Competing as the Market Leader | Tara Scott, Benevity

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The Sparknotes

✂️ Cut down on competitive chaos

“Not every person in the company needs to keep an eye on competitors. It’s critical for companies and especially market leaders to figure out where and how do they best want to direct [competitive] work. If nobody owns it, then everybody owns it.

Competition will be around whether or not your org has caught up with the times and created a competitive enablement function.

The results? Disparate, unorganized intel that gets shared without context and strikes panic in the heart of your employees. Worse yet, when no one owns the competitive program, other employees may step up to fill the void, but the demands of the role mean that they can’t do an effective job. Leading us right back to no one owning it at all.

That’s why Tara Scott says that not every single employee in the company needs to keep detailed tabs on competitors, even when you’re competing as a market leader.

Instead, that’s Tara’s job to track down the right intel, synthesize the data, and glean the most valuable insights.

That way employees can save the hassle of stressing over competitors and focus their time on what they do best.

Even your most seasoned reps will appreciate the efforts, as Tara shared in an anecdote on the pod:

“One of our sales reps, he’s been here longer than I have…I was catching up with him last week or the week before, and he said, ‘I got to tell you, I went into Klue because I’m in a deal against this one particular competitor. It’s all there! It’s all there! It used to be scattered all over the place, but it’s just right there.'”

Build relationships because you want to, not for what you’ll get out of them

“I got to know [co-workers] because I wanted to get to know them. It also happens to make my job better, but that’s just a nice extra benefit. I truly don’t think you can be successful in competitive if all of your relationship-building is mercenary.”

Competitive enablement experts and product marketers know — and have heard many, many times on this podcast — that building relationships with key stakeholders is essential to the success of your program.

But how? You may ask.

For Tara, it helps to be genuinely curious. Taking genuine joy in taking an interest in her coworker’s lives, their families, their likes and dislikes.

And while building connections like this comes naturally to Tara, the upshot of the tighter bonds is a more trustful and open relationship. With that foundation in place, Tara’s colleagues are more open and willing to share intel and more comfortable sharing the challenges they face on the ground.

Relationship building doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Some will have to work harder than others at it — and that’s okay.

But making the effort to relate and build relationships will pay huge dividends for your program. and the company in general.

Competitors sling the most mud at the market leader

“The blessing and the curse of being the market leader is that everybody knows who you are… There are just preconceived notions about who you are and what you do. And some of those preconceived notions are seeded by competitors.”

It’s never lonely at the top for long. (Just ask Tesla).

When you’re competing as a market leader, you can expect that any and all competitors are going to be coming after you hard.

All that awareness you’ve created to help you become the market leader in a category now can work against you.

Prospects, clients and industry watchers all have heard just enough about you to form preconceived notions. And when those preconceptions go through a long game of telephone, the result is all kinds of half-truths about your company.

Making matters more difficult, it takes a serious amount of tact and a deft touch to dispel myths and correct misconceptions. You’re just as likely to come across as evasive or defensive in the process as you are coming out looking good on the other end.

Unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet to solving this issue when competing as a market leader. But you can overcome certain claims and objections with the right approach.

klue.com | thecompetenetwork.com