Mark Shonka

Sales Tip: Competitive Strategy, Part 1

We all face it. Whether we are trying to unseat an incumbent, protect our turf, or expand our presence within our customers, we face tough competition. That competition can come from traditional rivals, emerging competitors, or even the customer itself in the form of internal operations. Due to the increasing pressure of procurement, economic uncertainty, and the global pandemic, competition is more aggressive than ever. Couple this with the fact that customer loyalty is at or near an all-time low, and we are in a tough spot.

When it comes to competitive situations, many of us rely on our solutions to create differentiation. However, in this era of commoditization, customers often see very little difference between the solutions of one provider versus another. We need a more well-rounded strategy. As Sun Tzu said,

"It's not your army against your enemy's army. It's your strategy against your enemy's strategy".

When it comes to creating this competitive strategy, start by doing your homework on the competitive situation:

  • Who are you competing against (the company, solution and individual)?
  • What is their current business situation and strategy?
  • What is their sales strategy?
  • What are their strengths?
  • What are their weaknesses?
  • Do they have a current relationship with the customer?
  • If so, how satisfied is the customer with their solution, support...
  • Who are their contacts and coaches?
  • How strong is their coach network?
  • How well aligned are they with people of influence?
  • How do key decision makers feel about them?

When you are in the process of doing this homework, leverage your coach network, keep your questions positive, and keep digging. The answers to these questions will become the basis of your competitive strategy. More to come in the next Tip of the Month...

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