Competitive intelligence scenario 1: pricing and sales positioning
In this blog post we will take a look at one of the more common types of competitive intelligence project: requests for competitor pricing and sales positioning.
Companies, particularly B2B vendors, often want to know what the competitor's products or services cost. In most cases this will include information about all aspects of pricing - individual modules, volume discounts, regional variations. And, since price research is usually part of an effort to beat the competitor in sales situations, it goes hand in hand with research about how the competitor pitches their proposition, including what content goes into a sales proposal.
The kind of questions you might need to answer are listed below (taken from our RFP template).
- What prices does the competitor charge?
- How are products priced e.g. per user or sitewide?
- What additional features and services are available, at what price?
- When do discounts apply?
- What contract details are tied into pricing levels e.g. length of the contract, usage limits
- How is ROI evaluated, by the company or by customers?
- How important is price in winning pitches?
- How does the competitor pitch its products? What is the unique sales proposition? How does the company position itself against competitors?
- Why do customers buy the products? What do customers think about the sales pitch?
- What is the sales process like? How much is virtual vs physical meetings? How are client references and product demos managed?
- Which executives are targeted as buyers or budget owners? Are these the right people?
- Against whom does the competitor lose sales?
- What is the value of a typical deal? How is that negotiated? How does the competitor sell add-on and premium services?
Pricing research is both easy and difficult. On a positive note, you are looking for very concrete data, and when you find it, there should be little doubt about its accuracy. On the other hand, pricing is considered very sensitive, and primary sources will often be reluctant to discuss it. Some pricing data is available through secondary but that will be limited, and will usually need primary validation.