Generative AI such as the now ubiquitous ChatGPT-4 has brought about a profound change in sales. What was once the salesperson's holy grail - the USP - is still valuable, but has lost its value compared to the UBE or Unique Buying Experience .
Historically, companies have devoted significant resources to developing unique products or services to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. However, the reality in today's competitive environment is that this "uniqueness" alone does not guarantee a sale. What counts is relevance to the customer.
"GPT-4 shifts the selling point from the uniqueness of the product or service to the uniqueness of the approach."
The way the product or service is positioned and presented to members of the buying team now plays a much more important role in ensuring that the sales message speaks to the customer's needs and is aligned with their specific goals.
Be the USP and show that you understand the customer's business.
So it is no longer just a matter of describing the unique selling proposition, but of formulating it in such a way that it matches the customer's value proposition. It's not about the technology, but more than ever about the customer. But what if what you are selling is AI?
As an industry, we need to focus on understanding and meeting the specific needs of customers. We need to recognize how AI solutions can help them achieve their goals and differentiate the provider from the competition. This transformation requires a redesign of the sales process as the key differentiator. As with many products and services, AI companies must learn that it's not just about "what we sell," but "how we sell."
When we broaden our perspective to include the unique buying experience, a different approach to the sales process emerges. In this UBE model:
- People + Needs: Sales teams need to identify the people in customer organizations who face the problem their AI solutions can solve. They need to seek deeper insights into the requirements and potential impact of our offerings.
- Solution Fit + Value Communication: Instead of the usual technology-driven sales model where everything is said, the value proposition needs to be customized for each role the sales team interacts with during the sales process, using the appropriate "language" to ensure the message aligns with their mindset.
- Internal Communication: Vendors must provide resources to help customer representatives position and justify the investment in their solution by turning them into advocates who help the sales team reach and persuade key decision makers....
- Competitive Differentiation: Rather than simply highlighting the differences between products or services, sales teams need to help customers match the evaluation criteria to the capabilities of their solution and make an obvious choice.
Read more about UBE vs. USP in my article on LinkedIn.
Moving from USP to creating a UBE requires a coherent, well-executed sales process equipped with the right tools and capabilities. The goal is to make the company's sales approach the reason why it wins.