Competitive Sales Strategy

Competitive Sales Strategy

“Every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought.” – Sun Tzu

The sales DNA of most enterprise software companies (e.g., AWS, Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, VMware, etc.) is hyper competitive. These companies are not interested in peacefully co-existing with the competition. They want to put the competition out of business by being better and faster. They want to create the most value for customers at the best price. Consequently, opposing sellers with strong product, service and solution offerings are losing deals because they are being outsold. The good news is that you CAN control how you sell.

While the how includes sales methodology and process, it also includes competitive readiness and strategy. Competitive sales strategy involves neutralizing the competition’s strengths and exploiting their weaknesses. Sellers need to know how competitors sell (i.e., tactics used) and what they are saying about the company’s product or service. Sellers need a framework to think through these issues and plan for selling against the competition. The below matrix provides a SIMPLE framework for creating differentiation.

Competitive Sales Strategy

EXAMPLE: Microsoft versus VMware in server virtualization.
* Box 1 – Microsoft costs two-thirds less; it has feature parity; it has heterogeneous virtualization capabilities, etc.
* Box 2 – VMware has the majority market share; it is perceived as the market leader; it is highly respected by IT, etc.
* Box 3 – Neither Microsoft nor VMware provide customers straightforward, easy to understand licensing models.
* Box 4 – Both Microsoft and VMware help customers deploy faster, reduce costs, manage easier, etc.

Box 1: What you do uniquely well is your point of differentiation (e.g., heterogeneous virtualization). These are points to drive home with customers. Box 2: Do not be afraid to acknowledge what the competition does uniquely well. Acknowledgement disarms the customer and brings credibility to the relationship. Box 3: Where both companies are weak, make yourself equal and then make yourself different (communicate what is coming and when). Box 4: Where both companies are strong, do not focus on or highlight these areas – focus on how you are different.

All contents copyright © 2012, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.


One Response to Competitive Sales Strategy

  1. David Rohl says:

    This blog contains really good data.


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