Written by Daniel Graff-Radford, CEO of Allbound
I love it when my competition gets focused on their negative selling against me. Are you surprised to hear this coming from a CEO of a SaaS company? I can see how this can be alarming, but let me explain why I’ve found that when my competitors negatively sell against me, it works to my advantage. First, it shows that they are worried about my solution, which means we are doing things right. Second, it shows that they spend mental and creative energy on negative selling material, which tells me they are culturally very different from my company. Lastly, I love when they waste resources (sales training and marketing content) on negative selling instead of touting their products or improving their product capabilities.
Having had the good fortune to lead explosive growth in multiple industries, I have seen this occur on three separate occasions. Below is a graph to illustrate how this type of selling coincides with company growth and maturation:
During the early adoption part of the curve, I’ve heard my competitors say things like, “Allbound is an interesting approach,” “they are scrappy,” or “we will see what they become.” Does this scare me? Not the slightest. During this early phase, the competition may lose a deal here or there to us, but don’t feel threatened. The competition feels comfortable and sees the new entrant as smaller, less threatening. Stick to your Marketing and Sales strategy to stay focused on your go-to-market plans, not what the competition says about you. After all, is your competition in your product roadmap and other internal meetings?
If your product starts to enjoy great market fit, you will start to see the steeper growth curve and start to win more deals versus the competition. This will be a test for them as much as it is for you. A competitor that spends resources to explain their relative strengths and shores up their product resources is a worthy adversary. The one that rails against you instead, will soon be surpassed by you. Many times those solutions have legacy issues and for financial or other reasons these competitors are reluctant to shore up their deficiencies. When you combine that with what could be a toxic culture, you will start to see them divert resources from marketing and product improvement to negative selling.
At Allbound we have enjoyed happy customers
and a high win rate versus competitors:
(G2Crowd, June 2020)
As Allbound’s prospect win rate and customer satisfaction scores grew, our competitors’ negative selling increased. Some of my favorite examples are:
- Spending a huge amount on a fake “analyst” grid on our industry without actually including interaction of any other competitors. Imagine if they had spent that same money on customer satisfaction or product improvements.
- Flying in dozens of customers for a customer conference and hosting a session on why they don’t like Allbound. 5 of their customers entered a demo request for Allbound while sitting in on the session. 3 have switched to Allbound. This turned out to be a very expensive event for them.
- Creating talking points for their reps that are negative and inaccurate about Allbound. This is the most common form of negative selling you will encounter. It is also a great opportunity for you to share the cultural differences and product differences. No one knows your product better than you and you can point out how tough it must be to be a sales rep at a company that systemically encourages such negativity. This is a great chance to show off your positive capabilities in the product and culture that will affect interaction pre and post sale.
This is a great chance to point out how much your team cares about culture, communication and have them look you up on Glassdoor and your competitors to see this as an example:
Allbound’s relative strength for partner relationship management is tied to our belief that partner engagement is a key metric for partner revenue success. When companies move from our competitors and see immediate wins, we like to involve Marketing to help with illustrating differences and success metrics in a case study. Please note, we are focused on what our solution does right, not what others do wrong. We want readers to picture themselves enjoying similar success. On top of that, we don’t have access to competitors’ products, roadmap and M&A plans so commenting on that is not only a negative use of resources, but is probably wrong.
Allbound has been awarded multiple leader badges by G2Crowd based on real customer reviews.
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