10-Step System to Build an Efficient Competitive Enablement Program
September 11, 2023
Table of Contents:
Here are some key steps I would recommend to start an effective competitive intelligence program:
Get leadership buy-in. Meet with stakeholders to communicate the value of CI and gain their support.
Identify your top 1-2 competitors based on lost deals, product overlap, reputation, etc. Focus initial efforts here.
Gather internal data from sales, success, marketing on competitor insights. Leverage existing CRM, support tickets, marketing reports.
Monitor external sources like competitor websites, reviews, social media to learn about strategies, customer sentiment.
Conduct a product teardown to analyze competitor offerings in depth. Note strengths, weaknesses, gaps.
Develop your positioning statement highlighting where your company outshines others.
Create your first battlecard comparing your differentiators to the competition in an easy-to-digest format.
Train sales on using the battlecard during calls and set up a repository for access.
Implement a review process so intelligence stays current. Gather feedback and iterate quarterly.
Measure impact on key metrics like close rates. showcase wins to expand support and scale the program over time.
The key is starting small, focusing efforts where you can have quick wins, and continuously refining the process as you learn more. CI is a marathon, not a sprint.
Once you have the data (which Tona.so) helps you to get faster and easier you should use it.
An effective competitive enablement program is best when you combine primary and secondary research, delegate it to your team, measure their success and optimize it.
At Grow and Scale, we use a systematic approach to gather, process, and deploy this information with B2B and tech SaaS companies.
Here’s the step-by-step process to kickstart a competitive enablement program that will help you win more deals and inform your product teams about your competitors.
1. Getting Leadership Buy-In
The foundation of any successful CI program is leadership support. If you don’t have a green light from your stakeholders, then you are just wasting your own time:
Here’s how to get it:
Communicate Value: Demonstrate how CI provides a competitive edge and aids decision-making.
Present Potential ROI: Use industry benchmarks or initial research to showcase potential returns. For example, 30% of all deals are competitive deals.
Discuss Strategic Alignment: Ensure the leadership understands how CI aligns with broader business goals.
2. Identifying Your Key Competitors
It’s tempting to monitor everyone, but it’s most effective to focus first on the major players. Starting with one or two is great to get first results in. Pick the ones that are the biggest threat to you.
How to identify the biggest threats?
Review Lost Deals: Understand which competitors are most often chosen over you.
Ask your departments: Sales already know who they lose against. Schedule 1-on-1s with them or conduct a short survey to extract the biggest threats.
Product Overlap: Identify competitors that offer similar solutions to yours.
3. Combine with Internal Data
Your organization is a gold mine of competitor insights. Here’s how to tap into it:
CRM Deep Dive: Scrutinize lost deals, reasons cited for churn, and customer feedback. Notes and recordings are gold nuggets for your enablement program.
Support Tickets: Analyze customer pain points that might link to competitor advantages.
Marketing Insights: Monitor marketing reports for competitor mentions or comparative queries.
4. Monitoring External Data
To get a holistic view, venture outside your organization. tona.so is great for that. Their templates and product solutions will get you the information you need.
Competitor Websites: Track product updates, content strategies, and case studies.
Reviews & Social Media: Understand customer sentiment, pain points, and praises.
News & Announcements: Stay updated with competitor achievements, partnerships, and more.
5. Conducting a Product Teardown
This deep dive analysis aids in understanding your competitor's offerings inside out. Again tona is amazing at it since you can monitor competitor website, however don’t forget to do your own research and get into the product.
Enroll into the free trial, or pay for the first month. Look at onboarding messaging, the flow, and identify strengths and weaknesses.
Feature Comparison: Highlight similarities, unique offerings, and gaps.
UI/UX Analysis: Gauge the ease of use and user experience.
Pricing Models: Compare pricing strategies and value propositions.
6. Developing Your Positioning Statement
After all the data you will have enough materials to craft a concise statement showcasing your strengths. This can also be used in your sales battlecards.
Highlight Differentiators: Emphasize what sets you apart.
Address Pain Points: Show how your solutions resolve specific industry challenges.
Stay Customer-Centric: Always loop back to the value for the customer. What’s in it for them.
7. Crafting Your First Battlecard
A battlecard equips your sales team with on-point competitive info. The biggest mistake companies make is, they want to throw everything into them. At Grow and Scale we always adapt the format of a battlecard to the stack, and habits of sales reps.
If your collateral looks like it’s hard to use, they won’t use it.
Keep it Digestible: Focus on clarity and brevity.
Use Comparisons: Visuals like tables or charts can be more impactful than words.
Highlight Wins: Clearly showcase areas where you outperform competitors.
Knowledge is power, but only if accessible. The best way to tackle accessibility is to create a repository of competitive data that is easy to bring up. Just-in-time information that you can use on the call is mandatory.
The last thing you want is for the sales reps to search for materials and google around your wiki during the call.
How to set it up.
Interactive Training: Conduct sessions or use tools like Loom for tutorials.
Repository Centralization: Use platforms like Highspot or Notion to centralize access. Again, use the platform that your team knows the best.
Ensure Easy Navigation: Categorize by topics, competitors, or products. Some platforms allow immediate call inside team comms software like Slack.
9. Regular Review and Iteration
Stale data is almost worse than no-date. Your prospects are doing their homework and comparing you against your top competitors already. If they notice that you’re working with outdated information, that gives them a signal you’re not up-to-date. That’s a bad look for you and can be a deal-breaker.
Conduct Quarterly Updates: Regularly refresh your intel.
Sales/Team Feedback: Let those on the frontline contribute insights. Having a channel where whole department shares competitive info is a great idea (and it’s fun too)
Track Competitor Changes: Stay updated on product launches, strategies, and more. Social monitoring and alerts are a great way to get the data on a consistent basis
Competitive Newsletters: No-one has the bandwidth to process all the compete data. For this reason, you should send out a weekly or bi-weekly newsletter with bullet points about competitor movements and changes. Keep it concise and always include context.
10. Measure, Showcase, and Scale
Understanding the impact is key. When you reach tangible success (and you will) you’ll get to expand your program and get more resources for it.
That’s why every good competitive enablement program comes with tangible metrics.
Key Metrics: Monitor the effect on close rates, deal sizes, and sales cycles. To do that, introduce mandatory fields in your CRM so you can track the success of competitive intelligence materials.
Celebrate Wins: Sharing success stories can boost morale and get more internal buy-in. Shout it out on team comms or use a space in your competitive newsletter for big wins.
Iterate: Use learnings to refine and expand your CI program.
Starting a Competitive Intelligence program might seem like a daunting task, but by breaking it down, focusing on immediate needs, and celebrating small wins, you’ll be well on your way. Remember, in the realm of CI, persistence, adaptation, and continuous learning are your greatest allies. It’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon that, when done right, can shift the competitive scales in your favor.
If you need help with competitive enablement, let’s get connected on LinkedIn or visit us at growandscale.com.
P.S. Want more practical advice on competition and examples of how brands and companies are defeating their competition? Sign up for my newsletter Show Your Horns.
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Dejan Gajsek is a co-founder of Grow and Scale - a sales and competitive enablement service for B2B tech companies where we research, create and design enablement content that wins more deals.
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