When your competitors are floating in a sea of sameness you need to make sure you are waving not drowning.
In the second of a series of articles in which Dr Simon Kelly and Dr Paul Johnston explore customer value and differentiation, they are joined by co-author Stacey Danheiser to ask: are you selling in a sea of sameness?
In this article, they discuss the findings of the first phase of their research programme in which they are seeking to understand how differentiated organisations are from each other and, more importantly, in the eyes of the customer. Their research has led them to conclude that customers are left swimming in a “sea of sameness”, where companies all seem to be telling the same story. In this article, they begin by providing some background on their research programme before discussing why lack of differentiation and distinctiveness is an important issue to tackle. They explore the implications for salespeople who are left selling in this sea of sameness. They offer a view on the heightened importance of the sales role in shaping differentiation before taking a forward look at where their research is going, which the authors are hoping readers can help with.
They draw on their book Value-Ology: Aligning Sales and Marketing to Shape and Deliver Profitable Value Propositions (Kelly, Johnston, Danheiser 2017) to help inform this discussion.