In SaaS sales, you're typically competing against another SaaS solution or a traditional software solution. In either case, knowing your competitors inside and out will set you apart from alternatives. This post explores some common traps SaaS companies fall into, and how to avoid falling behind your competition. These days, you may have 40 competitors in a hot space, your whole team needs to be involved in identifying and learning about them.
One of the most common problems SaaS sales organizations have often goes undiagnosed - they don't know their competitors. Sure, they can list of a couple that they compete with, but how well do you really know them? Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- How does your team share competitive information?
- Is that shared information memorialized anywhere, or is it a loose slack channel?
- For each competitor, does every seller know your strengths and weaknesses against them?
- How long does it take to learn about new competitive features in the market?
- Does your messaging directly draw focus to your competitive strengths?
- Do you have messaging to re-direct from your competitive weaknesses?
This matters because buying SaaS solutions inevitably comes with comparisons between solutions, and you need to be in your prospect's brain. You can fail if you're reactive, or you can be proactive to beat your competition intentionally.
What We've Learned
Not knowing your competition can leave you defenseless in a selling situation. Sales Result often enters a sales consulting engagement to help a sales team start winning again, and the problem is often that one competitor stepped up their game and started playing to win. Sometimes the competitor is winning because of a new product, maybe they upped their marketing and sales game, and sometimes it's a good old-fashion smear campaign.
If you're seeing your sales slow, or your win rates go down, a good place to look is at your competition. Is your sales team asking who the prospect went with when they lose deals? Hopefully this can give you some initial information into where your'e losing, and hopefully why you're losing in the market.
As you're going through this exercise, it's a good time to look at what competitive information your sales team has and is using to keep up-to-date on your competition. Teams that keep competitive information in a centralized place, share regularly, and keep it updated are much faster to respond when they start losing deals. It's so important to understand what your competitors are doing, what they're trying, and where they're winning and losing.
But I don't care about my competitors - If I'm good enough, I don't need to pay attention to them. When I hear this, I shake my head a little bit. You learn from other departments in your organization, you read blogs like this one looking for ideas, but another organization trying to do exactly what you're doing isn't a good place to learn something? Get real.
Knowing your competition isn't just important for the veterans on your team, it's just as important for new hires. If any seller doesn't know their competitors, and what to watch out for, they can fall right into a competitive trap wasting their time and losing the deal.
The solution for beating competitors in SaaS is a living sales playbook with a robust competitive section. For each competitor, the best practice is to have a repository with their products, tactics, what they do well, what they do poorly, examples of their presentations and price quotes if you can get them. All of this information is going digital today, updated often, and reviewed so the entire team stays up to date. If you need to incorporate it into your sales meetings, do it.
This competitive section then influences the rest of the sales playbook. As you understand your competitors better, the playbook should reflect the questions and messages that highlight your strengths over these competitors. One of the most impactful ways to beat a competitor is to arm the prospect with the right information to ask the competitor questions they won't be able to answer effectively, we call these competitive landmines.
Finally, the bullet points!
- Learn from your competitors - good and bad
- Share this information regularly
- Organize this information for the whole team to use
- Don't just know the information, use it in how you sell
- Have slightly different questions and pitches based on the competitor
If you need a refreshed focus on your competition and the messages that help you win in competitive situations, reach out to Sales Result today and lets build your new foundation together.