It’s the ultimate prize – you go head-to-head against your biggest competitor in the industry, and your company wins over the customer. Even if it’s a smaller deal without a huge profit margin, the victory is powerful and satisfying simply because you beat out the competition.
But this is easier said than done. Even if you have a comprehensive knowledge of your biggest competitor – secretly watching their webinars, reading their website, following their blog, and doing an extensive competitive analysis – this doesn’t guarantee success with every prospect.
The competition is on your radar because they offer a good product, and ousting an existing solution is very difficult – but not impossible. Here are 6 steps to help you win your next battle against your company’s biggest competitor, so you can come out on top.
1. Connect with a Prospect
To win a customer away from the competition, you may not want to go after the decision-maker right away for the deal. Instead, you should look for someone influential within the company, who could be your sales champion. This person is often in a position that uses the competition’s product frequently or has the most need for a new solution, and is most likely to be frustrated by the day-to-day operations. They’re going to be the most eager for a change within the organization, and they are your target audience. If you can connect with them and turn them into an advocate for your product, you’re on the right track.
2. Find an Opportunity
Once you’ve found your target prospect, get them to confide in you about their current contract or experience with the competition. The first step to winning over prospects who are existing customers of your competitors is finding out when their current contract is up. They’re not going to break a contract that expires 8 months from now, so you need to approach the prospect at just the right moment. You should contact them a few months before the contract is up, and plant the seed of change. If you miss this window and they renew the contract, you’re out of luck for a few more years – so make sure your timing is right.
3. Research the Company
The more you know, the better prepared you will be when you talk to a decision-maker, and push the sale to the next level. So you need to find out as much as you can right now from your champion, and any other sources you can access. How long has this prospect’s company been a customer of the competition? What product are they using? What are the usual challenges caused by this product? What angle can you best show off your product from? This research will be incredibly important when you’re ready to sell your product to someone with authority.
4. Emphasize the Pain Points
Now that you have all the information you need, it’s time to reach out to the decision-maker at the company through your champion. This is all about convincing the prospect that they need a change. If you’re trying to replace an entrenched product, there’s good news – there are probably many problematic pain points on which you can focus. When talking to a prospect that has an existing solution, make sure to talk about problems that you know have come up over the years. Since you understand your competition so well and you’ve done your research, you know that the product is slow, or doesn’t offer the functionality you do, or is significantly more expensive. Make sure to emphasize these annoying pain points in your initial call with the decision-maker.
5. Show Off Your Solution
Now that you’ve got the decision-maker’s attention and interest, it’s time to demo your solution – and you better be prepared to make your product shine. If you get this far with a competitor’s customer, you’re in good shape and can almost taste that new deal. You know that the prospect is probably unhappy with their current product, and interested in a change. The demo is the chance you need to really close the deal. Take what you know of their pain points and show off exactly how your product is able to be faster, easier to use, or less expensive. If you’re able to give a great demo and get the prospect excited, it’s time to push for a contract.
6. Break the Habit
The toughest part of winning a customer from a competitor is overcoming the fear of the unknown. The reason so many customers stick with their current, unsatisfactory vendors is because they’ve invested so much time and money into it already. They know the product, and even if they don’t like it, they don’t want to have to learn something new. You have to convince them that there are many, many benefits to switching to your product and it’s worth the investment in training. If you’re able to overcome that fear, you’ll be celebrating your win in no time.
There’s nothing sweeter than winning a customer away from your biggest competition. These are not the easiest deals to close, but with the right information, an internal sales champion, a great demo and more, you will be the victor in the end.