Using buyer feedback in competitive analysis
Companies who cannot find their competitive edge will lose deals. Therefore, it’s important that sales and marketing have a deep understanding of who their competitors are, what their competitors are doing, and how they can best position themselves against competitors in an ever-changing market. By conducting a competitive analysis, you’ll be able to identify your top competitors and understand how your buyers perceive your brands, products, and services in comparison.
A competitive analysis is a method where you identify and research your key competitors in order to implement strategies that will help you increase wins for deals where the buyer is considering another vendor.
By using your buyer feedback as a key data source within your competitive analysis, you’ll be able to get a first-person account of why you win and lose against your competitors, as well as tap into your buyer’s true perception of how you compare.
Don’t Skew Your Data
Knowing what questions to ask is half the battle. By carefully crafting unloaded, unbiased questions during your competitive analysis surveys and interviews, you’ll be able to get clearer insight into why your competitive deals reach a particular outcome. Be careful that the questions you ask don’t prompt the answers you want to hear as this will skew the data. Approach each question with the intent to source the truth, not to prove your hypotheses correct. Your buyers will give more honest feedback about you and your competitors when they feel as though questions are impartial.
For example, asking neutral questions like “Which of the following company attributes had an impact on your decision?” instead of “What about [Losing Company] did you not like?” can help you gather clearer responses for your competitive analysis.
You’ll also want to ask relevant questions in regards to product, service, sales experience, and brand perception, so ensure your questions cover these categories.
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Gather Enough Buyer Feedback
Collecting enough relevant data points can be a struggle when conducting a competitive analysis. When your internal team has other marketing objectives, it can be hard for someone to find the time to conduct surveys and interviews. You can research online reviews or scour third party sites in an attempt to supplement data, but this isn’t going to give a first-hand account of your offering versus your competitor. Instead, find ways to better automate feedback collection and use best practices to increase conversion. By automating surveys and using a win loss analysis expert to conduct phone interviews, you’ll be able to save time and increase the amount of buyer feedback that comes through. Buyers may also feel more comfortable giving unbiased feedback via survey or to someone who isn’t directly involved in your company’s sales and marketing. With more feedback, you’ll be able to see trends and identify why you win and lose against specific competitors.
Look for Key Metrics
Once you have a decent amount of data, you’ll want to start looking for trends between your business and each competitor. Do buyers continually give certain feedback about yours or your competitor’s sales processes? Are they constantly referencing a need that a product doesn’t solve for? Are there certain verticals where you always seem to win or lose when it comes to competitor X? These trends allow you to identify your strengths and weaknesses so that you can eliminate any shortcomings and stay steps ahead when it comes to competitive positioning.
Communicate with Front Line Reps
Now that you’ve collected and analyzed competitive insights, it’s vital that those insights are communicated to sales in a digestible way. By organizing these insights into battle cards, your sales team will be able to access the information they need to speak confidently when talking to prospects who are considering other vendors. Include the top reasons you win and lose against each competitor so that your sales reps can quickly adapt their pitch to combat competitive claims.
Buyer feedback is the purest data source when it comes to running a competitive analysis. By tapping into your buyer’s true perception of your business versus your competitor, you’ll be able to take data-driven steps to enhance your competitive edge – and win more deals!
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