What is Command of the Message?
It would be unfair to simply call Command of the Message (CoM) a sales methodology or even sales training. Think of it more as value alignment and a messaging framework for your entire company, with consultancy services.
Unlike MEDDPICC, The Challenger Sale, Sandler and other methodologies that can be implemented in isolation within GTM teams, Command of the Message (owned by Force management) seeks to align all departments on a company’s value, purpose and inter-departmental disconnects.
Here are some of the alignment pains that Command of The Message addresses:
- Marketing spend time carefully crafting persona or industry specific messaging that Sales simply ignore.
- Sales get frustrated at Product for developing new capabilities that customers aren’t asking for.
- C-suite become too far removed from frontline discussions to truly have their finger on the pulse regarding customer needs.
Command of the Message tackles this to ensure consistency in understanding the value your company creates for customers. It helps ensure you’re able to answer soul-searching questions like ‘Why does our company exist’ and ‘What makes us truly unique?’
The Command of The Message framework aims to align and teach teams to talk about their buyer’s world before pitching the details of their own offering. It guides team to cover current vs future states and negative vs positive outcomes, before talking about solutions.
How it works:
Command of The Message uses a series of workshops, data collection exercises, and consultancy, stretching from the boardroom, right down to the actual customer conversations.
1. You start by tackling the core value your company provides to customers, the purpose of your company
2. You then work on how to communicate your meaning and value to the outside world
3. You then outline what’s needed to arm teams across the company with easily consumable value-based messaging and a framework to follow throughout a sales cycle.
What are the Considerations for Choosing Command of the Message
Command of the Message has it’s place for certain companies at certain stages and with certain resources. But it’s not for the faint-hearted – it’s a heavy and lengthy lift.
It requires getting all departmental heads locked in a room for days at a time for brutal truth-telling workshops, until eventually all reappear with dented egos and agreement on the company’s raw value differentiators. And that’s just the start.
Over a series of months, multiple further workshops are held to refine those value differentiators into Sales and Marketing playbooks and content.
It’s thorough, it’s detailed, and you are led by expert consultants. Command of the Message does have success stories for those who’ve really embedded it, have dedicated resources to updating the content and reinforcing it, and have managed to get their reps to stick to it.
But it does also involve building an engine around the framework.
So before embarking on the journey, you need ask yourself some critical questions first.
1. Are you looking for major transformation (and willing to pay the price)?
Command of the Message is a big transformational consultancy project.
It’s high effort to implement, involves your whole organization, and comes with a hefty consultancy price tag. It may be right for some companies, but be aware you really are committing your whole organization to a transformational project.
2. Can you maintain it?
Organizations that fail at Command of the Message often do so due to the high effort to maintain.
It’s not a one and done model – it requires constant reinforcement and assessment of teams. This can be challenging given the naturally high staff turnover across GTM departments, so think twice about investing so heavily upfront if there is genuine risk of know-how and executive support churning.
3. Can it evolve with your business?
The final consideration is about maintaining the most relevant content with your Value Framework (the content communicating your value proposition to different segments and personas).
Market conditions and customer needs change rapidly. If your company offerings and value propositions are going to evolve, be aware of the implications this has.
Your Value Framework should be updated every time this occurs to ensure sales end users are engaging in discussions using the most recent and relevant content. That refresh & re-education process can be time consuming and resource intensive, often requiring mini Command of the Message re-implementations.
How does Cuvama work with (and enhance) Command of the Message?
Cuvama acts as the technology to reinforce Command of the Message, overcome some of the maintenance challenges, and improve adoption.
1. Ensuring adoption and compliance
If you’ve already implemented it then you’ll know that after the consultants have packed up, the long-term success of it depends almost entirely on the quality of your first line managers coaching and reinforce it.
However, people move on, new joiners enter the fray, and commitment to the Command of the Message cause can wane.
To combat this most companies will hard-wire Command of the Message fields into their CRM (pain points, outcomes etc.) to ensure compliance. But we all know that doesn’t work, reps are smart and lazy. They soon learn to game the system and fill out the boxes in the CRM to move an opportunity on.
This is where Cuvama helps. Cuvama guides reps in live conversations to discuss industry /persona specific challenges and outcomes. It’s not a tick box exercise in the CRM, it’s live enablement ensuring reps actually implement best practice.
2. Enabling reps when it matters
The sales-consumable Command of the Message battlecards and playbooks produced as leave-behind for Sales teams often end up gathering dust in drawers and on hard-drives.
There’s a major reason for that, they’re static documents. Sure, they can help a rep prepare key questions for a meeting, but they certainly don’t help in the moment of truth. Have you ever seen a salesperson pull out their laminated battlecards mid-meeting? It just doesn’t happen.
This is where Cuvama comes in. Unlike static playbooks, battlecards or discovery guides, Cuvama is a dynamic version of all those (and more). It helps any rep live in the ‘moment of truth’ to dynamically link pain to Positive Business Outcomes (often referred to as BPOs in the Command of the Message framework).
But critically, Cuvama is also built for the buyer, to guide both parties in collaboratively building a compelling value-based story and case for change.
3. Evolving with your value proposition and business
Given the consultancy nature of Command of the Message, it uses lots of workshops to produce the content which is translated into documents. But those documents don’t evolve with your business. New product offerings, new positioning or new personas /industries aren’t going to be captured. You need to re-do the consultancy work to update your content.
Cuvama evolves with your value proposition. You’re able to update it at the click of a button. Whether that means adding a new persona, industry or whole business line from a recent M&A.
Cuvama even goes further than this. It was built to help you learn how to evolve your value proposition. Reps use Cuvama in live conversations, capturing data about customer problems, needs and outcomes. Data taken from every sales discovery conversation then gives you insight into how to evolve your value proposition or better enable sales.
What if we haven’t yet implemented Command of the Message?
If you’ve not started your Command of the Message journey and you’re not sure of your answers to questions raised above, then it’s worth considering testing the water with a lighter lift.
Any organization considering implementing Command of the Message typically has two key characteristics: complex sales motions, with a desire to inject a focus on value selling throughout them.
But you don’t need to turn your company upside down to achieve this. And in today’s macroeconomic environment of budget reductions and headcount freezes, few organizations have the luxury of engaging in lengthy, deep-pocketed transformations.
Cuvama gets companies going with value almost instantly (one week go-live is our record so far).
We have value consultants who can help you identify map your value proposition, produce value-based messaging, and we have our own value-based playbooks and framework. But our true differentiator is our software. The Cuvama app helps drive consistent value-based engagements long after any consultant has left site. We’re lighter touch, faster to value, and embed longer-lasting best practice behaviors.
So if you are Command of the Message curious, or feel your value focus and execution has strayed off-course post implementation of a hefty framework like Command of the Message, then Cuvama could be the perfect cure.