How valuable are product feature comparisons?
Product feature comparisons are highly overrated in B2B. They only tell you HOW a competitive product works. They don’t tell you WHY buyers do or don’t prefer it.
Whether verbalized or not, most buyers want an explicit answer to the question, “Why should I buy from you?” Solution providers typically answer with product capabilities but never answer the real question. It can cost you in both the short and long term if your competitive positioning rests entirely on a product narrative.
The question buyers are really asking is, “What’s the benefit of doing business with your company, and why is it more valuable than your competition?” There are three primary variables in the competitive equation. Use all of them and improve your odds of winning the short-term sales battles as well as the longer-term positioning wars.
Attack Your Competitor’s Strengths – They Can’t Deny Them!
This one applies to both marketing and sales. If your competitor is the 800 pound gorilla, acknowledge their success before pointing out WHY their strengths are not conducive to the success of your target customers. Then emphasize WHY your strengths are more conducive to customer success with adequate proof points.
Focus on High-Impact Job Scenarios (Instead of Features) That Align to a Common Value Theme
High-impact scenarios are typically user job tasks that your solutions improve to the point that they deliver strategic benefits to the buyer’s organization. In other words, identify job tasks or customer workflows that are critical to the customer’s strategy and emphasize WHY your approach has more quantifiable benefit. Product features are simply the proof point. The value theme is one or more strategic initiatives of the customer.
Understand Your Competitor’s Market Strategy and Have a Counter-Attack
Anyone who wants to go head-to-head with Starbucks isn’t competing on the coffee. They’re competing with the convenience of Starbucks stores and its massive distribution channel that makes Starbucks easier to get than any other brand of coffee. The point: Have a well-defined market strategy that puts your sales force in a strong position to compete and win every time. Define your pond (target customers) in a way that makes you the big fish, and then focus your marketing and sales positioning accordingly. Expand your pond incrementally over time so you’re always marketing and selling from a position of strength.