B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 3 years ago

37: How Well Do You Know Your Competition? w/ Chris Geisert

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

There’s only one letter between losing and closing a deal. It’s also the first letter in competition. And guess what?

You should know your competition.

Assuming your sales team knows your product, your services, and your value, the next step is to equip them with knowledge about their competitors. This enables them to address questions the customer may not even be asking yet, but they’re certainly considering. “Well, the other company does xyz....”

On this episode of the B2B Revenue Acceleration podcast, Chris Geisert delivers powerful tactics on battle cards, when to review your competitors, and when to focus on your own product or service.

Chris is the CMO at Lockpath, where they help customers from SMB to enterprise manage risk (a.k.a., GRC or integrated risk management). Chris’s expertise rests on his 25 years in marketing, in everything from the regional theme park industry, to the agency side to AOL, B2B, and B2C. His breadth of experience has given him a wide-eyed view of marketing and sales, and competitive analysis.

You were listening to be tob revenue acceleration, a podcast dedicated to helping software executives stay on the cutting edge of sales and marketing in their industry. Let's get into the show. Welcome to a TB revenue acceleration. My name is Dan Saybrook and I have the pleasure to welcome here today Chris guys it, who is CMO of Lock Path, Chris hight how are you doing doing well, Daniel, pleasure to be here in good morning, morning, good so the topic for today's episode is getting to know your competition. But before we go into the conversation, Chris, could you please introduce yourself the company and a bit about your role and background a lock path? Yeah, absolutely. As you mentioned, my name is Chris guys or. Good morning everyone. Measure mentioned on the CMO here at Lock Path. We're a software company that helps any size company, really from SMB to enterprise, bring order to the chaos of managing risk. It's been called GARC, or integrated risk management. will take a straightforward approach to help people identify, understand, manage and then...

...report on their risk and then simplify that entire process for our customers. Yes, a little bit about my background. I've been in marketing for more than twenty five years. I started out in the regional theme park industry here in the US and then I was director of brand promotions and sponsorships for America Online back in the the late nine in these in early two thousands, I've been on the agency side, I've been on the corporate side, be to be business to consumer, large corporations and even small startups. So you know, my wife says I just can't hold a job, but you know, I feel like I've gotten good experience on a number of sides of the table and have enjoyed it. So you know, here at Lock Path you asked about our marketing team. We've had a team of nine folks and we're responsible for all legion efforts, content creation, branding efforts. We also support all the other departments for any of our outward facing materials. So you know, the competitive piece that we're going to talk about today really will fit well, whether it's battle cards or research, it's definitely a focus area for us. Absolutely...

...and I think, drawing on that experience that you've had from multiple rows, different sides of the marketing fence, Otus on the agency that side the vend decide whether it's BC bet be. Naturally, that's giving you a lot of exposure into how we can attract customers, how you can influence organization businesses to essentially come closer to to your organization. So I guess, Chris, if we look at that and and know that viewing competitive exclusively as adversaries is kind of short sighted, if you like, and often it can be damaging because a lot of the time competitives could also be partners. But companies obviously need to be prepared to fight their competition and marketing teams play an important role in identifying customers, or competitors, I should say, building strategies to influences and ultimately win them as as business for your organization. If we look at that, what are the aspects that you suggest of your competition that you believe you need to be aware of or monitor or or be able to, I guess, get ahead of the game, will get ahead of the competition. What...

...do you think's really important from that perspective? You know, it's to make a great point in that you can't just look at all of your competition as adversarial. There's always something to learn from from everyone and you know we kind of take a stance that we never mentioned competitors in any of our marketing, but it's always good to learn about what they're saying and know what they're doing. He starts off as basic is. You know, do you understand and do you know their core product offering? You know what are some of their key messages and how does that compare to to our key messages? Who, I think, or who I believe, is their their target? What are some of their strengths and weaknesses? You know that we've heard in the market places we win and lose deals to our competitors. Who's going to happen? You're not going to win every deal that you enter. So what can you take from that prospect of learning? What did you like about our competitor? What did you not like about our competitor? So you know, those are some of the just the high level of basic things that I don't think you want to completely try and build your marketing or your message off of someone else, but it's good to be at least aware of what they're doing. Yeah,...

...that makes sense and I think I guess is well, it depends on the the maturity of the market. If we look at some markets where they're extremely sat rated. Well, perhaps you want to take guidance off the back of what vendors, or, sorry, competitors, may have tried and failed at. Likewise, on if you're completely building market where there are no real competitors and you're probably going to be the one that people are looking at in the future, I guess to do the above. What really what you've just been describing? Their companies will often build battle cards or play books or messaging and or scripts, however, whatever you sort of content you want to utilize to outline the strengths and weaknesses of each competitor also, of course, of each targets owner, each target account. It's grandly as that. But if you look at the competitive sort of landscape for a second, you want to build bat cards to through outline and strengths and weakness of each competitor so that your sales teams, you're marketing teams, you're inside sales, sales development reps, business development reps, can understand and tailor the message when engaging with organizations...

...that may be using a competitor or indeed, of course, to try and influence that key targets owner that you want to engage with. From your perspective, what's importance of being able to build that sort of playbook or battle card and what do you think is really important to cover in that for a for a sales and Marketing Organization to be successful? Yeah, absolutely is. You said, it's a key tool for those sales people out in the field. So first and foremost it's got to be an a usable form out for the sales people, because if they don't use it, doesn't matter how much they to information that I've pulled together. If it's not in a usable format then it's wasted effort. Traditionally, for us that's a clean one page, mostly bullets. High level salespeople are our sales people for a reason. They know they have a short attention span and they like to go, go, go, so you've got to talk to them on their level. You got to keep things in short chunks and small bites and not trying to say they're not intelligent, but we definitely want to feed them the information that they need in...

...a quick format. You know, we'll try and put a table on there that will compare the base features and benefits of ours to our competitors, you know, in an easier read, check checkbox kind of list will give them a short, basic overview of that competitive company and any noted customers that we may know of that they have, maybe some key industries that they target, just in an effort, as I said, to give that sales up the easiest and quickest high level overview of what they're walking into. When do they when they go into pitch a prospect and they know what competitor they're pitching against? And then, obviously something that I think everybody would put on their battle card is that some form of Swat analysis, you know, looking at the streaks and weaknesses of competitors, where we have an opportunity against them and what are the threats where or they may be stronger than us, and then highlight, if we can highlight, what features are, what benefits, and offering things that we offer where we feel like we're superior to our competitors. Make sure that we're seeding that conversation for the sales up so that they go down...

...that path early on. You know, I think they think the danger with a lot of these battle cards is that marketers, you know, we want to give you as much information as we can and we'll give them information overloading and they have so many volumes and spreadsheets of these competitive analysis that it becomes something that's been unusable. So it's really boiling it down to those main points and doing more marketers to and try and communicate the message effectively and doing that for our silver ups because again, at the end of the day, we everybody wants to the sales team to be successful out there. That makes sense and I guess from that perspective as well, again it's it's really important to have lots of information for the sales team to enable them to be as fair, as effective and as efficient as possible when in front of a prospect or engaging with the prospect. I guess from a marketing standpoint, the information is is kind of high level. To your point, I think it's it's information around specific competitors, specific competitive landscapes as well, if you like. But...

...how important do you be believe it is to really oar and then break that down further and say, well, this is a competitive landscape, this is the all are different competitors that we may come up against, but how important do you think it is to take it one step further and then tailor that to the individual prospects of targeting as well. With that can competitive information. So from a masting standpoint, would you take your step further and say, well, this is a competitive infat that we have and this is how we'd oughticulate it to a map to an in your industry achieving schief security officer of someone else with in the business? Yeah, I think it depends on where you're at the sales funnel. You know. I think early on you know if you're an outside team or an inside team that is sourcing leads, I don't think it makes sense to go to that level of detail. But if you're in an RFP or if you've been selected or narrowed down to the final two or three in a buying process, absolutely I think it makes sense to break down and look at those other people that you know, if you can know who you're pitching against, to break down their strengths weaknesses, arm the sales team with who they're going up against, give them maybe a bit more...

...information or a deeper level of information than what you may just put on a standard battle card that is there in a marketing repository for either the inside or outside sales reps to reference. So yeah, I think if you're far enough along in the sales process, it absolutely makes sense to tailor how the two competitors, US and our competitor, compare for that prospect. You know, taking the use case that the prospect has laid out for us, that taking what they want to accomplish as their goal, and knowing what we know about our competitor, how do we tell that story in a way that you know, first and foremost, gives the the prospect the best solution? Because obviously you want a happy customer. You don't need to miss will lead them and end up with a with a bad sale, but show them we're, hopefully you're, stronger than your competitor and where it makes more sense to choose your product persons the competitors. Yeah, that makes sense, I think as well. If you look at the sort of technology landscape, it's always evolving.

So there's you and have every battle card against every single competitor I'm sure you compete against every single day. Simply because the technology world is evolving so quickly. Organizations are coming out with more funding every single day, creating new products every day and creating new markets every day, I guess now, of course it's I think you made the point earlier on in the conversation that, yes, it's important to know about your competition, but at some point you've just got to focus on yourselves as well. That being said, you can't completely lose sight of what others may be doing and and with the pace of of transformation and evolution in the technology world, how often do you think, when you consider that, how often do you think you should be reviewing the battle cards, and perhaps not the individual content within the battle cards, but I guess how often do you think you should be getting a field for the for the for the landscape? Is it a case that staying in your own lane, focusing on yourselves and and others will come and and new? Periodically Review that? Is it a case that every time you come up against another organization in the cell process, you think what actually we need to start building playbooks...

...and messaging and battle cards against that business? Could will probably see them more and more often. What do you think the process should be if, in date, there is one around that? Yeah, and I think you're right. First and foremost, you need to stick to your own knitting. As my grandmother would say, and focus on what you do best and go out and pitch every day in your own lane. As you've got these battle cards, though, I think you can. You're going to have differing levels of competitors. You're going to have, you know, people that you see in most every pitch and you're going to have folks that you see rarely or on occasion. For those big three or four that they're always up against. You know, I think you pull information from every pitch that you're in with them and try and enhance that battle card. You probably set up some kind of Google alert to know what they're doing just so that if there's some new product, new feature, some market move that they're making, you can note it on the battle card. If there are any other news worthy events of mergers, even if it's of those smaller competitors, you can. You can update the battle card then, I think annually. I think you take all the...

...battle cards and you go through them and you double check them and make sure that there's as current as possible. So if you haven't touched one for a year, you may considers this one. We need to keep updated, but I think if you haven't touched it at least annually. You need to go through those but, as you said, in the in the security and the software space, it's rare that we would go along and not touch a battle card of one of our competitors. Yeah, yeah, I think that's a fat point. I mean from all perspective. If there's, I think if we look at a business at from advantage point, particularly doing so much work in the security space, since there's different parts of the software world and different parts of the security world. I think if you look at certain market says a lot of very established organizations. It's can be seen somewhat commodit size and saturated, and in that sense I don't think the competitive landscape is going to change dramatically. If you're in a space like you guys are a lot part I think perhaps that may evolve more and more speed over the coming years, as risk as compliance with different regulations like GDP are coming into force more and...

...more. Of course, that may involve slightly quickly than other markets, like say, an anti virus market for free. Yeah, absolutely, and we see new platforms and new products coming into the space. We see consolidation of players that are in the space. So, yeah, our market is changing, eving and flowing much more quickly than to maybe a consumer package, a good company or something like that. Yeah, yeah, that makes sense, Chris. So that your Internet has been really useful and I think I speak for everyone here, I appreciate that you took the time to speak with us and share your knowledge and it's a very background. I think that's that's the interesting point for me, because you're obviously coming at this from a from a sort of vantage point that you've seen different markets, different organizations, different industries, and that obviously brings a lot of valuable experience to the your current role and as in a software company. For anyone that's listening that would want to get in touch, no more about what we've discussed today, learn more about your company or your road up. What would be the best way for them to get in touch with yeah, yeah, they can always check out lockpath...

...online at lockpathcom. Are you feel free to email me? Just my name, Chris HRIS Dot Geysert, Gei, se are t is and Thomas at lockpathcom. Great, right, Chris. Well again, appreciate your time and and thank you very much. It's been my pleasure great talking to you this morning. Good luck to everybody out there. Marketing is is fun. It's always changing, so I hope everybody has some great success. operatics has redefined the meaning of revenue generation for technology companies worldwide. While the traditional concepts of building and managing inside sales teams inhouse has existed for many years, companies are struggling with a lack of focus, agility and scale required in today's fast and complex world of enterprise technology sales. See How operatics can help your company accelerate pipeline at operatics dotnet. You've been listening to be tob revenue acceleration. To...

...ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time.

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