Competitive analysis is your measuring stick against the rest of the world. To use a boxing analogy: your form may look impressive when you are boxing a punching bag, but it cannot hit you back. There are also no surprises and no unknowns. Ultimately, to see what you are made of, you have to be pitted against an opponent. Your capabilities, in and of themselves, may be impressive, but would they stand up to your leaner and meaner opponents? Let’s look at the reasons why you should mind your competitors and predict their possible actions; what you need to know about your competition; how to find this information; and how to put all the pieces of the competitive analysis puzzle together to exploit your competitors’ shortfalls to you advantage and outdo them through strategic actions.
When I consult for companies, I often hear their business development professionals say, “Why should I worry about my competition? We have what we have to offer, and as long as we can give the government the best price we can honestly give them, we should be just fine. If they don’t select us – well, so be it. We wouldn’t want to perform this work at a loss anyway.”
Other companies don’t worry about the competition because they simply don’t have time to do competitive analysis. Some haven’t seen much use out of the competitive analysis they have done before, and others simply don’t know how.
What would you do differently if you knew that with good competitive analysis and actions your win-rate would increase twofold? Competitive analysis impacts every single aspect of your capture efforts, and can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of your pursuit.
- You have to identify competitive positioning with the customer, and ghost your competition to the customer. Knowing your customer’s hot buttons will also help you determine where you stand versus your competition.
- Through your intelligence gathering efforts, you will identify your competition and research competitor information.
- Through your win-strategy analysis, you will make changes to your win-strategy to outdo your competition. You will be able to leverage your strengths, mitigate your weaknesses, neutralize competitors’ strengths, and exploit your competitors’ weaknesses – all based on customer’s hot buttons. You will be able to develop discriminators and differentiators, ghosting win-themes, and preempt your competitors’ attacks through turnaround win-themes.
- You will be able to determine Price-to-Win and your cost strategy based on this information.
- You will make teaming decisions based on competitive strategy – because picking a teammate prior to figuring out the competitive landscape is a fallacy.
- And, finally, you will be able to determine a better solution that distinguishes you from competition.
Omit competitive analysis – and you will weaken all the other five aspects of capture.