Selling in a sea of sameness

25th June 2019 |   Stacey Danheiser, Simon Kelly and Dr Paul Johnston

When your competitors are floating in a sea of sameness you need to make sure you are waving not drowning.

In the second of a series of articles in which Dr Simon Kelly and Dr Paul Johnston explore customer value and differentiation, they are joined by co-author Stacey Danheiser to ask: are you selling in a sea of sameness? In this article, they discuss the findings of the first phase of their research programme in which they are seeking to understand how differentiated organisations are from each other and, more importantly, in the eyes of the customer.

Their research has led them to conclude that customers are left swimming in a “sea of sameness”, where companies all seem to be telling the same story. In this article, they begin by providing some background on their research programme before discussing why lack of differentiation and distinctiveness is an important issue to tackle. They explore the implications for salespeople who are left selling in this sea of sameness.

President of SHAKE Marketing Group at SHAKE Marketing Group | + posts

Stacey Danheiser is co-author of Value-ology and President of SHAKE Marketing Group, based in Denver, Colorado. She works with B2B clients to implement integrated marketing strategies and teach them about customer-centricity. Prior to starting her own consultancy, she spent 15 years as a marketing and sales enablement leader at large firms across cable, telecommunications, financial services and banking sectors.

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Simon Kelly has 35 years’ experience in the ICT industry in customer service, sales and marketing. He was Marketing Director for BT Major Business where he pioneered the move from “product push” to “value-based” selling and marketing. He led a canon of knowledge for the CIM on best practice B2B marketing. Now a “pracademic”, he has developed innovative marketing and sales skills modules for Sheffield Business School where he is a Senior Lecturer. He is President of SHAKE Marketing Group, based in London.

Principal Lecturer at Sheffield Business School | + posts

Dr Paul Johnston is a Principal Lecturer at Sheffield Business School, Sheffield Hallam University, where he is a member of the Marketing Subject Group. Dr Johnston has spent 11 years in academia prior to which he had a career in the gaming and gambling industry where he held a number of senior marketing management positions for several organisations. These roles included Sales and Marketing Director of Bell-Fruit manufacturing where he was a member of a management buyout team in the early 1990s. Responsibilities included competitive strategy, key account management and product design and development. You can contact him via: