Ideas and insights > 4 creative and strategic ways to approach B2B competitive analysis.

4 creative and strategic ways to approach B2B competitive analysis.

Our thought leader:

Martha Marchesi
Martha Marchesi

Published on:


“Keep an eye on your competition” is Business 101 for any company. But it’s especially critical in today’s hypercompetitive B2B market, where sales growth has slowedsales cycles have lengthened, and traditionally risk-averse buyers are spending even more time researching purchase decisions.

Knowing your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses can help you highlight what makes you the better choice for prospective customers. But to gain truly valuable insights about your rivals, you need to dig deeper than product comparisons, sales data, and market share.

Here are four creative and strategic ways to perform a comprehensive competitive analysis that will shed light on how to differentiate your company—and get an edge on your competition.

1. Study their storytelling

In the B2B space, there’s a tendency to rely on descriptions of product features and functions, rather than the value your company delivers. But emotion actually plays a significant role in B2B buying decisions. So having a strong, emotionally driven story can set you apart and help you connect with customers.

Analyze your competitors’ content on their websites, social media, blogs, and other materials. What topics do they focus on? What tone and language do they use? What is compelling and distinctive, and what falls flat?

Look for the emotional drivers other companies are leveraging in their messaging. What feelings are they tapping into? Understanding this can help you find the right notes to hit in your own communications to forge deeper emotional bonds.

The takeaway: Craft a unique brand narrative.

Many B2B brands lead with the “what” and spend too little time explaining “why” customers should choose them. This is a great opportunity to use the competitive insights you’ve gained to showcase your unique value—in a brand story and messaging framework that addresses your target audience’s needs and appeals to their emotions. And don’t overlook the power of personality. Define your brand’s unique voice and infuse it throughout your messaging to make it more relatable and engaging.

2. Examine their experience

There’s more to gaining a competitive advantage than offering lower prices or higher-quality products. Customer experience (CX) is often overlooked in the B2B world—but it can be the make-or-break factor in B2B buying decisions. By supplying superior CX, you can surpass other companies in your space.

Examine competitors’ websites for customer service policies and support features. Monitor their social media to see how they engage with customers. Look for common themes in their customer reviews. What are they doing to delight buyers—and how are they letting them down?

It’s likely your customers considered other companies before picking yours. Survey them to learn where rivals lost points, and why.

It’s not just the customer experience that matters. There’s a direct correlation between satisfied employees and satisfied customers. So look at sites like Glassdoor and Indeed to see what people are saying about your competitors’ work culture, employee engagement efforts, and more. How does your workplace stack up, and where can you be better?

The takeaway: Deliver the right experience where your competitors are getting it wrong.

B2B buying relies heavily on trusted, long-term partnerships with multiple decision-makers all looking for vendors who show they understand and value them. Pinpoint your rivals’ CX failings, and work on making them your strengths.

3. Unlock untapped markets

Identifying and targeting underserved customer segments can help you compete more effectively with other companies in your space.

Take a deep dive into your competitors’ offerings to identify potential customers they’re not serving. For example, if their solutions are mainly designed for large enterprises, they may be too complex or expensive for small businesses. This reveals an opportunity to tailor your offerings—and messaging—to this neglected segment.

Online review sites and social media can provide insights into which types of customers feel that their needs aren’t being fully met by your competitors—and how your company can satisfy them.

Look to your own customers for new opportunities too! Use surveys to understand their challenges and preferences, and tap your customer service team for feedback and inquiries. Look for signs of dissatisfaction and requests for additional solutions.

The takeaway: Fill the niches your competitors are neglecting.

Consider customizing offerings to address the unmet needs of the underserved segments you’ve uncovered. Create targeted marketing campaigns that speak to their pain points and the benefits of your solution. And be prepared to measure your success and adapt your strategies as your market evolves.

4. See where you can shine

Being a thought leader isn’t about having the loudest voice—it’s about being the most trusted one. Monitor your competitors’ industry influence to find the areas where you can establish yourself as an expert in your field.

Review competitors’ white papers, blogs, and other materials to identify their strengths—and what they’re missing. Follow their social media, paying attention to what they’re covering, the quality of their content, and their engagement with followers. Participate in the webinars and events they host, taking notes on the topics discussed and questions asked.

The takeaway: Zero in on the places where your expertise can steal the show.

Knowing where your competitors are focusing their thought leadership will show where you can fill in the gaps with your own. Then, ask subject matter experts in your company to help create content on the topics you’ve identified—or consider conducting original research.

By leaning into areas your competitors are missing, you can position your business as an industry authority—and a knowledgeable partner your customers can rely on.

Remember: Keep a constant pulse on the competition. Whatever approach you take, vigilance is key. As market conditions and customer preferences change, keep an eye on your known adversaries—and an eye out for up-and-comers. That will enable you to quickly adapt your marketing strategy and messaging to stay relevant and stand out.

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