Please, not another competitive comparison grid

Rod Griffith

By Rod Griffith
August 12, 2015

There isn’t a B2B marketer anywhere who hasn’t seen the classic competitive comparison grid chart, and most have probably created a few. 

There are certainly situations where these comparison grids can be useful sales tools—most specifically in these circumstances:

  • Your market has well-known, highly-recognized leaders—Make sure you are able to compare yourself to all the major players. Likewise, never compare yourself to a competitor your customers may not yet be aware of.
  • The critical attributes of your solutions are well-accepted and clearly define the typical decision criteria—The chart has little use if you haven’t defined the most critical decision criteria. For example, there won’t be much impact when the client’s primary decision factor will be price (unless price happens to be very similar across the competitors). 
  • The product or solution is somewhat commoditized—Here, decisions are not highly complex, nor driven primarily by strategic relationships.

But there’s a major flaw with these competitive comparison grids that is often overlooked. And that is: as a B2B company offering complex solutions with long sales cycles, your biggest competitor isn’t another company. Your biggest competitor—to whom you will likely lose the most business this year—is the Decision to Do Nothing.

That’s right—you’re far more likely going to lose business to the decision to do nothing than to any third-party vendors. Studies place the percentage of qualified sales opportunities lost to the decision to do nothing in the 60% range (some as high as 80%).

So the next time you’re thinking about putting together a competitive comparison grid, ask yourself if you’re truly addressing your real competition.

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