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How to maximize your market differentiation on sales calls

3 min readJanuary 14, 2020

On sales calls, especially those that involve a competitor or require selling into a noisy space, one of the best ways to stand out is market differentiation. Market differentiation is a method through which a particular product or service is made to be distinguishable from others in a desirable manner so that it appears superior in the eyes of the target market.

Marketers use particular market differentiation strategies when positioning and marketing a product, and salespeople can use the same principals on a sales call to maximize their outcomes. Sales reps can utilize market differentiation to increase their call success, whether it be a cold call, discovery, demo, or close.

Market differentiation provides many benefits. Primarily, it provides a distinct competitive advantage, as it allows you to position your offering in the best possible way. It also creates value for your prospects, as they can understand the uniqueness of your product or service, and can make a more well-informed decision. Strong market differentiation also creates loyalty post-purchase.

Before you can use differentiation tactics, you must understand how a product or service can be differentiated. The basis of market differentiation that can be used in sales are:

Market differentiators for sales calls:

  • Value: The benefit to the buyer exceeds the cost they pay.
  • Importance: The product is critical to success.
  • Distinctiveness: The product is completely unique or offered in a distinguishing manner.
  • Superiority: The product is better, better technology, faster, more effective, etc.
  • Exclusivity: Product or service is not a commodity, cannot be easily copied.
  • Affordability: The product is more affordable than competitors with similar capabilities.
  • Profitable: The product’s monetary contribution exceeds its cost.
  • Improvement: The product substantially improves your company’s processes or performance.

Salespeople can use these differentiators in a variety of ways. Every product or service contains both tangible and intangible aspects. Just like a Toyota Camry and Rolls-Royce Phantom both have four wheels and four doors, the Phantom has the brand significance and an appearance that makes it more desirable.

Market Differentiation Factors

On a sales call, you should highlight and position the specific aspects of your product as something that establishes you and your product as superior in the eyes of your prospect. This is critical to ensuring your cold calling is made into warm calling.

In order to do this, consider factors like your product’s:

– Features – Appearance – Post-sale support
– Quality – Accessibility
– Reliability – Complexity or Simplicity
– Performance – Overall brand image
– Price – Distribution channels

Use the factors above to deliver one or more of the points of differentiation (value, importance, etc.) above. For example, how your product’s quality, reliability, and performance makes it superior to your competition. Or, how its affordability and value create a better price.

On a sales call, utilize your specific differentiators to grab attention at the beginning of a cold call, within a pitch to generate interest, during a demo to position your product as superior, or doing a negotiation to justify pricing.

Target Differentiators for Maximum Effect

One of the key components of differentiation is targeting. No two companies or prospects are the same, and they all will have different needs, problems, requirements, and preferences. Therefore in order to truly differentiate yourself, you must develop different propositions for specific industries, verticals, company size, and so on.

Moreso, differentiators are particularly effective when you are going against a competitor. Every sales organization should create ready-made competitor comparisons that highlight their differentiating factors. You can then use the differentiators in call scripts, presentations, collateral, and other content to maximize effectiveness against competitors.

If you call into an organization that is already using your competitor or know that you will be compared with them during a deal, be sure to understand what makes you different and better and be able to convey it to your prospect.