How to Use the Competition at Every Stage of Your B2B Lead Generation

Selling with a Competitive Edge

There are two types of businesses: one takes competition seriously while the other pretends they are the best. While the latter has the right to exist, the former is more viable and grounded in reality because competition drives the market. B2B lead generation is no exception. If you know your competitors and their methods, strategies, and tactics, you have a competitive advantage.

However,

  • If you think your product/service is so unique that no one can compete with you
  • If you think your business has been so advanced talent-wise and technology-wise
  • If you believe your superficial knowledge about your competition shouldn’t be supplemented with proper competitive research and analysis

You are laboring under a misapprehension of your own uniqueness and advanced position that will eventually bring your own demise.

The realization of his product’s uniqueness never prevented Steve Jobs – the god of intuitive business acumen – from being informed about what is going on in the market and engaging with competitors in rough play. Those who fail to draw inspiration from competition become complacent and lose touch with reality.

What abouty you? Team Competition or Team Complacency? Some companies would want to switch teams but don’t have the resources or knowledge to have competitor analysis and implement new data. Partnering with a B2B lead generation Belkins agency is helpful. Let’s take a look at best practices that will help you build a competitive advantage.

From leads to sales at each stage of the sales funnel

It would be a mistake to think that SDRs should raise the question of competitors when they are facing a prospect and are adamant to close the deal. Like, compare your product to your competitor’s worst attempt and the deal is sealed. Real life is not that simple. 

In fact, the sales process will be significantly more efficient if the knowledge of your competition is incorporated throughout the entire sales cycle rather than just at the closing stage.

From better lead research tactics to more personalized discovery follow-up, knowing your competition will give you an advantage at each stage of the sales funnel.

At the prospecting stage

Before you turn leads to sales, you access databases and begin lead qualification and discovery. Even if you were oblivious to your existing competitors, start talking to the top-of-the-funnel B2B leads and you will know who you should be aware of as clients these days are oftne more knowledgeable than salespeople.

Demand generation. B2B companies use their online content for demand generation (also referred to as lead generation) purposes. Identifying the competition is possible right here right now. In addition to competitors you already know, find out about indirect competition or less obvious competitors. Search on the most common industry keywords and find out major brands. Use keywords ranking and learn how the competitors rank. Use SpyFu, Moz Keyword Explorer, SEMRush, and other tools to explore competitors’ keyword strategy and search volume.  

Lead research. When researching leads, search for competitors for each prospect. For example, when you find out that a lead you are researching has a LinkedIn connection to one of your competitors, dig deeper into how you can use it to your advantage: How your companies are different? What aspects are better in your company and what is better at the competitor’s. That information will help your team tailor the value proposition in the best possible way for the lead.

Lead qualification. The questions leads ask during qualification and discovery will guide SDRs to understanding if they have already explored competitors. If you are well aware of your competitor’s excellence in some aspects and the prospect is asking specifically about those aspects, they are most probably comparing you already. Let them speak and you will learn more about their needs and priorities. At this point, it is ok to drop an unwinnable deal if you clearly see the comparison is not to your advantage. However, in case a good fit is what the prospect is looking for, tell a story about your past client having a problem similar to the prospect’s. The solution you’re suggesting can be unexpected for the prospect, which may eventually win you a deal. Or not. But you can guess it pretty accurately at this point.

At the nurturing stage

Middle-of-the-funnel marketing offers ample opportunities to beat your competitors. From a top-quality email spam checker for higher email deliverability to a well-thought lead nurturing campaign, knowing your competitors’ weak spots will guide your choices and help you win deals.

Follow-up. When SDRs follow-up with a summarizing email, they should detail their understanding of the prospect’s needs and goals and the proposed solution. If the SDR came up earlier with case studies similar to the prospect’s, the follow-up email should elaborate on it, adding details and aspects that the SDR knows the competitors cannot match. When you know exactly which competitors you are fighting against, all your suggestions and evaluations will reflect your competitive advantages.

Objection handling. According to statistics, most buyers do not reach out to a vendor until they examine at least a couple of competitors on the market. If SDRs have little knowledge of how their competitors work, customers will see it immediately, which plays against SDRs. Keep in mind, modern customers aren’t satisfied with the level of the arguments “Our company is the best on the market. Buy from us.” When doing discovery and follow-up, SDRs find out what prospects are looking for in terms of quality, features, pain points, and pricing. If you realize that your solution is not the best for the prospecting client, it is in your interests not to lie and not to push hard, selling by all means. If the prospect wants to buy from the competitor, off they go. But it is up to you to try and sell them your solution if the fit is great.  

At the appointment setting stage

Companies achieve the greatest performance and the highest sales rates where closers get the most qualified appointments. That is why many appointment generators prefer to qualify out a poor fit deal rather than pass it over to closers and waste their time. Use review sites to compare your product and your competitors’. Don’t be afraid to mention your competition. Only the highest quality leads should reach the appointment setting stage.  

At the post-sales stage

It is crucial to have a win-loss analysis monthly or weekly to keep track of all the reasons why deals might be lost or won. Especially if you know that your competitors are doing better than you do in terms of sales rates and revenue, a proper win-loss analysis can shed light on what goes wrong in your deals.

Selling with a Competitive Edge

So, are you Team Competition now? When each team is knowledgeable about the competition and keeps improving their performance, the cumulative effect will be incredible in terms of the while company. In B2B selling, alignment between marketing, lead generation, and sales in your company is a must. The better all parts of your company work, the more competitive you get. If you know how to handle the competition at objection handling and closing stages but have trouble with demand generation and lead nurturing, partner with a professional lead generator.