The Swiss Army Knife of Sales.
What do a Swiss Army Knife and a successful approach to sales have in common?
In 1884 soldiers in the Swiss Armed Forces were issued a knife as part of their personal equipment. They needed a foldable knife that could both open feed cans and disassemble a rifle.
Karl Eisener added to his design in 1897, creating the original Swiss Officer’s and Sports Knife, which was patented and is now known around the world as the “Swiss Army Knife”. The updated design added a smaller cutting blade, a corkscrew, and wood fiber grips, under the name of Schweizer Offiziers- und Sportmesser (“Swiss officer’s and sports knife”). Even though the Swiss military did not commission the knife, it was successfully marketed internationally to the public and would become a cultural icon of Switzerland.
Ready for anything. Prepared for everything.
The Swiss Army Knife would prove to not only be a valuable part of anyone’s outdoor survival gear but would also become a global icon that carries with it the metaphorical representation of carrying something that is versatile in nature and empowers its possessor to be “prepared for anything”.
“Those who need to be ready for anything take one of these with them everywhere. Since 1897, the Swiss Army Knife has been a trusted tool of adventurers around the world. Whether you’re exploring the city, the ocean, the mountains, or even space, the Swiss Army Knife is the companion you can count on.”
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
A key component to a Soldier’s success is their ability to be prepared and adapt to any situation they encounter. Back in the day, the Swiss Armed Forces needed to have a tool that was flexible and safe, and wouldn’t slow them down. A tool that could be effective for the many different situations that possibly could arise in the field of battle. Being able to assemble a rifle, open a can for sustenance or cut through a snagged piece of cloth could literally be a lifesaver for a soldier in need.
Just as the Swiss Armed Forces found it their duty to prepare their soldiers with the training and tools they needed to survive in the field, so too is it the responsibility of Corporate Marketing Departments and Sales Directors to strengthen their teams and arm their reps with the right technology to be successful in their customer engagement opportunities.
For the sales rep, the metaphorical life and death of a sale often relies on the rep’s ability to adapt in the field to the various situations their buyers throw at them on a daily basis. Teams need to be able to think on their feet and have toolsets that can clear any obstacle, or remove any snags in the sales cycle. They have to be able to situationally approach a buyer with content that is specific to their wants and needs.
Situational Selling is a philosophy that’s rooted in meeting the customer at the point where they are at in their buyer’s journey. It’s not about pushing products. It’s about having a conversation that follows a path tailor-made to how the customer wants to interact with the rep. It needs to lead to the products, not with the products. It needs to bring up solutions that are in the context of the specific problems of each individual buyer.
In order for a rep in the field, or in virtual meetings to be successful in their efforts to situationally sell, they need the “Swiss Army Knife” of customer engagement technology. They need to have a tool that can be launched on the devices they use every day. They need to have a presentation technology that can turn presentations into conversations, and can quickly bring up the right content at the right time, instantly. They need a toolset that can situationally approach the sale from the context of the customer’s needs. They need to have a toolset that is reliable. One that always has the latest marketing and sales materials that are up to date, on brand, on message, and at the ready no matter if an internet connection is available.
To be able to be successful and situationally adapt on the fly, the technology used by the reps needs to be non-linear by design. It can’t trap the user in a PowerPoint situation where they are forcing the buyer to sit through content that is irrelevant to their particular circumstances. The technology used to present materials has to do more than a website. It has to do more than store content in a briefcase or virtual-box with endless files and folders.
A powerful situational sales and product support technology needs to be one that can go beyond just the presentation of things. It needs to be able to seamlessly transition from showing things, to capturing things. It needs to be able to execute surveys, needs assessments, order forms and quotes. It needs to do real-time calculations as it not only sets up customer expectations, but also provides clear evidence of how your product can do things better than the competition. It needs to gather valuable intelligence from the field, and easily integrate it into the current back-office systems in place.
Situational selling begins and ends with a prepared rep that is equipped with the right tools to effectively do their job. Like the Swiss Army Knife, the right tool is easy to use and versatile and can be difference between closing a deal and killing an opportunity.
To call a customer engagement mobile platform like Command.App, the “Swiss Army Knife” of Sales Enablement tools, means that it carries with it maximum utility that is applicable to more or less any scenario at hand. It’s easy to use and goes with the rep into any situation, virtual or in-person. With adaptability and versatility, Command.App is a tool that will help companies move forward into the new normal of doing business creating high-impact presentations and shorten sales cycles. But there is one glaring difference: it can’t open a nice bottle of wine to celebrate the closing of a huge client.