We write and talk a lot about having Command of the Message® inside your sales organization.
It’s a topic we feel strongly about, because without it no sales organization can thrive in a competitive environment. Command of the Message is the hallmark of a high-performing sales team.
But what does having Command of the Message truly mean, and how can your organization achieve it?
We define Command of the Message as:
“…being audible-ready to define your solutions to customer problems in a way that differentiates you from your competitors and allows you to charge a premium for your products and services.”
Let’s break down our definition to see how a sales organization truly gains Command of their Message.
What is Command of the Message?
“Command of the Message” is a concept often used in public relations, marketing, and political communication. It refers to the ability to control the narrative or the messaging about a particular topic, campaign, or situation.
This concept is crucial for organizations and individuals who want to influence public perception or maintain a positive image.
Here are some key aspects of “Command of the Message”:
- Consistency: Ensuring that all communications, across various platforms and from different spokespeople, are consistent in their messaging.
- Clarity: The message should be clear and easily understood by the target audience. It should not be open to misinterpretation.
- Relevance: The message must be relevant to the audience. It should resonate with their values, interests, or needs.
- Proactivity: Instead of just reacting to events, having command of the message means being proactive in shaping the narrative.
- Adaptability: Being able to adapt the message as situations change, while still maintaining its core aspects.
- Authority and Credibility: The message should come from a credible source and be delivered with authority to gain trust.
- Engagement: Engaging with the audience, listening to their feedback, and incorporating it into the messaging strategy.
- Strategic Planning: Effective messaging requires careful planning, including understanding the audience, setting clear objectives, and crafting a compelling narrative.
In practice, having command of the message means that an organization or individual can effectively influence how they are perceived by the public, shape public opinion on certain issues, and manage their reputation effectively.
This is particularly important in crisis situations, where controlling the narrative can significantly impact the outcome.
Now, let’s explore the command of the message value framework, and how your team can take advantage of it.
You’ve heard audible ready in football. When a quarterback calls an audible, the players need to adapt quickly and effectively to changing conditions on the field.
In business, they call it “situational fluency.”
What It Means for Your Sales Team
Being audible-ready means being flexible in front of the customer, ready to respond and adapt, based on what the customer communicates about their genuine business need.
Audible ready does not mean that your sales representatives are flying by the seat of their pants. It most definitely does not mean they’re speaking “off message” or “off topic.”
Great football teams invest thousands of hours in practicing scenarios, memorizing moves, and coordinating alternate plans so that they are ready to respond to the situation on the field.
Successful sales organizations train their teams to be audible ready in the same way, so that salespeople are prepared to quickly and effectively respond to customer needs as they arise during sales conversations.
Solutions to Customer Problems
Many sales teams make the mistake of focusing on product features and solutions without first understanding the problems the customer wants to solve.
Having Command of the Message means starting with the customer’s needs, and talking about your solutions in a way that demonstrates how they solve their business challenges.
What It Means for Your Sales Team
The person who owns the problem owns the customer.
Sales teams that devote most of their time to discovering client problems, and then aligning them with appropriate solutions, close more and larger opportunities.
It’s difficult to commoditize a problem.
Having Command of the Message means that your team is well-versed in aligning your core products and services with real customer problems, and articulating that alignment.
Differentiate from Competitors
Do you know what sets you apart from your competition?
To have true Command of the Message, your sales team must clearly understand your organization’s strengths—as they relate to the weaknesses of your competition.
Aligning your strengths and differentiation with what’s important to the customer makes it easier for your team to close sales.
What It Means to Your Sales Team
Differentiating from competitors means articulating how your specific solutions align tightly with the customer’s problems. This moves customers closer to choosing your solution because they see the value in picking yours over your competitors.
Differentiating from the competition does not mean bad-mouthing competitors or overstating your solution’s benefits. Those approaches create unpleasant tension for the customer, and foster distrust for your sales team.
Instead, teach your sales people to differentiate themselves with effective discovery and helpful consultation, accompanied by tight alignment between your solutions and the customer’s problem.
Charge a Premium
Organizations that have true Command of the Message charge a premium for their products and services because customers can easily “defend-the-spend.”
The high value of the solution has been articulated and demonstrated. Elevating customer need and urgency, by tying your solution to the business impact of the problem, helps your customers see the value in paying the premium price.
What It Means to Your Sales Team
By listening to the customer, responding to their needs, aligning your solution to the problem, and differentiating from your competitors, your team sets the stage for truly capturing the value you provide in the final stages of the sales process. Back it up with solutions that follow through on the promise, and your team will drive more repeat business, as well as cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.
Leading a sales team that truly has Command of the Message drives:
- Higher competitive win rates
- Higher average deal size
- Greater deal margins
- Stronger and deeper customer relationships
Drive consistency in your sales organization. Arm your salespeople with the skills they need to truly articulate the value and differentiation of your solution.
In conclusion, Command of the Message® is not just a concept but a strategic approach that empowers sales organizations to excel in competitive environments.
By being audible-ready, focusing on solutions to customer problems, differentiating from competitors, and justifying a premium for products and services, sales teams can significantly enhance their performance.
This approach leads to higher win rates, larger deals, greater margins, and stronger customer relationships.
It’s about equipping salespeople with the skills and knowledge to articulate the unique value and differentiation of their solutions effectively.
Ultimately, Command of the Message® is about transforming the way sales teams engage with customers, ensuring that every interaction is aligned with the organization’s strategic messaging and goals, thereby driving success and growth in today’s dynamic market landscape.