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How to Attack with Competitive Positioning


By Patty Burke Patty Burke

The Company is a venture-funded provider of contract management software, offering an enterprise solution that enables management of both sales and procurement contract types. The Company has deployed its software into the Life Sciences, Financial Services, Energy and Enterprise segments.

Over a six month period the Company faced increasingly stiff competition from an early market leader that had recently merged with a larger player offering related software. Prior to the merger the competitor had been successful in winning contracts from the Company based on one superior feature: easy integration with Microsoft Word. Post-merger, the competitor was adding to its competitive arsenal by touting its greater size and credibility, and implying that the Company was potentially too financially unstable to trust with critical contract data. The goal of our competitive effort was to combat these aggressive attacks with demonstrable proof points, to get out of our current defensive mode and, if possible, to put the competitor on the defense.

How Strategic Marketing Course Concepts Apply
In order to both guide marketing strategies and better arm the sales force, the Company put in place an Offensive Strategy designed to neutralize the competitor's sales approach and 'change the playing field' for how customers should evaluate Contract Management Software.

The Positioning process steps were:

• Understand the competitor's attack vectors

• Refute the attacks

• Redefine and prioritize the elements of the contract management lifecycle that customers evaluate during the sales process

• Define and exploit the competitor's product vulnerabilities in the high-priority phases of the contract management lifecycle