Growth Barrier 1: Bypassing Your Competition

Posted by Doug Davidoff

May 3, 2010 5:00:46 PM

Several years ago, I created a tool to identify how well a company is positioned to successfully identify, capture, manage, and absorb profitable growth opportunities. I called this tool The Growth Barriers Diagnostic

While the tool was created a few years before the “great recession,” it’s been equally effective in diagnosing growth barriers since. Last week, I had a deep conversation about the content of the diagnostic and what it means with a fellow CEO. I hadn’t discussed the diagnostic is such depth since it was created, and it reminded just how valuable the tool is.

I wanted to share some of the observations from my conversation, so today I begin a series posts that will focus on each of the 10 points in the diagnostic. Today’s focus:

I have bypassed my competition

One of the biggest flaws of modern day sales and marketing is that it causes business executives to view the world from a competitive perspective. I’ve always felt that great businesses (and going forward “great” is no longer a choice) became great because they ignore their competition. They use the energy that others lock up studying the competition to understand their best markets better than anyone.

If you think of companies like Apple, Starbucks (in its great days), or Cirque Du Soliel, you quickly realize they wouldn’t exist if they had focused on “differentiating their offerings” rather than delighting their best customers.

Two weeks ago, I wrote about The Shift sellers need to make to avoid being commoditized. The final shift occurs when sellers realize they sell results, and further they position their offerings so that customers look at it the same way.

When your customers view you and your offerings as critical to their results, you become indispensable and competition becomes irrelevant. When this occurs, you are able to enter sales cycles far earlier in the process (before competitors have a chance) and price stops being a driving factor in the purchasing decision.

As a matter of fact, you know you’ve bypassed your competition when you enter potential sales conversations before the customer fully understands what their problems are, or what solutions they desire. The customer relies on your deep understanding of them, their issues and your area of expertise to help them both define the problem and determine how to best solve the problem.

Now, score yourself on a scale of 1 – 10 (1 being that you are fighting the “commodity battle” virtually every time and 10 being that the scenario I’ve just described occurs 80% or more of the time). What can you do to move your score towards 10?

Topics: B2B Sales Strategy, Demand Generation