How Distributors Improve Customer Retention A common rule of thumb in distribution is that it…
Measuring Your Competitive Successes
The key to constant improvement is creating a repeatable and measurable process. This is true in your competitive replacement campaigns as well. Success breeds more success and before you know it you’ll be tossing out competitors left and right. Your CRM system allows you to be systematic in how you track and measure your progress against competitors.
While there are numerous ways to track and measure your success with competitors, here is a short list to get you started.
Market share is simply the portion of sales of products and services in your locations that you sold measured against the total sold by all of your competitors. It’s almost always impossible to get an accurate estimate of the total sales of all the products and services for which you could’ve competed; however, as you collect more and more competitive information in your CRM system, you will have a better estimate than anyone else in your market.
You should first set a baseline for your estimated market share. Distributors typically calculate market share by customers served, units sold, or revenue:
- Market share by customers served: This is the easiest calculation to start with. Simply count the total number of customers and prospects in your CRM database, then calculate the percentage you served in a given time period (e.g., last fiscal quarter) and the percentage that we also served by the competitors you track.
- Market share by units sold: To add more detail to the picture, you can estimate the total orders or units purchased by your average customer. Then you can calculate what percentage of that business you won compared to the percentage your competitors won. SMP can help you create report cards for the purchasing habits of each of your customers.
- Market share by revenue: You can also calculate your market share by revenue. Estimate the dollar value of the average orders in your market and then compare your performance against the competitors you track.
Once you set a baseline for market share, you can then calculate changes in market share to determine which of your competitors is losing or gaining ground and how you compare.
Specific Competitor Attributes
Analyzing specific attributes of your competitors can help guide strategy at a corporate level. Choose attributes that the customers in your market value and score your competitors based on those attributes. You will want to brainstorm with your sales people on the drivers that are important in the markets you serve. Here is a list of attributes that apply to most distributors:
- Service quality
- Delivery speed
- Order accuracy
- Inventory and product depth
- Market leadership
- Innovation and value add
- Technology leadership
- Customer satisfaction
- Leadership team
- Financial performance
- Marketing and awareness
- Brand and reputation
Give yourself and each of your competitors a score of 1 to 7 for each attribute. If you really want to go deep in this kind of analysis, ask your customers to weight how important each of these attributes are to them and then rank your competitors by score. Here’s an example:
This kind of analysis gives you a very direct estimation of the market position of your company compared to your competitors. For example, in the above analysis our company is weak in accuracy. That is obviously something we need to deal with in our order and warehouse processes. Fortunately accuracy is not as important to our customers as delivery speed. When competing against “Competitor B” we want to minimize our discussions of accuracy and maximize our discussion of deliveries.
Market Program Success
For each of the marketing programs we run, we should track measures of success to determine which programs deserve future investment and which programs might need to be redesigned. A robust CRM system can put market program statistics at your fingertips with information like:
- Number of responses
- Number of new orders
- Number of repeat orders
- Total dollar volume contributed to revenue