How Competitive Intelligence improves the quality of sales calls
Here we discuss how Competitive Intelligence improves the quality of sales calls. Competitive Intelligence is so much more than a list of the Strengths and Weaknesses of your main competitors. It can help increase your bottom line in so many ways, including improving your sales ratios.

Not a great start to the sales process
We have all heard it many times. And we never fail to be disappointed. When you come across a salesperson who calls with an exciting product or service. And pretty soon, it becomes clear they don’t have a clue who you are or even what you do.

You appear to be the next one off the list of enquiries. They have not bothered to even look at your website. They often make things worse by transparently lying as they go by digging a hole for themselves.

“Yes, I have looked at your website but tell me what you do again?”

Prior preparation, planning and Competitive Intelligence prevents a pretty poor performance
Any business developer needs to know whom they are calling. A caller not doing even precursory pre-call research is unacceptable. Doing ten demonstrations a day without any preparation shows. Often resulting in a tone of bored indifference. And it’s not the best endorsement for your “AI-driven machine learning Fintech whizzy thingy” platform.

Competitive Intelligence is excellent for pre-call planning. And it may help you stand out because many of your competitors are just going through the motions. Sticking to that tried and tested script or call list. They have forgotten that the first call is where you make your first impression.

What is Competitive Intelligence?
Competitive intelligence is the finding, sorting and critical analysis of information. To make sense of what’s happening and why. Predict what’s going to happen and give the options to help you control the outcome. Competitive intelligence offers certainty, competitive advantage, insight, growth & security.

It’s not all about Competitive Intelligence
Of course, a pre-call or demo presentation is not all about Competitive Intelligence. Your immediate primary focus must be on your prospect. Understanding their goals and where their potential pain points are. And who makes the buying decisions, their track record, culture, and position in the market.

Without any competitive insight, you are simply wasting time, resources and opportunity.

Demonstrating knowledge of your prospect’s business is a simple but effective way to build trust.

As a business developer making discovery/demonstration calls, you must know your competitors. And your market, whom you are talking to and align it to your value proposition.

You build trust quickly
The competition may well be calling them too. So you need to know who the direct competition is. What are their product, price points, and pitch, and how does it compare with your proposition? Are you armed with key statements that could blow your competitors claims out of the water? And without having even mentioning them directly?

Your prospects could be your competitors’ customers. They may be delighted with them. More likely, if they are talking to you, they need something more from them. Something they may not be able to provide. They could also be former customers of your competitors. So they will know your competitors and, as such, will readily see that you do not know.

Know why you are better than your competitors
Provide the answers better than your competitors. And as competitors change their pitch, you must keep your insight up to date, especially in these changing and challenging times.

If they ask you to supply a quotation likely, they may also ask your competitor. So your value proposition has to stand out in its advantage compared to the competition. This can only be done if you are aware of the differences.

Come across as composed, prepared and aware with a differentiated value proposition aligned to the prospect’s need.

If a prospect tells you that they have used one of your competitors for years, the next question could be your last. or it could be the next step to a sale.

Prepared answers to these questions can only be mastered if you know your competitor. This can only be accomplished with accurate, current and definitive Competitive Intelligence.

Take a look at your competitor’s fundamental weaknesses. Understand how they communicate their offering to their customers. If you do this, you will quickly get to relate your advantage to your prospects. And you must also understand it too.

Put thoughts into their mind
For each competitor, devise a set of trigger questions for your prospect to spring. For example, when a prospect says:

“We use ‘Abc’ and they are doing well for us.”

Your answers could be:

“Excellent good to hear and you are not finding their delivery timescales a problem?”

or

“Excellent and you don’t find the UX to be sluggish in the xyz process?”

You can’t ask meaningful questions without knowing your prospects and your competitors’ weaknesses.

Doughnuts
Some of our competitors confuse Competitive Intelligence with market research. Offering a quick Google search, SWOT and a few doughnut graphs. The only decent doughnut is covered in sugar, has a hole in it and is eaten by the seaside with donkeys.

With applied and current competitive understanding, you may likely already know the issues. So, you will have a prepared response and be better placed to enhance your value proposition. Whilst mitigating the risk from the competitors.

The eyes of the competitor
Effective Competitive Intelligence allows you to see for yourself through the eyes of the competitor. What issues and obstacles are there? And what are they likely to consider as strengths and weaknesses of what you do?

Clearly, there’s so much more to a pre-call, a discovery call or demonstration than just competitive analytical issues. Still, by being armed with an understanding of both your prospects requirements and general environment along with a real-time understanding of the competitors involved (actually or potentially), you are far better placed on building a valid relationship, respect and confidence.

Finally, how Competitive Intelligence improves the quality of sales calls
We discussed how Competitive Intelligence improves the quality of sales calls. Hopefully reading this and other articles you can see how Competitive Intelligence is so much more than a list of the Strengths and Weaknesses of your main competitors. Remember, you are not trading in a vacuum. You are competing with something at all times, so going into a sales call without the support of competitive insight is dangerous. You risk not only losing the sale but, in time, losing the overall market. And You could be just fine, or you could be rapidly contributing to the far more significant risk. By failing to future proof your place in the marketplace.

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