Competitive intelligence is usually cited as a primary concern for CEOs, but many companies still struggle with the concept. Often, competitor tracking is difficult because the current method of doing it is decentralized and inefficient. The actual reasons a client relationship is won or lost is not always known. It is usually easier to know why a deal is won as opposed to why it is lost. Even if these won/lost reasons are known by the main point of contact, they typically are not shared with others or referenced for future use. Sales and service personnel may assert that they just don’t have a certain system dedicated to capturing this type of competitor and won/lost analysis. Some may contend that the information is already noted in a separate system and they just do not feel like sharing it again. Others may claim that it just takes too long to notate these reasons.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM can overcome these challenges and enable executive leadership and sales execs to better understand why their customers are buying from their firm or from a rival. As seen in the customized Opportunity sales example below, the sales rep or owner of the Opportunity is able to quickly record multiple reasons from basic options sets on why a deal is won or lost. The user, of course, can always just select one lost reason, too, via the Opportunity Close function from CRM’s built-in ribbon if that is more appropriate and in line with the firm’s current sales process. In both cases of a deal being lost, the sales rep can indicate via a lookup the specific competitor that unfortunately won the business.
Then, in post-deal analysis efforts, sales personnel and management can analyze deal trends and determine who they are losing most of their business to and why. Thus, they can make improvements to their sales presentations, promotional material, and product development plans before it is too late. Making such quick adjustments and being more in tune with the market’s perceived strengths and weaknesses of the product line allows the firm to prevent a sudden loss of market share to a new “market darling” competitor or to an established foe that is misrepresenting its services. For instance, one Bank may realize it has consistently been losing loan business to to another Bank down the road that is offering a lower interest rate. If the Bank investigates this scenario a little further, it may find that the rival Bank does, in fact, offer lower upfront interest rates, but they also come with a higher APR and ongoing fees. In this situation, the Bank could inform its loan applicant prospects on how APR actually works and how it represents the real cost of the debt. By educating its loan prospects, being more transparent, and leveraging the competitor tracking feature in CRM, the Bank should be able to steer the prospect back to their corner to continue and complete the loan underwriting and approval process.
Additionally, the sales force can track reasons why deals are won. Therefore, sales teams can rely on and more effectively articulate proven competitive advantages they may have against other competitors in their industry. Each Competitor profile in CRM can really serve as a mini business intelligence hub, as firm revenues, website, product sets, strengths and weaknesses can all be catalogued. Sales and marketing teams benefit from not having to go to another system to get their actionable intelligence. Plus, this competitive data can be quickly imported into CRM. Furthermore, CRM allows users to query the system for current customers with a relationship with a certain Competitor that is deemed to be the “eight hundred pound gorilla” of its industry. A targeted marketing or calling list can then be devised to help pursue and convert these particular customers.
If you are a growing organization that is interested in collecting, analyzing, and acting upon your competitor, client, prospect, and partner data in a more organized and efficient fashion, please contact [email protected] to see how we can help.