You need benchmarking because it isn’t enough just to know what your own sales figures are, or that the average battery life on your product is 11 hours before recharging is required, or the fact that 95% of your customer support calls are resolved within 8 hours. In an ever increasingly competitive world, you need to know what the expectations of your customers are, how you rank against this and also how your competitors rate – if their figures show that their average battery life is 22 hours, and 99.5% of customer support calls are resolved within 6 hours who looks the more attractive to the potential customer? Continue reading Benchmarking
To compete successfully you have to know who you are up against! Competitor Analysis is the in depth analysis on your major competitors, or new players entering your target markets – such as their structure, products/services, strategy, strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats – enables you to really focus on targeting resources where they will have the most impact.
Analysis of the competitive landscape will help you to:
- understand competitors’ objectives and strategy and develop your own accordingly
- develop realistic sales targets through understanding the scale of competitors’ operations and revenue
- identify relative market positions
- identify each competitor’s market share
- identify the split of competitors by product
- conduct a gap analysis on product features
- implement product or service improvements to counter strengths/weaknesses and innovations in their product portfolio
- position your products/services appropriately
- understand the distribution strategies of your competitors and optimize your own
- offer competitive pricing discounts and payment terms
- develop a marketing communications strategy with messages that resonate effectively with your target market and counteract your competitors’ messages
- strengthen your products/services and marketing strategy according to how your competitors and their products are perceived by customers
- identify new product development and competitive product road maps
- develop sales guides highlighting sales “kill points”, i.e. points designed to counter specific competitor offerings and communications
- understand competitor customer satisfaction levels
- conduct lost bid analysis
- define research and development investment.
Competitor analysis is a large, complex and specialist study; decide first what your needs are, and therefore which avenues you need to explore, and plan your research in detail ensuring you apply the appropriate technique or methodology to gain the best results. Approaching various sources will be necessary – competitors’ employees and customers, channel partners and maybe former employees – make sure you have the expertise available to conduct this research to maximize the information gathered and ensure you are aware of ethical and legal considerations.
Effectively completed, competitor analysis is technically challenging, complicated and resource-hungry work that is best left to experts that specialize in the competitor intelligence and analysis field.
If you refer to your software company as a ‘vendor’ or ‘supplier’ to your customers you may limit the potential of your relationship right from the start! Rather, present yourself as a ‘Technology Partner’, ‘Industry Solution Provider’, or even better, a ‘Strategic Partner’.
For all the following reasons:
- The more senior the level of the relationship the more likely it is to be strategically important to the customer
- The more strategic the relationship the more likely it is to be long-term (higher revenue), the less likely it is to be price and discount sensitive (higher margin)
- And typically the more strategic the relationship the earlier you’ll learn of new sales opportunities.
In contrast, a supplier or vendor providing product or service solutions is usually Continue reading Is This Why Your Customers Don’t See You as a Strategic Partner?