podcast | August 14, 2017
How to Define Who You Compete With, and How to Win
Joining us for today’s show is Mike Dickerson, the Chief Executive Officer for ClickDimensions who knows how to make the number. Today’s topic is focused on demonstrating the corporate strategy’s competitive view. Mike and I leverage SBI’s How to Make Your Number in 2018 to access emerging best practices as a guide for our questions. Review the Competitors phase starting on page 70 of the Corporate Strategy section dedicated to generating revenue growth.
For many companies, the CEO leaves competitive guidance up to a simple report of competitor capabilities developed by an analyst. This represents one of the least defined areas of corporate strategy by CEO’s for their marketing and sales teams. There is a better way to increase your team’s win rate against the competition.
Mike Dickerson, the Chief Executive Officer for ClickDimensions, a SaaS-based marketing automation company with 3,000 customers. Under Mike’s leadership, the company has grown 45% in the last year with revenues of $45M. Mike will demonstrate how to define who you compete with, and how to win.
Why this topic? Share battles often lead to below average revenue growth because the cycle of market share give-and-take rarely results in a permanent share gain for any one competitor. Sustainable revenue growth from share gain comes from changing the product or its delivery enough to create what is effectively a new product. Price wars do not result in share gain driven revenue growth because they can result in a decline in sales and are not repeatable. This is because customers will eventually push back, thus eroding any short-term revenue growth.
Mike is uniquely qualified to speak on this topic as a CEO with a corporate strategy and planning background. He knows the importance of setting the right corporate strategy to enable his functional leaders to be successful.
In the first segment of the program Mike and I discuss his company’s unique competitive advantage. There are three broad types of competitive advantage. The first is a superior product, and that’s clearly the case here with ClickDimensions, who has built their product with an User Interface (UI) that’s differentiated. They have a very clear competitive advantage there.
The second type of differentiation is price. The way that you can compete on price is that you have a lower cost structure than your competitors. As a result of that, you can be more competitive in pricing and offer a better value proposition. Mike describes a very unique go to market model, with a thousand channel partners that allow him to have a lower sales and marketing costs, so he can be more competitive from a pricing perspective, which is a brilliant strategy.
The third type of competitive advantage a CEO can typically choose from is customer experience. A god example we can all relate to is the difference between a Four Seasons Hotel, as opposed to the Hilton. They both sell the same thing for the most part, but the Four Season’s experience is quite a bit different, so they charge quite a bit more, even though it’s the same product. That’s called the customer experience. Listen as Mike describes his customer experience advantage. Here is a starting quote from Mike, and you’ll want to hear the full show to unpack this example and apply it to your company:
Our longer term sustainable advantage is in our distribution system. Sure, we must stay relevant in our product – The product we have today may only be a part of our portfolio tomorrow. The pace of technology changes, certainly in the marketing technology space, and I’m not sure anyone has an exactly perfect view on where that’s going to be. So, we’ll have to react to that. But the long-term thing that I think we can build a business on is the unique distribution model and the support that we provide in that space.
Have expectations gone up and left you wondering if you can make your number? Here is an interactive tool that will help you understand if you have a chance at success. Take the test to rate yourself against SBI’s sales and marketing strategy to find out if:
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