No matter what B2B industry you’re part of, be it SaaS, Management Consulting, Manufacturing, or another, almost every company monitors the competitive landscape and changes that are shifting around them. However, there may be circumstances when deeper research and awareness into the competition is required.
As might be expected, gathering competitive intelligence can benefit many areas of the organization, including the customer experience, as my colleague shared in this post: How to Leverage Competitive Intelligence to Impact CX. But when should you consider gathering formal competitive intelligence for the greatest impact?
In theory, it seems like paying attention to the competition should always be a focus, and ideally, your organization should and would have an ongoing competitive intelligence program in place to capture and leverage this insight beyond Google Alerts or scanning websites. Unfortunately, the reality is that there’s often a substantial time investment and a lack of internal resources, which can limit a company’s ability to gather rich competitive intelligence on a regular basis.
Collecting Competitive Intelligence in the Sales Process
If you are faced with these challenges, you may find that examining feedback shared during the sales process will provide a fresh perspective for your competitive intelligence program.
A properly executed Sales Win Loss program will ensure you’re not taking guesses at what decision-makers believe are your competitive strength and weaknesses. Importantly, it will set your sales team up for success when they come head-to-head with your competition.
For example, a Sales Win Loss program can address questions such as:
- Why is your company losing deals to the same competitors over and over?
- Did a new competitor that you weren’t aware of show up in a sales process? Did this result in a loss of business?
- Are you finding that a competitor is actively targeting your current customers? What are they targeting against and why?
- Do you know what sets you apart in the eyes of your customers and prospects?
- What do you do well?
- What do you need to improve?
- How do you compare during sales, implementation, service, and overall product and pricing?
Triggers for Gathering Competitive Intelligence
While there are many other opportunities to gather competitive intelligence (look to your Customer Success team, for example), you may find that there are certain events taking place within your organization or industry that might prompt launching a competitive intelligence initiative, such as:
- Do you want to find out what makes your product or services “special” in your market?
- Are you entering a new market or expanding/shifting your target market?
- Will you be meaningfully changing your product or service?
- Are you considering or going through a rebrand, or developing fresh messaging?
- Do you have a sales kick-off on the horizon?
- Is your organization in growth mode?
These scenarios are just a few examples of when you’ll want to dig deeper into the competition to help inform your marketing strategy, key sales messaging, and product enhancements. Be on the lookout for your trigger event!
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