Chelsea Pula is the Senior Manager of Competitive Intelligence at Amex GBT. She joined the show to talk about how she enables her teams to compete in what can only be described as an insanely competitive market.
Categorization helps prioritization
Different verticals, across different regions, all around the world — Amex GBT has competitors everywhere. And unless your compete team has a small standing army, you’ll need to strategize which competitors deserve the biggest share of your attention.
For Chelsea, it all starts with categorization — by size, by location and by competitor unique selling proposition.
“We broke down competitors into categories so that we could start to build sales collateral by category instead of trying to build materials for each and every competitor”
The Amex GBT team also leverages win-loss data to guide prioritization. Competitors the team has a low win rate against, as well as smaller competitors becoming more competitive over time, are almost always prioritized.
Become the customer to learn about the customer
A market as complex as the one Amex GBT operates in can’t be fully grasped overnight. Even so, Chelsea needed to get up to speed right away.
She made it happen by immersing herself in the world of Amex GBT’s ICP — the travel manager. Signing up for trade magazines, going to webinars that targeted her ICP, and reading online publications, all helped her embody the customer.
“I started learning the things I would need to know to become a travel manager. What are the things that they care about?”
Beyond external research, Chelsea took a page out of Tracy Berry’s playbook and interviewed a bunch of internal stakeholders (sales reps, sales engineers, product marketers).
But it’s the approach of putting yourself in the customer’s shoes that she credits as the most useful. And one she continues to this day.
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Build playbooks for different competitor types
It would be impossible to have specific plays against every single competitor. That’s why Amex GBT builds playbooks that address different competitors by the solution they offer.
For instance when a smaller regional player enters a deal, they often look to differentiate through white-glove service. Whereas national and global companies will promote their tech abilities.
“We have playbooks based on what the competitor is offering, what problems they’re solving and the key features.”
With so many potential competitors it’s not always clear which competitors are in the deal. But with a core value story in place and playbooks that can be broadly applied, Chelsea’s team covers a lot of ground.
Ultimately, it’s up to sales reps to dig deep and understand which specific competitors are in the deal. It’s at that point that Chelsea’s competitor-specific enablement machine gets into action.