Who's Your Biggest Competitor?

Updated: Aug 11, 2020


Who is your biggest competitor? The answer may surprise you – very often it’s not a large, brand name vendor. It’s not even another innovative, hungry startup – it’s the status quo.


If you find that customers are opting to stick with their current solution rather than try your innovative new solution, then read on!


There could be several reasons:

  • Your value proposition doesn’t drive key business metrics to a meaningful degree

  • Your value proposition doesn’t rank high enough on the customer’s priority list

  • The perceived risks are greater than the potential benefits.

For many businesses, the effort or risk in changing means that they default to the “good enough” approach where the current way of doing things works and change is not a compelling enough priority.


This often-unstated sentiment can be difficult to diagnose but left unchecked, it can grind your sales efforts to a frustrating halt.


Businesses and people are full of inertia and changing the way they work can be very difficult: people’s jobs may be threatened, they may require training or a different skill set, there may be inherent business process risk with trying something new, or possibly they’ve tried a similar solution in the past and it didn’t work.


Startups developing an enterprise solution in particular need to understand and mitigate the perceived risks to defeat the “status quo”. And the best way to do that is through a series of customer discovery calls to learn and apply – not to sell.

Once understood, perceived risks can be mitigated in several ways:


Business Risk (Will the intended strategic and financial outcomes be realized?)

  • Encourage a trial deployment to validate expected outcomes

  • Reframe generic strategic and economic value of your solution to be specific to your prospect’s personal and company performance metrics

  • Offer a discounted, deferred or performance-based pricing

  • Cite experience with other customers


Implementation Risk (Will the deployment go smoothly?)

  • Engage an established/trusted implementation partner

  • ·Build your own trusted and experienced implementation team

  • Adapt your solution to fit the prospect’s existing business processes and skillsets

  • Stage the rollout

  • Deploy your solution in parallel with the current system or process


Reputational Risk (Will the company’s brand be impacted?)

  • Invest in third party evaluations that attest to your privacy and security capabilities and product efficacy


Personal Risk (Will my career be advanced?)

  • Point to a strong lighthouse reference customer where possible

  • Have an open discussion with your customer to understand their personal motivations and potential benefit of partnering

In all cases, the process starts with a good understanding of the specific customer’s situation and how you will help them overcome the “good enough” trap.


If you find that customers are opting for the status quo rather than adopting your innovative solution, contact us.

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