How To Benchmark Your Product Against Your Business Competition

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Are you about to launch a business or at least considering it? Perhaps you have launched and you didn’t properly anticipate your competition. Either way, you want to go into a business knowing your surroundings and knowing what your competition is doing. By properly benchmarking your product against your business competition you will be able to be better prepared to market and sell to your target customer. In addition, you will be able to handle their potential objections to considering your product as opposed to a more well established competitor.

The first place to begin is to hone in on your ideal target customer and find out where they live online and offline. If you haven’t done this yet refer to my blog post on “How to develop a target customer persona.”

Once you have this down and you know the primary goals and objectives of your target customer it’s time to ask some questions. This questions should be focused on whether the business is business to business or business to consumer.

Questions:

  • Where does my target customer go for information online?
  • Is my target customer on social media?
  • Does my target customer read magazines and industry publications?
  • Does my target customer prefer reading on their phone or on a desktop computer?
  • Does my target customer use apps?
  • Is my target customer technically savvy?
  • Does my target customer buy online?
  • Do they read blogs?

These are just a few example questions but you get the picture. I urge you to expand on these. You should be able to easily answer these. If you can’t you don’t know your target customer or target industry well enough so it’s time to get to know them more intimately. This is an absolute key to the success of your business.

Once you have figured out where your target customers live it’s time to look at all the competition trying to get their attention and what better way to find out than by using our good friend Google.

Start by creating a list of keywords that you believe your target customers would search for in Google.

Example: You are a small business HR software company. Your target is small business owners that have less than 10 employees. Be specific! Some example keywords would include:

  • Small business HR software
  • HR software
  • Human resources software
  • Simple HR software
  • Employee management software

You can expand on this list but put these terms one at a time into Google and see what comes up. See what ads come up and click on them. Yeah you may cost your competition a few dollars but you want to learn all you can! Some of these companies may not be your specific competition, i.e. they may go after a market you don’t go after such as larger small businesses.

 

Small Business pic

 

Now the fun begins. Once you have done several searches with your keywords and have found some very similar companies offering a product similar to yours to a customer similar to your target customer, you need to write down the top 5-10 and start looking deeper.

Deeper research:

  • Subscribe to their newsletters and blogs
  • Check out their social media channels
  • Order something and try to return it
  • Call their customer service line
  • What do they do well/poorly?
  • What can you do to improve?
  • What do you offer that is different?

This may seem ingenuine and unethical but it’s not! Great companies do this all the time. Find out all you can about your competition so you can be prepared.

Once you have done all the research choose who you believe will be the top 3 competitors that will most closely match your offering and services. Put these competitors in your office somewhere on a white board to constantly be reminded to keep an eye on them.

Lastly, you will inevitably run into potential customer that are using your competitions services or are considering them. Combat this by having objections handled even before they ask. Write down the top 10 objections that you may get from your target customers and how you will combat those objections.

Add these objections to the white board underneath your competition. This way you will always see it and ingrain it into your head. This will also help you to innovate and take on these objections one by one.

All of these exercises will take some time. Commit to spending a day or two on these. Get your entire team to help so that they can understand your business competition. Always be overly prepared what the business world will throw at you.

Cort Davies
Cort Davies
Cort believes that startups should get powerful, effective marketing advice along with practical and positive soft skills to give them the best chance to succeed.

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