Every company can benefit from thorough Competitive Research. Ideally, you collect enough information to be able to position your products and services in a way that gives you an edge with your ideal client persona. If you get enough details, you could even try to complete the following:
To find a list of your competitors the best place to start is to ask the sales team. You can also type your company name into Google and see who else is showing up (like this “My company vs. X”).
If you are in an established category, chances are that companies like capterra.com, g2crowd.com, softwareadvice.com, Gartner, Forrester, and IDC can provide lists of your main competition as well.
Start with collecting the basic information about your competitors:
Research the pricing for their products and services. Try to buy the products/services of each competitor. Get detailed information that goes beyond what’s published on the website. Use email and online chat (or call them) to get the scoop.
To allow an apples/apples comparison of the various players, create a typical customer profile that you use to get pricing information. For example:
Test their "reach ability" through chat/phone/email. Send them a note and record how long it takes them to get back to you. It’s also interesting to capture the actual text of the response when they follow up. Do you see any best practices? Rate the customer experience 1 to 10, 10 being the best.
Important: In each conversation, ask what the salesperson thinks of the competition (ideally of the company you work for, and a few others). This is key in uncovering important challenges that your prospects can bring up that you need to be prepared for.
How do you rate the customer experience of the website? Is it easy to find and buy what you need? Try to rank all the companies you research based on your opinion.
How many customer testimonials are listed on the website?
What are the top 5 features that are presented at the website? What are they giving the most attention?
Consider running a semrush.com report for the company to evaluate the technical SEO quality of your competitors' websites.
Record things like the Organic traffic they get vs. Paid Traffic, and what the top 5 keyword combinations are that drive their organic traffic. What keywords are they bidding on with their paid search efforts?
Go to "domain Analytics"/Overview and run the domain overview report for the domain.
Consider capturing the following data points into your spreadsheet: Organic Search, Paid Search, Back links, Display Advertising, # of top organic keywords and the top 5 organic competitors.
What does each competitor claim as their unique differentiation? Is there any mention of something they are “Best” at, or that “Only” they can do?
Collect the features for the products and services that your competitor offers. You can put them in a simple sheet like this, and potentially even do this advanced product planning exercise.
After you have collected all the features of your competitors, you know what is more unique vs. generic (everyone has it), and you have a sense of price information. Try to complete a matrix like this one: https://web.stanford.edu/class/ee353/pfmatrix.htm
The above work is, by the way, a great example of a delegation that you can outsource to an AI-powered Virtual Assistant, like the team at https://delegate.inv.tech/marketing/