Salesforce Price Increase makes Alternatives Attractive

Last year Salesforce.com introduced SalesforceIQ (formerly RelateIQ) targeted at individuals and small businesses. This product replaced the company’s basic Group Edition, which was offered at $25 per user per month, but was viewed as a bit cumbersome and hard to use for small businesses. SalesforceIQ is a completely different product that offers basic functionality and a nicer user interface than the previous Group Edition; but like its predecessor, it is still limited to up to five users. With a completely different design and user interface it will be interesting to learn how customers can migrate to a more robust product edition should they wish to in the future?

Interestingly enough the company has also increased the price of the Sales Edition to $75 per user per month and its Enterprise Edition to $150 per user per month. These editions are now referred to as Lightning Professional and Lightning Enterprise Editions — Go Figure.

Image credit: Salesforce Announces New Pricing And Packaging -- What It Means To You | Forrester Blogs
New Sales Cloud Lightning Editions pricing chart courtesy of Liz Herbert’s Blog | Forrester.com

This price increase is a bit surprising due to the increased competition from competitive solutions like Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Commence CRM, both of which offer similar functionality at a substantially lower cost. Perhaps Salesforce.com knows something others do not.

Best Practices # 18: Using information about competitors

Waterstreet Coffee Bar Meeting | Startup Stock Photos

Best Practices # 18:  Has a systematic approach to collecting, processing, storing and using information about competitors.

By Dave Kahle

Here again is one of those best practices that mark the behavior of the superstars, the top five percent of the sales force. Most sales people never even consider this.

Every sales person has to compete for the business. In some cases, there can be dozens of competitors, and in other cases, only one. Regardless, the five percenter sales people understand that the more knowledge they have of the competitors, the more equipped they are to present their own offerings in a positive light, and, therefore, the more sales they will earn.

But knowledge of the competitor doesn’t come by osmosis, creeping into our heads during our sleeping hours without any effort on our parts. Like everything else in the sales professional’s job, it takes disciplined, methodical effort.

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To master this Best Practice, you must first decide that coming to know and understand your competitors, and thus being able to predict their actions and counter their assertions, is a good thing for you to do. If you don’t care, then read no further. But if you think it would give you an advantage, then you must first commit to collecting that information.

Once you decide to do it, the question is “What is the best way?”

I’ve found it helpful to create a folder for each competitor, both electronic and hardcopy. You will, in your day-to-day efforts, come across bits and pieces of information about your competitors. One customer will share a price with you; at another, you’ll see a sell sheet with a competitor’s business card stapled to it, etc. Every time you come across a small bit of information about the competitor, take note of it. Then save those notes in your competitor folders. Periodically review those collected notes. After a period of time, you’ll have enough notes to allow you to begin to gain an understanding of what the competitor is saying and doing.

And that will provide you a little bit of an edge, which will translate into sales that you may not have attained otherwise.

The key, as always, is methodical, disciplined effort.  Not every sales person has the discipline, nor the heart for this kind of subtlety.

That’s why this is a Best Practice of the best sales people.

If you’d like to dig deeper into this idea, consider Pod-14, “Differentiating Yourself from the Competition,” and Pod-41, “How to Deal with the Competition Like a Pro,” – two on-line lessons in The Sales Resource Center.

 

Sales Question and Answer #34 – Business Manners

This is a Sales Question and Answer article from guest poster Dave Kahle, author and leading sales educator.

Q.   I’m new to sales and to business in general.  I don’t want to make a “manners” or “etiquette” mistake that could cause problems.  Are there any special rules for business etiquette that I should know about?

Business etiquette for sales professional

A.  That’s a question that I have rarely heard.  But, good question, nonetheless.  As new generations of sales people come into the profession, the culture changes somewhat, and some of the old rules pass on.  Every now and then, it’s a good idea to refresh some of the basic rules of business etiquette.

The fundamental rule is to think about the customer, and put yourself in his shoes.  How would you want to be treated?  Here are some specific applications:

1.  If you don’t have an appointment and you want to intrude on a customer or colleague’s time, ask permission first.  Say, “Is this a good time to talk?” or “May I have a moment of your time?”

2.  If you walk into a customer’s office during inclement weather, hang your coat up and put your boots in the designated place instead of wearing them in to the office.

3.  Be careful about immediately using someone’s first name.  North America is the only culture where this is acceptable.  If your customer has another ethnicity in his/her background, or is older or more established than you, or is more educated, he may view your use of his first name as an insult.

4.  If you don’t know how to pronounce a person’s name, ask them to pronounce it for you.  This shows respect for the other person.

5. When you enter another person’s work space, stand until he/she sits down.  Never be the first person to sit down.

6.  Ask permission to put your materials on the customer’s desk or table.  Don’t just assume that you may do so.

7.  If you are going to go over the allotted time, ask the customer’s permission to continue.  Estimate how much more time you expect to need, and ask for permission.

8.  Be courteous to everyone, from the person washing the windows on the office entryway to the CEO.

9.  If you are going to take the customers’ time, be sure that you have something that you believe they will consider of value to discuss with them.  Be mindful and respectful of the customer’s time.

10. TURN OFF THE ********* CELL PHONE BEFORE YOU ENTER INTO ANY CONVERSATION WITH A CUSTOMER!

11.  If you must take a cell phone call, and are within close proximity to anyone else, move to a more secluded area to have your conversation.  Irresponsible cell phone users are some of the most irritating and rude people around.  Don’t be one.

12.  If you must have a cell phone conversation within close proximity of other people, speak softly.  You don’t have to shout.  See the above.

13.  Never discuss the details of a sales call with a colleague when you are within the customer’s building.  You never know who the other people in the waiting room or on the elevator really are who can hear your conversation.

That’s a good list to get started.  Good luck.

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By the way, you’ll find this kind of insight into dozens of sales issues in our Sales Resource Center. It houses 435 training programs to help everyone live more successfully and sell better.  All delivered over the internet, 24/7, for one low monthly fee.

About the author:

Dave Kahle is one of the world’s leading sales authorities. He’s written twelve books, presented in 47 states and ten countries, and has helped enrich tens of thousands of sales people and transform hundreds of sales organizations.  Sign up for his free weekly Ezine, His book, How to Sell Anything to Anyone Anytime, has been recognized by three international entities as “one of the five best English language business books.”  Check out his latest book, The Heart of a Christian Sales Person.”