Join Us for Post Dreamforce “Win more Competitive Deals” Webinar & GoPro Drawing

Join the Compelligence team to discuss the top questions received at Dreamforce 2017 and to review the top trends for 2018.

Finally, for those of you got your badge scanned, we will be drawing the Go Pro 5 during our talk!

Please join us one week from today:
Monday, Nov. 20
9:00AM Pacific/Noon Eastern

Click here to go to the Webinar overview page and download the calendar event

1. Ed Allison, Founder
2. Dan Bruckner, Partner
3. Nicholas Ong, Analyst

1. Top questions at Dreamforce on how to Win More Competitive Deals in 2018.
2. Win/Loss Processes to improve your learnings
3. Drawing for Go Pro!

We look forward to seeing you next week!

Thank you for your time,
All of us here at Compelligence


Copyright © 2017 Compelligence, LLC, All rights reserved.

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Visit Compelligence at Dreamforce Booth 1913

Join Compelligence at Dreamforce 2017 and learn how to win more competitive deals and increase revenue with a Salesforce / CI System!


  • Booth 1913 in the Deamforce Expo center

What can you expect to discover?

How to win more competitive deals faster, with less cost, and increase revenue via intelligent sales battle cards, win-loss analysis, and competitor-monitoring systems all delivered via an integrated platform.  You will get live demos of how expert systems can deliver account-specific information that helps sales teams know how to win and learn from competitive engagements.

Presentation Details

  • Date:  Nov. 8th
  • Time: 11:30 AM
  • Location:  Expo Center, Partner Theater 3


Let Sales Teams be the Red Bull to your Competitive Intelligence Teams

You’ve likely heard the slogan “Red Bull gives you wings.” The suggestion is that when a person drinks Red Bull, they are instantly energized to do things they could not do in a non-Red-Bull induced state. Well, the same concept is true with competitive intelligence (CI) teams and sales teams in a company. It’s easy to see how salespeople can benefit from having useful competitive intelligence. What is not commonly recognized, though, is that CI teams are also more effective when they are closely allied with their sales teams. For instance, salespeople can collect intelligence about the competition’s positioning, selling strategies, product specifics, and selling strategies.  They also are well aware of how effective the competitor’s sales tactics are relative to their own strategies. This information is extremely valuable to a well-tuned CI organization and can help that CI organization provide analysis and insight on how to improve a company’s revenues.

Sales Teams are Key to Competitive Intelligence Collection

Successful organizations make information gathering as much a part of their sales process as they do the actual sales activities. During our webinar on April 22, Ellen Naylor noted that salespeople come into contact with a wealth of information such as new products to be introduced and new competitors coming into the market. Last year Joël Le Bon wrote that “The sales force has abundant information about the initiatives and products that your competitors are planning and, therefore, the kinds of choices that your customers will be facing in the near future.” This makes sense. Sales professionals are on the front lines, so to speak, when they meet with customers, visit suppliers and manufacturers, attend conferences, and work at trade shows booths. In each case, valuable information can be gleaned about a competitor’s sales tactics, product lines, model specifications, and market trends. Salespeople are sometimes the first to hear about new technologies that competing companies are developing or are about to offer, and sales representatives can learn about service contracts their competitors are providing

Collection Sources and Methods

So, what can salespeople do to collect competitor information? The easy answer is to keep their eyes and ears open. When meeting with customers, sales representatives should listen intently about what other companies are pitching; ask the customers about the products and service plans they’ve been offered by the competition, and learn as much as possible about the customer’s needs. At trade shows, sales representatives should visit competitors’ booths and pick-up literature. They can also participate in conversations about the industry and listen to what is being said about companies, products, and new trends. When manning their own booths, reps can elicit information from visitors about competitor’s products. And when they talk with suppliers, vendors and other intermediaries, sales reps can ask about a competitor’s future rollouts, product specifications, models prices, services options, and customer demand for competitor’s products.

Getting Intelligence Back to the CI team is Critical

When reps return to their companies, they need to have an easy way to convey what they learned to the people who can analyze, assimilate, and distribute it. One way to do this is to have a designated point of contact within the CI to communicate their findings. Some companies may develop a specific type of debrief or report format that helps sales reps distribute raw information, and helps the CI department and other organizations within the company use it. An even better way to do this is to use a collection system that can keep track of those designated analysts and which can automatically route intelligence to them.

CI educates the sales teams on intelligence requirements and value

Although sales professionals are indeed those people who make the first contact with sources of information that can be useful for strategic purposes, they may not be aware of the importance of that information. When this happens, they may neglect to collect it. Ellen Naylor noted that sales professionals are high-impact people that have strong customer orientation and who are always questioning the benefit of activities they participate in. A CI department that proactively educates sales personnel on the importance of collecting and reporting information will be much more successful. CI professionals can educate the sales field about the types of competitive intelligence that they are likely to encounter and instill a resolve to collect it. It is also important to provide the sales force with feedback on how specific information was used, what decisions were made from it, and what strategies resulted from the collection effort. This feedback helps the sales force better understand their role and contribution to the overall strategic health of the company, and it will motivate sales reps to collect and report more. As I noted earlier, a process that makes it easy for sales teams to report intelligence after customer visits will help elicit information from sales.

CI-Sales Give and Take

It is this give-and-take relationship between CI and sales that allows a company to increase their competitive effectiveness: CI teams provide competitive guidance to sales, sales teams can collect new information and report it back to CI teams, and the CI teams, in turn, analyze, process, and update the material they provide back to sales. It is critical that the CI team demonstrates that obligation to the sales teams, and that the sales teams reciprocate by providing feedback.   And it also helps if your CI teams are well-stocked with Red Bull.

Webinar Playback and Content

On April 22nd, 2014 we presented a  webinar with Ellen Naylor from The Business Intelligence Source and Dean Davison from Forrester Research.  The topics covered included techniques for collecting competitive intelligence from sales teams, methods for communicating competitive guidance to sales, and ideas on how sales teams can better sell to customers.

Webinar: From Competitive Intelligence to Intelligent Sales Enablement

Do you know the route from Collecting Competitive Data to Winning Deals?

Getting from “collecting competitive intelligence” to “an effective competitive sales process” can be a bumpy road with many potholes and hazards along the way if you don’t have a good roadmap.  Fortunately, there is help for you!

Please join us on Wednesday, April 22nd at 9:00 am PDT for a free informative 45-minute webinar on how to turn your competitive intelligence into intelligent sales tools!   The panelist of speakers includes Ellen Naylor from The Business Intelligence Source, Mitch Emerson from Compelligence, and Dean Davison from Forrester Research.  They will take you down a path that starts with showing you how you can be more effective at collecting competitive intelligence that will help your sales teams win more deals.   The next stop on the journey will teach you how to transform that data into competitive sales guidance that your sales teams can customize for each of their unique deals.  You’ll finish the trip with ideas on how to reframe your data into customer terms that will add impact your sales discussions.


Four Ways to Improve Competitive Sales

Every sales deal today is really a competitive sales engagement.  It is tempting to think that a customer is only considering your product or service. But with the ease of finding out information on the Internet,  every customer is researching not just your company, but also your competitors.  The fact is that salespeople have to face competition, one way or another, in every single deal they encounter.  So why do many companies make this a difficult process?  Salespeople frequently do not have the right competitive sales tools or easy access to competitive sales guidance.  Most of the time they have to hunt this information down on their own or build it from scratch.

If this sounds familiar in your company, here are four ways you can alleviate the stress of competitive sales.


One major challenge that sales and marketing people face is that they don’t know where to go to for the competitive information they need.  Many companies have islands of competitive data—each business unit might have it’s own internal website or Sharepoint site; data might be stored in different people’s e-mail boxes, etc.  If people don’t know where to –find- competitive information, they also don’t know where to –report-  new intelligence that they discover, and critical information can be quickly lost.  By providing a centralized database of intelligence, you can make it easier to track, find, and process information about competitors and competitive market events.


Salesperson Jim goes to the centralized CI website and downloads a competitive sales guide for his Widget product.  He finds that it has information about the competitors’ pricing and features.  The next day, Jim needs to know features of a competitor’s Button product, so he downloads a competitive sales guide for his Button product. However, instead of finding pricing and features, the Button “competitive sales guide” has an overview of the competitor’s financials and their marketing messages.   Now Jim does not know what to expect the next time he downloads a competitive sales guide, and his job has become more frustrating and time-consuming.  Make it easy for your salespeople to know what to expect by using standard templates and definitions for your competitive sales content.  If a salesperson knows what kinds of documents are available and exactly what to expect from the content, it will be much easier to prepare for a competitive sales deal.


Every salesperson has experienced this problem:  she needs to make a presentation to a customer tomorrow. What does she do? She clicks to the marketing team’s website and gets the latest product presentation.   But once she has it, she finds she has to modify it to be tailored to her specific deal.  Different competitors in a deal and different customer needs will change how a product or service has to be positioned in a sale.  Using Powerpoint, Excel, and other tools are good for communicating information, but they do not easily adjust to different selling scenarios.  Make sure your sales teams have a way to get information that can be easily modified to fit different scenarios.  Compelligence is an example of a system that allows salespeople to get information tailored to their specific deal without having to request help from the content owners.


Salespeople can be a great source of competitive intelligence:  they hear first-hand what customers are saying; they know why customers are or are not buying products; they know what product marketing messages do or do not work; they hear rumors about the competitor’s products and companies, etc.  The problem in many companies, however,  is that there is not an effective way for salespeople to report this information back to someone who can actually do something with it.  Sure, they can use e-mail—if they know the proper person to contact. In many large companies, it may not be readily known who that proper person is.  Make sure your salespeople have the right tools and access to report competitive intelligence not only to their immediate sales groups, but also to the people who can make the necessary changes to products, marketing material, and strategy.  In turn, once that information is processed, make sure it gets back to sales teams so they can update their sales strategies.

3 Ways to Make Your Sales Pitch More Compelling

You’ve just made a sales pitch to a customer and left their building or hung up the phone with them.  How are they going to remember what you said, and how is it going to encourage them to buy what you are selling?  There are of course thousands of different ways to influence a buyer, but they all boil down to having a compelling sales pitch.  So how can you make sure that your sales pitch persuades your customer to make a purchase?  Keep the three items listed below in mind as you build your pitch, and you will be one step closer to having a more convincing sales pitch.

1.  Show how you improve your customer’s situation.

You’ve probably heard that you have to solve some problem for your customer.  This is true, but there really is more to it.  Saying you can solve a problem is one thing, but showing how you can improve your customer’s situation makes your product or service more compelling.  Make sure you can address two important questions

  1. What benefits does the customer get from using your product or service?
  2. What pain points will the customer continue to experience if they do not use your product or service?

For example, your customer’s problem might be “I receive too many e-mails” and your solution might be an e-mail filtering system.  However, on top of showing that you can filter your customer’s email, you could also show benefits of time savings for your customer, improved relationships through better e-mail responses, and less frustration in searching for archived e-mails. In addition, if you demonstrate that your e-mail system alleviates the pain of bounced e-mails due to a full mailbox and the potential lost business from missed e-mails, you have shown what your customer will endure if he or she does not use your product.   So it’s not just about showing that you can solve your customer’s problem.  Make sure your sales pitch also clearly communicates why your customer is better off after they purchase your product or service, as well as what drawbacks they will encounter if they do not use your offering.

2.  Make your sales pitch unique

Your customer is very likely not just considering your product or service.  Make sure that your sales pitch does not sound the same as that of your competitors.  Following the example above, if your competitor also claims that the benefits of their e-mail system are time-savings, improved relationships, and less frustration, then you might want to talk about other benefits that you can offer.  Make it easy for your customer to understand what he or she will get with your product that cannot be had with any of your competitors.  The best way to understand this is to be able to intelligently compare your product or service to that of your competition (see our white paper titled “The Art of Comparison” for more tips on that!).  Many salespeople neglect this important part of the pitch. It is far easier to know your own product than it is to know your competitor’s, but if you can get some basic comparisons done, your product or service will stand out in your customer’s mind when it comes time for the buying decision.

3.  Turn objections into benefits.

Regardless of how perfect your product or service might be, there are always going to be objections or questions that arise.  Many times, these objections might come up based on claims that your competitors will make.  A compelling sales pitch will be able to anticipate these objections and do three things

  1. Acknowledge the customer’s objection: whether it is entirely true or not, the customer has the perception that there is some limitation or drawback of your product or service.
  2. Limit or qualify the objection:  Communicate to the customer that his or her perceived drawback can be mitigated.
  3. Re-focus the discussion to a strength or benefit: If you can associate a benefit with a perceived weakness of your product, it actually strengthens the customer’s perception of what you are offering.  When they go through the buying decision later on, the objections will actually turn into compelling points in the customer’s mind.

For example, maybe your competitor told your customer that your product has a complicated setup process.  When you claim that your e-mail system helps save your customer time, they may object with “But doesn’t it take hours to set up your system, meaning that I have to actually spend –more- time to use it?” A sample response would be, “Yes, it does take some time to set up our system if you do it manually, but we offer many automated tools that can easily do this for you.” This previous statement does 3 things:

  1. Acknowledges the issue:  “Yes, it does take time to set up the system…”  : Your customer has raised a valid concern.
  2. Limited the issue:  “…IF you do it manually…” :  The problem only exists in limited circumstances that the customer likely won’t do.
  3. Refocuses the discussion “…we offer many automated tools…” : Your competitors might not have automated tools.  Now when your customer thinks about time to set up the system, their mind is refocused to automated tools—something your competitor can not offer.

These objections can be discovered through win/loss analysis, customer interviews, and even by reading online reviews of your product or service.  Of course, you won’t be able to anticipate every objection that comes up, but if you are aware of the most common ones it will help you eliminate some obstructions to the sales process.

Use Competitive Positioning to Close Doors on Competitors

Imagine this scenario:  you are a salesperson having a drink with a friend who works for a competitor.  Your friend is also a salesperson, and is lamenting how every time she approaches a potential client’s office, she sees a “No solicitors, please” sign on the door.  So she turns away and heads to the next lead on her list, only to find the same situation.    You feel sorry for her and suggest that she might be approaching the wrong type of customer, and you ask whom she has visited recently.  She lists several company names, and to your amazement, they are all clients that you were successful within the past few months. However, you had no trouble and never experienced the “No Solicitors” sign.

This scenario would be unfortunate for your friend, but wouldn’t it make your job as a salesperson much easier?  It would suggest that you effectively found a way to block the competition from entering your deals.

If you fully understand how your competitor is going to approach a deal, you can disarm their positioning before they even arrive at your customer.  This is assuming, of course, that you get there first.  If you arrive at a potential customer’s door after your competition, you may have a little more of an uphill battle, but it can still be achievable if you know what your competitor’s strategy is.  Having effective competitive positioning is one thing that will help bring the scenario above to life.

One of the challenges between marketing and sales in many companies is that marketing teams tend to focus more on how they market their own product, and they leave their sales teams blind to the competition.   When first meeting a potential client, it is incredibly useful to understand how competitors are going to try to position themselves.  If you know what they will claim are their advantages, as well as how they might try to de-position your product, you can set a bias in the customer’s mind before you even finish your discussion with him or her.  That bias is what will turn into the “No solicitors, please” sign on the customer’s door.  Selling isn’t just about convincing your customer that you have the best solution to their problem, but it also involves proving to them why the competitors do not have an adequate solution.  This doesn’t mean you have to bash your competition.  In fact, with the proper competitive positioning guidance, a skilled salesperson can set a customer’s bias against the competition without ever mentioning the competitor’s name.

Our recent white paper titled “Creating Effective Competitive Positioning” (which can be found here) provides a methodology of how to come up with material that will prepare your sales teams to set that bias with the customer.  It defines a process of evaluating your own positioning as well as that of your competitors and gives tips on how to keep the material updated and relevant.

So next time you visit a potential client, make sure you have an effective competitive positioning strategy.  When you leave their office, you can turn around and see that “No Soliciting” sign go up just before your competitor walks in.