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How to Find, Target, and Take Your Competitor’s Customers
Competitive Enablement

How to Find, Target, and Take Your Competitor’s Customers

There are few things sweeter than landing a new customer that jumps over from your competitor.

It’s a double-shote espresso of increased market share for your executive team.

Sales get to celebrate nudging a 50/50 deal over the line.

And marketing are of course excited that they have messaging and social proof ready to share around why buyers love your solution over the alternatives.

The question is, how do you find your competitors’ customers?

What do you need to know about their target audience?

And most importantly, what can you do to make them see the light?

You’re in luck, because this blog will walk through each of these questions so you can find, target, and take your competitor’s customers.

(If you’re a visual learner, tune in to our Compete Week session where Andy McCotter-Bicknell walks through the tactics you can use to steal your competitor’s customers)

Step One: Identify YOUR target audience 

Before we jump into the tactical stuff, you have to start with a solid competitive strategy.

Your competitors likely have a lot of customers spanning different use cases, geos, and size.

If you target them all with a spray and pray approach… you’ll likely fall flat on your face.

Instead, start by identifying the customers you want to acquire, not the competitors.

This should be aligned to your company’s goals, whether it’s moving upmarket or going after a new persona.

Once you nail this down, then focus on two tasks to lay the foundation for a solid rip n’ replace:

1. Conduct Buyer Research.

Interview or survey customers who have switched from competitors, and conduct win-loss interviews with buyers that have recently evaluated you and the competitor. 

Understand their pain points and motivators. If you can get a sample size of 15-20 here, you’ll have trends that you can anchor your competitive displacements around.

2. Create Competitor Customer Personas.

From here, develop a detailed profile of the ideal customers you’re going after, including:

  • Competitor information
  • Persona details (job title, function, interests, buying motivators)
  • Challenges with the competitor, how they measure success, and where they hang out
  • Opportunities and messaging ideas to leverage your strengths over the competitor.

Now it’s time to get into the fun stuff.

Step Two: Craft compelling messaging

When building competitive messaging alongside your go-to-market teams, remember these four principles:

  1. Keep it simple. Clarity trumps cleverness, always.
  2. Speak their language. Use the terminology and phrases your personas resonates with.
  3. Don’t be self-centered. Focus on solving the customer’s problems rather than touting your own product’s features.
  4. Solve, Don’t Sell. Emphasize how your product can make their life easier or better.

(note your messaging should come from your research and competitive positioning.)

Below we’ll share two examples of what competitive messaging can look like in both the sales-led and marketing-led context.

Your rip n’ replace sales email template

Shout-out to Lavender who produce killer sales email templates, we’ve taken inspiration from one of their frameworks. Follow these five pointers to entice your competitor’s customers:

  1. Acknowledge the competitor
  2. Ask if they are happy with it
  3. Compliment them (important to build rapport)
  4. Highlight the competitor’s shortcomings
  5. Open up the dialogue with a question

Here’s what it would look like in action.

AD_4nXdGbbKRpjpZT0kCAlnMKxneEw8RY7S-kKYAUgFKo5qhsk_PRbV0aHyGi0OejitG5CULHwhOk4iF_IjItcvdyZJjqBS7uhzD2o3EVM7fUcCLc-Vidb7kwNMGHEmcOmzZc0qH1ncfM5J2c_1qOw6sFOP_8RKjkeyxCmoEgzq1nWnsAWWuCbbpA “Hi [Name],

Saw you’re using [Competitor] for [Function]. How are you liking it?

I know the product is killer for [Feature]. However, most of their customers switch to us because they need more functionality for [Pain Point].

Could you see [Feature] playing a factor in reducing churn?”

Once you catch a bite of interest, make sure your reps are ready to lay landmines and nail their quick dismiss talk tracks in a call.

Marketing-led Messaging example

There’s a million ways to market yourself against competitors. Whatever format you take on, remember these three things:

  1. Use heavy visuals. You want it to be as clear as possible to contrast you and your competitor’s products.
  2. Keep the customers first. Again, it ain’t about you! Use testimonials to add social proof.
  3. Pass the billboard test. Can your message be understood clearly and quickly on a billboard?

With billboards in mind, I couldn’t help but share one of my favourite competitive marketing examples from Oatly.


Simple, focused on their point of differentiation, and focused on their target audience of… humans. (We appreciate humour here)

Step Three: Choose your competitive strategy

How you approach a rip n’ replace campaign will be based on the channels that work best for you.

Typically, at Klue we see it done in two different ways.

The first is a multi-channel approach. This is where you’re covering top-of-funnel channels like LinkedIn ads, Google ads, and organic posts.

With these assets, you’ll want to direct them to a comparison page or article.

The second approach is a simple sales-led strategy. (We’ve seen these work very successfully at Klue!)

Create a list of the target companies and coordinate with your sales team on the right outreach strategy.

Never built a competitive comparison page before? Tune into ‘Compared to What?’ on The Compete Network and learn how to build a page that’ll sway your competitors’ customers

Step Four: Offer an irresistible incentive

You’ve identified the perrrfect list of competitor customers. 

You’ve hooked them with your compelling messaging.

And then they get cold feet. Why?

Because switching providers can be a pain in the you know what. That’s why you need to address these upfront in order to handle the inevitable objections. 

The three biggest areas your team will need to align on in order to turn interest into an opportunity are:
1. Determine buyout strategy. You can offer free or reduced pricing for a limited period for those locked into a contract with a competitor.

2. Offer training. Provide complimentary training sessions (often a HUGE point of competitive differentiation) to ensure adoption of your product.

3. Migration setup. Offer free migration or implementation if you have a technical product.

Step Five: Test, measure, and evolve

Here’s the truth: your competitors, your buyers’ motivations, and your category are always evolving. Fast.

Your competitor might address a glaring gap with a new release. New entrants might overlap with you unique value wedge. And your buyer’s priorities can change from growth at all costs to capital efficiency.

Test quickly, measure even quickly-er, and be prepared to make tweaks or refine based on what’s working or what’s not.

Don’t let your competitors get too comfortable

We may not like to admit it, but your competitors do have customers that love them.

However, with the right research, strategy, and execution, there are plenty of opportunities to nab some of their customers that you know would be better off with you.

If you’ve made it this far, then you care about building a killer competitive strategy.

Check out our Coffee & Compete newsletter, where we share tactics (just like this article!), breakdown great examples of competitive positioning in the wild, and cover the biggest competitive stories in business.

You can subscribe here.

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