Introduction:

Understanding exactly how your product or service offering differs from competitors is an essential component of a good sales strategy.

Without doing your research, you risk sounding uninformed when speaking with a prospect who is considering another service provider, and this can be an incredibly frustrating way to lose a deal. 

It’s important to know what your competitors do well and what they do not so well, as this helps you determine how you can best position yourself when speaking with prospective buyers.

This competitive analysis checklist will guide you through the process of conducting a thorough analysis of a competitor, covering everything from keyword performance to evaluating analyst reports and ultimately integrating your learnings into pitch decks.

Let’s get started.

Preparation:

Enter competitor details

Website analysis:

Identify key terms/messaging

Visit the competitor's website and identify specific words and phrases that they use to communicate the value of their product or service. 

By doing so you will gain a better understanding of what they believe is attractive to potential customers. 

For example, on the Process Street website, notice how the word "simple" appears a number of times on the homepage. This is designed to quickly communicate to website visitors that simplicity is a key selling point. 

Analyze promoted content

Next, conduct a detailed analysis of content that the competitor is promoting on their website. 

The most effective way to do this is to run an analysis with a tool like BuzzSumo or Ahrefs, filter it to show the most popular content in the last 6 months and export as a file. Link to a cloud sheet where you’ve imported the file or upload a copy using the form fields below.

While there will likely be a lot of content to go through, pick out 5-10 pieces that are most easily accessible, as these are intended to be the primary sources of information for potential customers looking to learn more about the company and the value they provide

Mark which types of content you have evaluated from the sub-checklist below.

  • 1
    Blog posts
  • 2
    Whitepapers
  • 3
    eBooks
  • 4
    Videos
  • 5
    Webinars
  • 6
    Powerpoint slides
  • 7
    Feature articles
  • 8
    Press releases
  • 9
    Case studies
  • 10
    Buyer guides
Overview of what constitutes a competitive website analysis

Analyze their SEO performance

Analyze your competitor's keyword performance. By understanding the top keywords your competitors are ranking for, you can compete organically with more and better quality content.

Information on competitor’s keyword performance is publicly available on websites such as BuzzSumo, SEMrush, Ahrefs, and SpyFu. Enter the competitor's website in the tool you use and do an export of the top terms from the past 6 months.

Upload the export here or link to it.

Summarize their value proposition

After analyzing the competitor's website content and keyword performance, summarize their value proposition as you have understood it. 

Social media:

Analyze content being posted

Analyze your competitor's social media presence by evaluating the content they promote on the following social media platforms:

  • 1
    Facebook
  • 2
    Twitter
  • 3
    LinkedIn
  • 4
    Instagram
  • 5
    YouTube

You can use online tools like Sprout Social, Phlanx, and Social Blade to analyze your competitor's social media performance. 

Analyze how viewers are engaging

Take a closer look at their content on social media by analyzing how viewers are engaging with their posts. 

Answer the following questions:

  • Which posts are attracting the most attention? Why?
  • What kind of questions are viewers asking? 
  • Is the feedback generally positive or negative? 
  • Is the competitor highly responsive to comments?

Product features:

List all their product features

List all of their product features so you can compare them to yours in the following task. 

This is a critical step in the competitive analysis process as it will enable you to identify the specific ways in which your product is superior. 

Compare list to your product features

Compare their list of product features to your own. 

Competitor's product features: {{form.List_of_competitor's_product_features}}

Identify 3-5 key product advantages

After comparing the features offered by your product to your competitor's, identify 3-5 key advantages and note them down in the form field below. 

The reason it is recommended to not exceed 5 advantages is that this encourages you to think about and identify only the most significant advantages that will resonate with potential customers. 

Analyst reports:

Evaluate their presence in credible analyst reports

Analyst reports are a great source of insight on competition as they consider the entire market from a neutral perspective and provide a detailed analysis of the company's positioning.

Research and evaluate any mention of the competitor in the following analyst reports:

  • 1
    Gartner
  • 2
    Forrester
  • 3
    IDC
  • 4
    McKinsey & Co.

Of course, only the few market leaders get mentioned in highly credible analyst reports, so this may not be a relevant source of insight if your competitors are relatively small. 

Financial information:

Determine if they are expanding or scaling down

Review the competitor's financial position to determine if they are expanding or scaling down. 

Evaluate their pricing plan

Pricing is a tremendously important component of competitive analysis. It will often be an area that you can take advantage of when speaking with potential customers. 

Evaluate the competitor's pricing plan and record your notes in the form field below. 

If their pricing is not publicly available, you can call one of their sales reps to ask for more information, but be sure to put your spy cap on and hide your identity!

SWOT analysis:

List their strengths

The first step to completing a SWOT analysis is listing the company's strengths. 

Record them in the form field below. 

Overview of how to complete a SWOT analysis

List their weaknesses

Next, list their weaknesses.

Identify your opportunities

Now for the fun part! Identify a few specific opportunities that your company has to outperform your competitor and record them in the form field below.

Make sure you are realistic and can back up each opportunity with data gathered from your research. 

Identify threats

Finally, identify the threats that your competitor poses to the success of your company. 

Upload the completed SWOT analysis

Insert the following information into a template and upload the file using the form field below. 

Strengths: {{form.Competitor's_strengths}}

Weaknesses: {{form.Competitor's_weaknesses}}

Opportunities: {{form.Your_opportunities}}

Threats: {{form.Threats_posed_by_the_competitor}}

Applying your findings:

Summarize advantages of your product offering

Using all of the information you have gathered throughout the checklist, summarize the advantages of your product offering over {{form.Competitor_name}}. 

In particular, refer to the key product advantages you stated earlier in the checklist:

Key product advantages: {{form.3-5_key_advantages_of_your_product}}

Identify pricing advantages

Identify pricing advantages that you can communicate to potential customers when you know they are considering working with {{form.Competitor_name}}

Refer to the notes you took on their pricing plan:

Notes on their pricing plan: {{form.Notes_on_the_competitor's_pricing_plan}}

Incorporate advantages into pitch decks

Incorporate the advantages you have identified into your pitch deck to immediately begin presenting them to prospects. 

Product offering advantages: {{form.Advantages_of_your_product_offering_-_Summary}}

Pricing advantages: {{form.Pricing_advantages}}

Use our Sales Presentation Template to ensure you are creating excellent pitch decks!

Consider requesting marketing to create collateral

The information you have collected over the course of the competitive analysis may be worth the creation of marketing collateral. 

For example, a side-by-side feature comparison datasheet can be an incredibly useful, easily digestible sales asset to send to prospects.

Record in the form field below whether or not you think such an asset would be worth creating.

Send email to marketing

Using the template below, send an email to a marketing manager to inform them of the competitive information you have collected and request that they create a piece of branded collateral so that it can be easily presented to prospective and current customers. 

Sources:

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