Every company engaged in complex sales should invest energy in periodic competitive analysis.  Many do, but most competitive analysis given sales teams is lacking in its worth to arm sales teams to compete. The bulk of most competitive analysis is too often summary information on the competitor from an insider’s perspective:

  • company profile
  • feature comparison
  • product line descriptions
  • geographic support
  • comparative pricing
  • service and support capabilities

All of this is good information, but what sales teams really need is the prospective customer’s view of their competitor:

  • business opportunity or challenge the competitor is positioning themselves to address
  • strengths in the competitor’s position
  • weaknesses in competitor’s position
  • business argument against the competitor’s offer
  • business argument in favor of the competitor’s offer
  • vulnerabilities in the competitor’s product or service features and functionality relative to their ability to deliver a benefit
  • risks in a business relationship
  • opportunities in a business relationship

Looking at the two lists above, you can see where a sales person needs both sets of information about their competitor, but notice how the list of information from a prospect’s view enables the sales person to position themselves and their competition.

What sales teams need to do better — and be better prepared to do — is position their offer and competition in a manner that defines the argument to purchase their offer.  Competitive analysis from the buyer’s perspective is a key component of effective and useful competitive analysis.

What do you think? Anything you’d add to my list?

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