Getting an edge over your competition is hard work, but keeping your competitive edge is even harder. Times are changing fast and keeping up with the trends doesn’t seem to be enough. To be competitive in today’s market you have to:
- Know your competitors
- Understand consumer behavior and trends
- Foster deep relationships
- Find out what works (and what doesn’t)
- Ditch “Business-as-usual”
Here’s a breakdown of the 5 tools that will help you stay competitive:
To know your competitors…
Use Hoover’s. Before you can try to beat out the competition, you have to do some due diligence. Hoover’s, a subscription-based business research company, offers a free trial that provides you with company and industry data, with a database of over 85 million global companies. Do some extensive research into other players in your industry at least every couple of months (yes, months). The market is evolving daily, with new companies, products, and services that are disrupting the status quo and changing the competition.
When researching competitors, you want to identify companies of similar size, that cater to the same geographic location, or are relatively new. You should know what they do, how they do it, and how you can top it.
To understand consumer behavior and trends…
Try Qualtrics. To outperform your opposition, you have to put yourself in your customers’ shoes to understand how they make decisions. Conduct market research that aims to understand consumer behavior, including how different cultural, societal and personal factors influence this behavior. Ask, “what are people buying now?” and “why are they buying this particular product/service?”
Understanding the things that go into customers’ decision making processes is crucial to be able to fine tune your messages to be effective. You can gather a myriad of data on consumers through online polls, previous sales data, and through sites like Qualtrics, which specializes in the collection of market research and customer satisfaction data. Customer needs should always be on the forefront of every decision in order for your company to stay ahead of the game.
To foster deep relationships…
Give Salesforce a try. Once you have identified your target audience, your focus should be on building meaningful relationships with them. This means knowing what and when to say certain things to customers, listening to their feedback, and understanding the different stages of these budding relationships.
To do so, using customer relationship management (CRM) software can offer you meaningful insights into how your customers feel about your organization through looking at data from across your business. This will allow you to identify weak points in your customer interactions early on and fix them in order to maintain long-lasting relationships. Salesforce is one tool that offers a widely used CRM platform that gathers data on customer interactions in order to help drive sales growth.
To find out what works (and what doesn’t)…
Sign with SignNow. Competitive companies know that trying new things and having an open mind can lead to major rewards. New technologies can improve efficiency and customer satisfaction, and ditching outdated procedures can help keep businesses fresh and modern. However, they’re also not too proud to admit when something just isn’t working. While things like creative campaigns can attract new users and gain brand recognition, it is important to take a step back and reflect upon the internal office processes that are increasing productivity and those that are weighing your business down.
One of the biggest unnecessary expenditures (both of cash and time) for businesses is their reliance on paper. Paper slows down workflow processes and takes up valuable time being printed, mailed, filed, and sorted through. Investing in an e-signature solution is an easy way to save costs on expensive paper processes and increase office efficiency. SignNow is an easy-to-use and affordable platform that speeds up timely signing processes while keeping files completely secure and compliant. Be able to identify the tools and procedures that add value to your company and those that don’t.
To ditch “Business-as-usual”…
Show your personality with Canva. Remember what makes your brand different and hone in on that. Today’s market is all about disrupting the status-quo. Following others is not an option if you want to stay competitive. So, to differentiate yourself from your competitors, showcase the core values and unique personality of your business to your customers. So often customers feel that “business as usual” is cold and devoid of any human touch; but it doesn’t have to be this way. You can establish a recognizable voice by being creative and having fun with how you tell your company’s narrative.
Apps like Canva make it easy to design customized social media posts, advertisements, and graphics that can highlight what makes your company special. By ditching the humdrum “business-as-usual” attitude, you allow yourself and your business to be bold in the ways it connects with people. Sticking out from others in the industry is the key to keeping your edge.
Staying ahead is difficult, but not impossible. Follow these tips and you should be well on your way to beating your competition! Utilize today’s most advanced technologies and create a successful digital office.