Understanding Your Competition

understand your competitorsA distribution-centric CRM solution will allow you to assign what competitors are involved with which customers and deals. This allows you to quickly analyze who is aggressive in different lines of business, geographies, product lines and more. Of course, you’ll need to track the data in order to use it, so be sure that each of your sales people records the competitive presence in each of your opportunities.

At it’s most basic, competitive understanding means you will know which competitors you’ve been beating and which have been taking away deals. But tied to the rest of your CRM data you can begin to develop much larger pictures of your competitors. Here are some ideas to get you thinking.

Pareto Analysis

You can create a Pareto chart of win and loss reasons for each competitor. The Pareto principle states that 80% of your results are attributable to 20% of your causes—the 80/20 rule. While you may have hundreds of reasons why you won or lost a deal, they probably can be grouped into some wide categories such as price, references, product availability, service offerings, geography, technical expertise or other reasons. By collecting this data by competitor you may find the small number of reasons (the 20%) that you lose to a given competitor most of the time (the 80%) and prepare for that the next time you meet them.

Track Product Mix

You may occasionally be surprised to find out that your most successful competitors have different product and service offerings for different geographies, warehouses and even customer by customer. By understanding these differences, you can boost your particular mix in a competitive deal.

Ask Your Customers

Interview your customers to find out what they think are the strengths and weaknesses of each of your competitors. What do they like or dislike? What are their current offers and specials. Have they changes their services or product offerings?

Campaign After Trigger Events

When you hear of a change with a competitor, you can quickly respond to it by profiling the customers attached to those competitors and campaigning them. For example, let’s say one of your competitors has an issue with late shipments. You can go on the offensive with a message about your service levels.

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