It’s been just over two and a half years since the coronavirus pandemic sent millions of workers home to work. If you are one of those workers, you’ve probably been using video-conferencing software. I can probably guess that the software you have been using is Zoom.
If you are like me and Carmen Alayeto, PandaDoc’s current Lead of Brand Strategy, then you’ve asked the question – what happened to Skype? Skype was the Goliath of Goliaths in the video-conferencing software industry, and Zoom has challenged Skype for leadership in the market.
Zoom discovered people were starting to rely more on cellular devices and developed a robust mobile app with new features, and pushed ahead of Skype. Zoom continues to evolve with the changing needs of consumers, especially with the pandemic, and took a significant share of the market over the last few years.
What do we learn from this? Don’t be afraid to take on the leader in your industry.
PandaDoc’s host of the Customer Engagement Lab, Travis Tyler, came together with PandaDoc’s former Global Manager of Outbound Sales Development, Jed Mahrle, and PandaDoc’s Carmen Alayeto to discuss the best way to research, sell, and advertise against your top (Goliath) competitors.
Let’s review the main points of the podcast.
Competition Analysis & Selling
Let’s start by discussing how to analyze your competition and the competitive landscape.
PandaDoc’s Product Marketing team developed strategies that your organization can use to research and analyze the competitive landscape in your industry effectively. This process has four phases: Discovery, Synthesis, Share, and Act.
Discovery Phase: Survey your sales team and collect data on their views of the current competitive landscape, interview customers, and establish a competitive intelligence benchmark that your company wants to hit.
Synthesis Phase: Use the collected data to map your competitive analysis with the best sources, audiences, and formats. For the Synthesis Phase, PandaDoc tiered competitors based on the data compiled and created tiers 1-5. Tier 1 is the competitors that impact the company the most often, and tier 5 includes the companies that impact PandaDoc the least.
Share Phase: Establish a single source of truth for everything you have created up to this point with the competitive intelligence analysis. PandaDoc uses Coda.io to develop competitive intelligence documentation with a roadmap, communication plan, and feedback loop for all competitive intelligence assets.
Act Phase: Partner with your sales enablement team to develop seller training sessions and onboarding based on sales surveys and feedback.
Using the results of your competition analysis, you can handle sales interactions this way:
- Call out the competitor you know (or probably know) they are using.
- Compliment the competitor (call out something they do well).
- Prospects don’t expect this, and it shows respect and professionalism.
- Ask a spotlight question.
- A spotlight question uncovers a potential weakness. Figure out one thing the competitor doesn’t do well or a feature they don’t have at all and ask the prospect how they are solving that pain point.
Advertising Against Your Competitors
In the podcast, Travis and Carmen discuss two companies that developed an effective video advertising strategy and were in the right place at the right time.
Dollar Shave Club launched a video advertisement on YouTube in 2012 that went viral and contributed to significant success for the company. The video amassed 4 million views in 48 hours and brought in over 12,000 orders. In this case, Dollar Shave Club’s big competitor – the Goliath – was Gillette razors. So, how did Dollar Shave Club compete?
Dollar Shave Club targeted millennials, the largest consumer population in the United States, and came out with a new subscription-based model for a very need-based product and added a convenience factor—the razors shipped monthly to your front door.
Tom’s Shoes also targeted millennials. This was in the later to mid-2000s, and Tom’s Shoes' unique approach was to donate a pair of shoes to a child in need every time someone purchased a pair of shoes. This resonates with millennials, who are more likely to choose a company based on a cause—something I know I can attest to. There’s a large market of people who prefer authenticity over a brand name.
These two examples have three important takeaways:
- Be hyper-focused with your targeting. Don’t try to cast a wide net. Your product isn’t going to resonate with everyone.
- Come out with something new—for example, a subscription-based model like Dollar Shave Club.
- Research your target audience and pivot as needed. For example, if millennials may choose a company based on a cause, then your company may decide to launch campaigns associated with your products.
Recap & What’s Next
Carmen talked about how it may seem daunting when going up against a company with a seemingly larger marketing budget, but it is possible. Dollar Shave Club and Tom’s Shoes are great examples of successfully competing against major competitors.
Ultimately, completing competition analysis is worth the time and effort it will take. You will be better positioned for sales conversations and to discuss the advantages of your product over your competitors.
Next week, we will discuss what your HR team can do to encourage professional development among employees and retain top talent.
Before then, we want to hear from you about what we discussed today!
How does your company complete competition analysis? In what ways do you position your sales teams for success?
Please sign in to leave a comment.