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  • Writer's pictureNadav Efraty

Chapter 6 - Competition / Alternatives

Understanding the competitive landscape is critical for many reasons:


  1. The seller must be prepared for the specific competition in the opportunity to set the proper traps and avoid competitors’ traps.

  2. The sales deck should include the case studies and positioning messages and slides that are the most effective against the specific competition. 

  3. The decision criteria should be designed to focus on the differentiated benefit that would separate the seller from the competition.

  4. Any demo and the POV should be designed to increase the differentiation from the competition.

  5. Pricing may be affected given the capabilities and pricing profile of the competition.


Those 5 items are also the key to handling the competition – the focus should always be on highlighting the pain behind the pain and the bigger pains and greater implication which correlate to the capabilities that differentiate the sellers from the competition in each deal. Other than those elements – the seller who does a better job in understanding the buyer, uncovering its tactical pains, working with the champion to uncover the strategic alignment and business impact, and generally, does a better job in managing the process and stakeholders greatly improves the chances of winning against any competitor who is not as proficient in guiding and arming its champion. 


While it may be uncomfortable to inquire about the competition, not knowing the answer dramatically reduces the chances of winning. If your champion is not willing to share that information, it greatly increases the chances that there are in fact other competitors, and it is quite likely that they are at a better position than you. Finally, it indicates that the person you thought to be your champion may be a coach or an advocate to some extent, but not your partner and not a champion. 


Finally, it is important to remember that other vendors are likely to have their own champions, which must be uncovered and handled as described above.  

Beyond the competition, there are typically two other forms of alternatives:


  1. In house development – in house development would usually be less sophisticated, less advanced, less integrated, slower to deploy and harder to maintain. When competing against such alternatives, it is critical to differentiate based on the bigger impact that could be achieved as well as the operational cost of the in-house development and its anticipated timeline and maintenance direct and indirect cost.

  2. Do nothing – in the end, the vast majority of deals are not lost to competition, they just don’t happen, despite significant efforts by the champion and the seller. Our job as the seller is to identify those deals as early as possible and not allocate resources that should be allocated in other directions. In the next chapter you will find more about uncovering those deals.

competition

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