The key for a high sales performance are your Unique Selling Points in comparison to your competition. This means your sales pitch has to be based on having evaluated the products of your competitors first.

This may sound trivial, but the reality is that most of the companies waste huge sales potential by not applying a systematic and comprehensive benchmarking against the competition.

So, what are the 6 steps for implementing an efficient benchmarking system in sales?

Step #1 Define criteria

In a first step you should define criteria for your sales benchmarking. A huge mistake would be to do that by yourself, based on your estimations within the company. There is a simple and much better way: you only have to ask your customers! Select customers of which you know that they are purchasing products of your competitors and run a survey about on which product specs and sales terms they are choosing the products. Create a complete list of all criteria.

Step #2 Identify your direct competitors

Identify your direct competitors. Most likely you know the ones in your home market. If you intend to approach new markets you have to make your homework and check the competition there. Don’t get lost in including too many companies, but select the ones who have a similar product range and positioning. All the other are not really relevant.

Step #3 Comparison and evaluation

This is clearly the most difficult part in carrying out benchmarking as it requires absolute bluntness. Benchmarking is not about generating desired results, but real one. Walk through your list of criteria and evaluate all products for each of them separately, justifying each evaluation analytically and in written. Be as rigorous as you can, especially with your products!

For validating your results ask some selected clients to sit down with you and confirm your evaluation.

Step #4 Exploitation of results

Benchmarking is not carried out as an end it itself, but should become an important asset for your company. The first pay-off is to identify weaknesses and to think about ways to eliminate them. Generate a specific To Do list with concrete actions and deadlines.

Step #5 Adjusting marketing policy

Based on the outcome you should re-evaluate your positioning and your sales pitch. You want to emphasize on points where you are specifically strong and to minimize impact of your weaknesses.

So check your narrative at your website, presentation, advertisement and sales tools. Most likely you have to consider on your price policy and sales incentives.

Step #6 Sales team

Last, but not least: share all findings of your benchmarking with your sales team. The need to know strengths and weaknesses of your products and the ones of your competition. This will enable them to manage efficiently customer’s objections and to apply your sales pitch in the best way.

Implementing benchmarking in your sales organization will lead to a significant increase of sales in short time.