just three of the many possibilities:
- Customer Retention Systems —By developing data-driven systems to identify the early indicators and tell-tales signs of customer defection and attrition, your salespeople can be alerted to potential issues before too much damage has been done and fend-off competitive intrusions before a solid beachhead can be established.
- Account Development Systems — Through whitespace analysis, you can identify, quantify, and prioritize the business you’re missing in each and every account—i.e. the unit volumes and product categories that customers are buying from someone else. These findings then allow your reps to zero-in on the best and most valuable “low hanging fruit”, while your competitors’ reps are wasting time and effort on aimless fishing trips.
- Prospect Targeting Systems — By analyzing your historical pipeline and sales performance, you can identify the attributes of prospects that close faster, convert at higher rates, demand fewer discounts, generate larger transactions, and ultimately, produce greater lifetime values as customers. With this more robust targeting criteria in-hand, your reps can focus on the best prospects, leaving the rest as coffin nails for the competition.
While these types of systems and processes are extremely powerful and beneficial, for the most part, they’re operating behind the scenes and out of public view. As such, your competitors might be able to get bits and pieces here and there…some little hints and indications that you’re doing something different…but they won’t be able to see the whole recipe that makes the dish so deliciously effective.
And things get even more interesting when you combine these types of “hidden” systems and processes.
Imagine having all three of these secret weapons in your arsenal, working together and operating in concert. Of course, the combination couldn’t help but create significant competitive advantages. But those advantages would also stick over time—because your competitors would have very little clue as to what you’re doing or how you’re doing it!
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