What are Indirect Competitors?
Any experienced sales professional can quickly identify a direct competitor - an organization that offers products that serve the same customers with similar solutions. However, even savvy B2B sales and marketing teams may not think as much about indirect competitors. These are the competitors that satisfy the same customer needs but with different solutions entirely.
Understanding the indirect competition that influence buyer choice is important for any high-performing sales or marketing organization. These competitors grab market share not by outperforming on features but by reshaping customer perceptions of value, convenience, and service around the same job-to-be-done.
How to Analyze Your Indirect Competitors
Studying indirect competitors yields a treasure trove of insights, including but not limited to:
- Latent customer needs that your direct solutions might not tap into
- Supplementary or complementary product features that can enhance your offering
- Innovative pricing models or service packages that resound with the market's direction
- Customer segments that remain untapped by your current market execution
An Indirect Competition Case Study
A textbook example of indirect competition in action can be seen within the cloud storage services and external hard drive manufacturing markets. Both promise data security and access, yet operate in distinctly different modes. Their rivalry underscores the essence of indirect competition — they attract the same decision-maker, fight for the same organizational budget, and address simliar jobs to be done.
Identification and Response Strategies
Navigating indirect competition demands a two-pronged approach: precise identification and tactical response.
- Market Research: Deep-dive into industry reports, consumer forums, and competitive analyses. Explore who else satisfies the target audience's needs, albeit through different means.
- Customer Outreach: Engage directly with customers to understand what alternate solutions they've considered or are using alongside your product.
- Keyword Analysis: Conduct a thorough exploration of SEO and SEM spaces. Who is competing for the same clicks and customer queries, albeit with a different toolkit?
- Sales Team Insights: Leverage the frontline experiences of the sales team to gain anecdotal evidence of customer choices influenced by indirect competitors.
- Value Proposition Refinement: Sharpen your product's value statements to emphasize unique benefits and superiority amid a broader competitive context.
- Innovative Product Offerings: Introduce new features or services that address the pain points targeted by indirect competitors.
- Strategic Partnerships: Align with potential indirect competitors for co-marketing initiatives or to create comprehensive solution bundles.
- Content Marketing: Disseminate thought leadership content that educates your customer base about the advantages of choosing your solution over the alternatives.
While direct competitors should be constantly scouted, action from indirect competitors don't always require an urgent response. Their threat level could fluctuate based on various market dynamics:
- Customer Acquisition Strategies: When indirect competitors intensify their go-to-market strategies, they can arguably sway customer decisions.
- Market Disruptions: New technologies or industry-wide shifts can grant indirect competitors a sudden edge.
- Changing Buyer Preferences: As priorities change, the weight of indirect competition could either dilute or concentrate.
Leveraging Tools for Competitive Intelligence
Monitoring indirect competitors requires robust competitive intelligence tools. Platforms like Aomni empower teams to not only monitor real-time market shifts but also derive actionable insights, leading to informed strategic planning. Aomni's AI-driven analytics helps comprehensively understand the competitive landscape, enabling sales professionals to fine-tune their approach and fully equip them with actionable insights.