As a customer success leader, you know just how critical it is to understand your customers: their needs, their challenges, their goals. But are you paying enough attention to another component that could be influencing your customer journey - your competitors?
Understanding the competitive landscape is a crucial equation for the customer success function. This is where competitive intelligence comes into the game. It's a diamond querying the rough terrains of the sales world and illuminating the path to customer satisfaction and revenue growth.
What is Competitive Intelligence?
Competitive intelligence is the practice of gathering and analyzing information about competitors - their strategies, products, and market performances - to make informed strategic decisions. While competitive intelligence is often seen as only a function of sales and marketing, the concept's applicability extends into customer success as well.
The Importance of Competitive Intelligence in Customer Success
Apple's former CEO John Sculley once said, "The better we understand our competitors, the better the competition.” The term “better competition” in the context of customer success translates to a more personalized, proactive, and perfectly positioned customer journey.
- Retention and renewal: In an economy where customer retention is cheaper than acquisition, understanding why customers choose your competitors helps you refine your value proposition and fortify your defenses against potential churn.
- Upselling and cross-selling: By staying abreast of your competitors' product developments and pricing strategies, you can proactively identify and promote your superior features or competitive pricing to upsell or cross-sell to your existing customers.
- Tailored customer success plans: Understanding your competitive standing in the market will help you design unique support, training, and engagements for your customers to improve satisfaction and loyalty.
- Customer feedback and advocacy: Rooted in competitive intelligence, customer success teams can better communicate the differentiation of your product to existing customers, turning them into brand advocates.
Gaining Competitive Intelligence: The How
What should customer success leaders focus on when gathering competitive intelligence? The goal is to understand how your offering compares to competitors in terms of features, services, pricing, and overall customer experience.
- Competitor’s product offering: Dive into your competitor’s feature list, their product's unique selling points, and the overall product experience.
- Customer reviews and ratings: Utilize review platforms, social media comments, and ratings to understand customer grievances, competitor’s strengths, and possible points where your product excels.
- Pricing and packages: Bring clarity to your pricing and packages, compared to your competitors. How does your pricing model stand in the market, and what value do you offer for the price?
- Support and services: Investigate the type of support and services they offer. It can range from simple email support to dedicated managers for each customer.
With evolving technology, the process of competitive analysis doesn't have to be tedious or time-consuming. Advanced AI platforms like Aomni streamline the process of gathering competitive insights. They scan the market, analyze tons of data and pop-up insightful intelligence that fuels decision-making across every aspect of the business, including customer success.
Using Competitive Intelligence: The How
Once you've gathered these insights, the next step is exploiting them to your advantage.
- Train your team: Your customer success team should be well aware of the competitive landscape. Not only should they understand your product's competitive positioning, but they should also be able to communicate this to customers confidently.
- Personalize customer experiences: Use your newfound knowledge to show current customers and prospects how your product's unique capabilities fit into their business landscape better than your competitors.
- Inform product development: Feed the findings from your competitive analysis back to your product development team. It will keep them informed about what the customers are looking at, and they can align it better with the product roadmap.
- Stay proactive: Don’t wait for customers to compare you to competitors. Be open about it and highlight where you shine. Not only does it show that you’re on top of the industry trends, but it also builds trust with your customers.
In this densely crowded business environment, competitive intelligence has become a beacon that navigates the realm of customer success in the right way. With the right tools and resources, customer success teams can leverage competitive intelligence to enhance customer retention, upsell opportunities, and overall satisfaction.
By understanding and reacting to the competitive landscape, customer success leaders can position their companies as the preferred choice for their customers. Your competitor's loss can indeed be your gain in the customer success landscape. Use competitive intelligence as your secret weapon for customer retention, growth, and success.