Numbers You Can Count On Creating Tangible Competitive Advantage for Your Expansion

first_imgOne of the keys to building a successful business is understanding the competition. Who are you bidding on RFPs against? Who are you competing with on that first page of Google results? Exploiting your company’s relative advantages can lead to significant growth opportunities. The issue with competitive positioning is that almost every company thinks that they have the competition nailed. This may be true, but capitalizing on these effectively can be difficult.I recently read Creating Competitive Advantage: Give Customers a Reason to Choose You Over Your Competitors, by Jaynie Smith and William Flanagan. Smith and Flanagan do a great job of laying out what works and what doesn’t when trying to close a deal with customers. For sales representatives, understanding the company’s tangible competitive advantages is key. You can have the most targeted leads in the world, but if you can’t close them, you don’t get new business.So how do you capitalize? A few key ways:Take vague statements and sharpen them.Which of these would convince you to buy a car?“We are one of the industry leaders in terms of overall safety.”Or“We’ve been J.D. Power’s Top Safety Pick for 5 years straight.”Which of these would be more likely to cause you to by a piece of software?“We have a very good reputation in the industry.”Or “50% of new customers are from word-of-mouth and referrals.”The point is, quantifiable statements that elucidate competitive assets tend to go a lot further than the cliché vanilla claims that tend not to have teeth.Establish ROI without focusing too much on priceSmith and Flanagan bring up a simple but compelling point: when you start to compete on price, you are admitting that your offering has become commoditized. In order for sales representatives to close a new customer, they need to focus on what the customer is getting with the product that they would not with another company, beyond a cheaper offering.These include:– Reliability or minimal downtime – Top-notch customer service – Long-term cost savings through the strength of the product – AdaptabilityUnderscoring the benefits of the product in terms of longer-term ROI is essential.Integrate competitive positioning into strategic and operational objectivesCompetitive analysis and positioning is not only a sales and marketing issue, it’s a company issue. This is the core of any business. As the great Jack Welch has said, “If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete.” If you don’t understand why your product or service is better for customers and how to make them aware of that fact, then throw in the towel now.As an associate at a Boston-based venture capital firm, one of the first things I look to understand from companies is what they view to be their relative strengths and weaknesses. For expansion stage companies, understanding competitive advantage is critical.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to PrintPrintShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThislast_img

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