Answering the Competitive Differentiation Question

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One of the most common questions I get when talking to someone who is familiar with one of our competitors is “How are you guys different from xyz?” Naturally, as with most industries, there are a multitude of competitors out there, most of which we never compete against. Here are a few approaches to the competitive differentiation question:

  • Focus on target company size, industries, and verticals (e.g. SMB vs enterprise or healthcare vs financial services)
  • Address specific product functionality and use cases (e.g. feature X vs feature Y)
  • Talk about customer acquisition (sales) and service approaches (e.g. insides sales vs field sales)
  • Articulate the different corporate cultures, fundraising, and other strategies

The most important thing to do with the competitive differentiation question is to answer it concisely and clearly. Too often when I ask others that question I get a long answer that doesn’t leave a memorable hook in my mind. Keep it short, simple, and memorable.

What else? What other recommendations do you have for competitive differentiation questions?

One thought on “Answering the Competitive Differentiation Question

  1. David,

    I think this is a good start. What I can say is that product and team are the biggest things I look for in terms of differentiation. Product is a snapshot of what the team can do with limited resources. The team is the really the most important part as long term success will be determined by product strategy and then execution which is usually closely linked to development speed and talent as well as market & sales etc. I’d take a B company and an A team over an A company with a B team any day. It sounds like Pardot is executing very well and I would certainly welcome the opportunity to make a brief introduction and discuss short and long term market views.

    Best regards,
    Tom Nahigian

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