Competitive Enablement Maturity Model:
A Roadmap to Accelerate your Competitive Program
As a former salesperson, there’s really nothing more anxiety-inducing than when a buyer asks you a question that you don’t have an answer to.
Even if you’re not a salesperson, you know that feeling — being asked a question that jolts you out of auto-pilot and makes you reach deep into the recesses of your brain for the correct answer.
It’s a moment of sheer panic.
And while a salesperson can study all the ins and outs of their market, their buyer, their solution… it’s virtually impossible to know all those same details about every single competitor.
As Product Marketers, one of the many objectives of our Competitive Enablement efforts is to reduce that anxiety. We enable sellers to navigate competitive conversations with ease and confidence.
This maximizes their competitive win-rates, and demonstrates a real revenue impact of your hard work. Win-Win.
Now, what if you could take all those anxious moments across all of your sellers, across all of their sales cycles, and measure it?
That’s what Competitive Confidence is all about. And the way to measure that is through a Competitive Confidence Survey. Here are 3 reasons why sending a Competitive Confidence Survey was one of the very first things I did as part of our own Competitive Enablement program at Klue.
I get it. Your competitive landscape seems infinite.
Sales reps request info on the most obscure competitors, and meanwhile, you’re struggling to keep your existing content up-to-date. Unless you’re like me and your functional focus on the PMM team is CE, then you likely have a fraction of your day (or week) to devote to compete.
This is why a Confidence Survey is so critical to execute ASAP — you don’t have time to treat every competitor equally. The survey will help you prioritize which competitors are the biggest threats to your sales team, and therefore, where you should focus first.
But I already know who our biggest competitors are!
Wrong. Well… sort of. What’s wrong is assuming that your biggest competitor is the one that needs immediate attention. We thought so too. And you might be right. But consider that your biggest competitor is also likely the competitor that your sales reps are most prepared to encounter.
They see them all the time.
They’ve lost and won deals against them.
They might actually feel quite confident up against them.
The Confidence Survey allows you to dig to find the competitors that sellers feel least prepared against.
Of course, quantitative metrics are king. When measuring your competitive threats, the ideal scenario is that you know exactly how often each competitor appears in a deal, exactly how often you’re losing to competitors, and so on.
The challenge is that this relies on impeccable CRM data. And even if you have perfect CRM data, the reality is that buyers don’t always tell you when they’re evaluating a competitor – and they certainly don’t always tell you when they move forward with a competitor.
Competitive Confidence provides a Competitive Enablement metric that you can measure now, and then continue to measure as you build out your Competitive Enablement Program. Then, you can come back and show the impact that you’ve had in 6 months, or in 1 year.
Some tactical examples of this could include:
Measuring confidence over time will provide a leading indicator of revenue and competitive win rate.
The cherry on top is that once you have more accurate CRM data, you can validate your impact across qualitative and quantitative metrics to reinforce your impact even further.
One of the most common challenges we hear from PMMs with regards to their Competitive Enablement program is that sellers aren’t engaged. Either their sellers aren’t contributing the valuable competitive intel that they are hearing in the field, or that sellers aren’t using their competitive insights and content whatsoever.
h/t Greg Belkin @ Jitterbit for the meme inspiration
Delivering a survey communicates a strong message to your sales team that Competitive Enablement is going to be one of your priorities. It extends a hand to the sales team to show that you care, and that you are listening to their concerns – that your vision of Competitive Enablement isn’t going to be an automated email newsletter that they won’t read.
Hopefully, the Competitive Confidence Survey will mark the beginning of a new era in your relationship with the sales team. A new era where Product Marketing is a strategic partner to sales, helping them out-maneuver competitors, and win more business.
Those anxious moments in the sales cycle? They are truly significant. Those moments can completely change the direction of a deal in you or your competitor’s favour. And when a sales team feels ill-equipped, it impacts their performance but perhaps more importantly, their morale. Conversely, when a sales team feels confident, they are humming — confident sales teams operate at an optimal level and create a positive feedback loop where winning begets more winning.
Competitive Confidence is an underrated metric that you can leverage today to showcase the impact you’re having. In my opinion, Product Marketers are too used to being the unsung heroes of the organization.
As Competitive Enablement practitioners, we are in a unique position to help the sales team in those critical moments. It’s time we start seizing that opportunity
It’s time we started showing off — confidently.
Competitive Intelligence falls short in delivering actionable insights to the organization. Competitive Enablement fills that gap.Ben Ronald
DoubleCheck Research CEO and Win-Loss expert Ryan Sorely breaks down how to nail your next win-loss interview and make your program a success.Ryan Sorley
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