Disruptive Selling: Get Away From the Edges

There are two reasons customers form new relationships with vendors:

  1. Their current vendor or self-serve process is broken
  2. Their current vendor or self-serve process works fine but can be eliminated in favor of a substitute

The first reason is quality-driven. The customer is looking for a process or product to work the way it is supposed to work. They want a vendor focused on executing an old vision.

The second reason has nothing to do with quality, it has to do with value. The quality is good, but there are alternatives that are more valuable to their organization. They are working with vendors focused on a new vision.

When selling to customers with broken processes, you are in competition with vendors who are very similar to you. You are in a dogfight because you win by biting and clawing around the edges to create differentiation; things like price point, grade and cultural fit define your win strategy.

When selling substitutes to customers, you are using unique strengths to design disruptive replacements that provide many times more value than their current process. In this endeavor you are alone. You aren’t biting and clawing in a dogfight because no one else has a design like yours.

Being disruptive is more valuable to both organizations because both profit much more with substitutes than with improvements around the edges. Instead of looking to best your competitors head-to-head with the same offering, find ways to make them unnecessary by designing a great substitute for their service.

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