Anonymous Question: "How deep are you researching competitors?"

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Joe Huber
Joe Huber Member [Pro], Administrator Posts: 242

We run into the same 5-6 companies over and over, but I'm starting to see more of these smaller startups pop up. We're a smaller organization, so I'll send stuff over to marketing for competitor research every time, but it's not always the most insightful stuff back.

I'm newer, so I'm not sure exactly how everyone keeps track of all the competitors. If you're working at a smaller place, how do you organize it? Do you just track their unique selling props? And maybe my biggest question is if this is something I should even really be worrying about?

Thanks in advance for helping me out.

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  • Brian Walsh
    Brian Walsh Member [Plus] Posts: 3
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    An initial quick response on this because it's a great question. Whether it's in some sort of shared document or even just a spreadsheet, creating a competitive intelligence inventory over time can be really powerful. Identifying who they target by role, use cases that they like to try to fit into, key differentiator's that they use to try to sell against us or anchor on, etc. are the kinds of things that should become a company mission, not just one individual's job.

    This then turns into something that can be used to create competitive battle cards, or what we used to call "RFP influencers." We would even use those with clients to walk them through critical capabilities that they should think about that helped us box the competition out. Hope that's a good starting comment and I'm looking forward to seeing what other people will add to this.

  • Ralston McCracken
    Ralston McCracken Member [Plus] Posts: 4
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    With respect to your "biggest question", the answer is an emphatic YES! This is indeed something that you and your colleagues should be worrying about. Your experience is that the number of competitors is increasing, with new entrants popping up as competition - which follows the trend in most marketplaces today. To elevate your solution above your competition, you have to illustrate superior value that is both relevant to, and recognized by, the customer. Just as "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder"; Value is in the eye of the customer. But how can you demonstrate greater value if you are not aware of your comeptitors' capabilities? That is why obtaining and sharing competitive intelligence is so important - build up a library in your CRM system, SharePoint, Slack, Google Drive - whatever platform will enable easy pooling and access to information.

    Business history contains many once-famous names that took their eyes of their competition e.g. airlines (TWA, Pan Am, Alitalia; telecoms (Nokia) and just announced yesterday, the retailer Bed, Bath & Beyond is entering bankruptcy (they stuck with brick & mortar stores and ignored online sales). Avoid becoming one of those failures, by understanding your competition, which may not be another vendor, but alternative technology (just ask Kodak, who didn't see smartphones on the horizon).

    If you know both the enemy and yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
    ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

  • Joe Huber
    Joe Huber Member [Pro], Administrator Posts: 242
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  • Joe Huber
    Joe Huber Member [Pro], Administrator Posts: 242
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    Huge thank you to @Antonella O'Day and @Rachel Clapp Miller for answering this question on this episode of the Audible-Ready Sales Podcast!