As sales and relationship management professionals, we are trying to steer customers and prospects to make decisions in our favor. These decisions will allow us to help them drive important outcomes. Gaining these commitments is rarely easy, and in many cases, we have to overcome serious...
Sales Tip: Competitive Strategy, Part 2
In the previous Tip of the Month (August 2021), we shared the idea of doing some specific homework when facing a competitive situation. One element of this homework is to consider our competitor's strengths and weaknesses - in general, and in this unique situation. Areas of consideration include solutions, people, financial resources, relationships, access, business and sales strategy...
Our next step should be to consider our own strengths and weaknesses:
- How well do our solutions match up to the customer's needs?
- How do our solutions compare to our competitor's solutions?
- What about the strength of our relationships - how strong is our coach network, are we aligned with influential people, do we have access to senior level decision makers...?
- How do our business and sales strategies compare to our competitor's?
By doing this analysis, we can start identifying strengths we will want to leverage, and weaknesses we will want to minimize.
Here are a couple of examples:
- You are competing for an opportunity to work with a customer in Europe. You and another competitor are fairly well-matched in Europe. You learn that the customer will want to expand into Latin America in the next 18 months. Your competitor has weak presence there, and you are the market leader. You have uncovered a potentially strong advantage that you can emphasize in your competitive efforts.
- You are competing against an incumbent supplier. You know that they have more contacts and coaches than you do, but you learn that they have no relationship with senior level decision makers. You recognize that this is a liability you can exploit.
- Your competitor's solution is well regarded, but you have a groundbreaking technical advancement about to be announced that will completely change the game. You can choose a competitive strategy that allows you overcome today's weakness and leverage tomorrow's advantage.
These steps in the process of creating a powerful competitive advantage take very little time, and can have a major impact on our effectiveness.