A large number of the deals in your pipeline are almost guaranteed to involve your competition. You may even be asking yourself whether or not to proactively bring them up yourself. We’ve analyzed over 500,000 B2B sales calls to see what we could learn about when and how competitors are discussed.
Note: Generally we don’t believe in cookie-cutter truisms. Every customer has a unique sales profile, which is why we’ve built a framework to automatically generate reports and insights for each of our customers separately. The findings below were chosen as they are quite robust across dozens of customers.
1. Finding: Deals in which competition is mentioned are more likely to close.
Rationale: Your real enemy is not the competition, it’s “No decision”. Competition coming up suggests the prospect has researched the landscape and is further along the buyer’s journey.
Action: If competitors haven’t been mentioned by the prospect early on, ask what other solutions they’ve looked into. If they don’t know any other competitors, take the time to dig into your qualification criteria like Pain / Need, Timing or a compelling event, and if they have allocated Budget.
2. Finding: The data suggests that deals where the rep mentions the competition first are less likely to close than those where the prospect does. This goes against some people’s belief that reps should educate buyers on their market, including competitors as it builds trust and demonstrates expertise.
Rationale: A rep mentioning a competitor by name may get the prospect talking to someone they otherwise wouldn’t have.
Action: Don’t bring up your competitors by name. Demonstrate your expertise and build trust by asking great questions and showing you understand their priorities and challenges. If a prospect brings up a competitor, take it as a great sign and use the opportunity to collect information. “What do you like most about their solution?”
3. Finding: Competitors tend to be mentioned in earlier stages of a deal cycle, in the first 10 minutes of a conversations and towards the end (see peaks at 30 minutes and 45 minutes)
Rationale: Competitors come up early in the sales cycle and early in conversations. “Yes, we’re looking for a solution in your space and have started looking at Competitor 1 and Competitor 2” or reps proactively asking “How have your conversations with Competitor X been going?”
Action: If you know a deal is competitive, don’t be shy to ask how their evaluation of the competition is going early on and if they have any questions about differences in the two products. This gives you the chance to use the meeting to correct misinformation or highlight features that differentiate you.
4. Finding: The greater the number of competitive mentions, the lower the likelihood of winning.
Action: Handle competitive objections thoughtfully, but don’t allow the competition to become the focus of the conversation.
5. Finding: There is a wide difference in win rate by rep in competitive deals.
Rationale: Some reps do a better messaging the solution, laying mines for the competition and handling objections than others.
Action: If you don't do as well as you'd like in competitive deals, ask your Product Marketing or Enablement team to dig into what Top Performers do in competitive deals so you can replicate their strategies.