You may have better products or services than the competition, you may have better service and support but the battle to win over competitor key accounts is never easy. Your competitor may be well entrenched and have key relationships built up over several years. Frustratingly, even when your competitor messes up you may still not get a chance.
The solution is not a quick fix and it is resource intensive but it can deliver results over the medium to long term. It requires sales working closely with marketing to identify key personnel to target and their needs.
There are two key issues at play. The first is relationships and the second is fear of change. Over time your competitor will have built close personal relationships with key influencers within the organisation. Even if your sales people can make inroads with one or more lower level people within the organisation it is likely the influencer will have an input before orders are switched away from your competitor and that is where any opportunity tends to come to a shuddering halt.
Fear of change is a natural human emotion and it can also have a real impact on overcoming the competition. A change away from something that may be working but is not ideal tends to be avoided because there is an in built perception that change will lead to a negative result.
Establish A Position To Strike When The Opportunity Arises
Unfortunately the solution will not deliver overnight results and it is a long game that can be resource intensive so it is best to make sure it will be worth it. There are two potential opportunities, the first relies on the entrenched competitor getting lazy. The second assumes that the competitor sales people and account managers cannot really get along perfectly with everybody.
Have the competitor sales people really built out their network to cover all the influencers in your target customer or have they left you a way in. If there is a gap to exploit how do you widen that gap to force your way in. The solution is content (information) but it must reach as many members of decision making team and key influencers as possible and (crucially) it must be matched to their needs.
A drip, drip approach is required so that the influencer recognises you are there, you know your business and market and that you are a credible source. Case studies are the holy grail of content but when they are not available any information that addresses your customers’ key questions or needs is helpful.
While it is important to deliver to all key influencers and members of decision making teams the key is to at least ensure you have a list of influencers (the low hanging fruit) you want to reach. Appropriate content is only part of the battle, it is also important that the content is delivered by the method that is most likely to be engaged with by the prospect.
Where do they look for information? Is it the internet? Is it industry publication? Is it white papers or blogs? Is a well-crafted ENewsletter likely to be read? Whatever channel is used content must be delivered via that channel.
The battle to win over competitor key accounts is never easy and there is no quick fix but by delivering valuable and engaging content to the key influencers your competitor has failed to cover you can at least give yourself the best chance over the medium to long term.