Who's your Primary Competitor, and what's their strategy to beat YOU!
Who’s your primary competitor… Seems like a straightforward question!
I can’t tell you how many blank stares I’ve gotten from sales reps who have no idea who the primary competitor is in their complex sales campaigns.
Somewhere along the line, they were taught to never focus on or mention the competition for fear they might awaken something in their prospect.
In my experience, it’s very unusual to run a Complex Sales Campaign and NOT have a primary competitor.
While you may not be paying much attention to them, I can almost guarantee that if you’re a real threat to win the deal, your competitor is thinking about how to take you out.
And if you’re not laying land mines and traps for them, you’re missing a huge opportunity to compete.
Let me give you a real example
Back when I was running NetApp Canada, NetApp’s primary competitor was EMC.
Both companies hated each other, at least in the press and on quarterly earnings calls.
Back then, EMC had a very disciplined sales organization. Somewhere along the line, the EMC salesforce was trained to acknowledge that NetApp was a good company, but only for small departmental deals. Not a serious player in the data center or enterprise.
They’d say the same thing in every deal
So we got smart and started to lay traps for them.
In our presentations,
- We’d positioned NetApp as a credible player in the enterprise that could solve the real business problems enterprise customers were concerned about.
- We’d include slide after slide of major reference accounts that we’d won by providing meaningful business outcomes.
- We’d use household reference account names that customers recognized.
- We’d also give the prospect a list of reference accounts and encourage them to call.
Not only did we know that EMC was in the deal, but we also knew what they would be saying about us. Good guys but a small player, not enterprise-ready, not a real competitor.
I can’t tell you how often I’d have prospects tell me that EMC did exactly what we said they would do.
Try to dismiss us in the enterprise
And as a result, the prospect got to thinking, if this part of the EMC story wasn’t true, what else wasn’t true?
Mission accomplished! They stepped right on the land mine and blew up part of their campaign.
Very few of us have no competition in our deals and figuring out how to lay traps and land mines should be an integral part of your winning sales strategy.
Not the only part for sure but using every weapon at your disposal is what real competitors do!
So start thinking about your primary competitor and their strategy to beat you!