An integral part of enabling more sales in a competitive environment is analyzing competitors and other alternatives to the client company's products and services. While some of these are head-on competitors, such as competing against the major incumbent, there are many cases where the customer has a wide range of choices and alternatives, including not purchasing any solution. In addition to gathering information about competitive products such as features, pricing, actual deal scenarios, we use our economic value analysis approach to measure critical areas of value as perceived by the end customer. The result of an engagement with z2m4 for competitive positioning includes the following:
- Practical competitive strategy
- Crisp value communication
- Actionable segmentation
We compare the client company to the full range of customer options and develop the framework for justifying the company's solution on an economic basis using the information gathered in economic value analysis as well as actual customer purchases of competitors when possible. We analyze the client and competitors in terms of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in addition to the value of specific competitive differentiators. Each of the competitive options is measured in terms of cost, financial returns on investment, as well as ways the competitors match the needs of particular use cases and customer situations. Competitive information is used for target market segmentation as well as customer profiles.
We measure the overall market potential using both top-down estimates and bottom up measurements based on actual customer interviews and surveys. The majority of clients come with an initial set of claims about the benefits of their products and services and assumptions about the market trends and customer needs. We validate through interviews, surveys and reviewing actual transactions whether the customer really needs the solution, what the solution is really worth to the customer in financial terms, and whether the company's product meets the customer's expectations about performance, capabilities, and cost efficiencies.
Customer segmentation involves identifying profiles of customers with similar needs and wants, and which are more likely to comprehend the particular value of the client company's offerings. While many companies are able to sell to a variety of customer types, we help client companies identify which customers are easiest to motivate to purchase products and services from the company, which ones are least likely to shop around for competitors, and which ones are the most willing to pay for the value of the company's offering. The result is that qualified prospects come willingly to the company to purchase a solution without unnecessary sales effort, delays and price-cutting. More importantly, the company can develop long-term relationships with customers based on loyalty factors which can be measured and maintained over time.
How the company positions itself will define how the company will focus its energies and resources toward building a sustainable business. Many companies are unable to narrow down their target market and focus without risking business. The goal of the positioning strategy is to identify how the customer will be perceived relative to alternatives and how to attract the best customers for the most profitable and loyal relationships.
It is critical that the company's corporate communications, sales collateral, and sales process all mirror each other and are all directly related to customer interests and needs. Through the competitive analysis and economic value analysis of the customer's offerings, the messaging can be aligned with verifiable and measured results. Beyond basic claims of being better than alternatives, the messages can be used to establish credibility with potential customers and position the company and its products and services well above alternatives. More importantly, the messages which are based on economic value for the customer are critical for identifying and reaching the ideal customers in specific target markets where the company is most likely to succeed in delivering the solutions which satisfy true customer needs.