Startups should continuously be differentiating and out-competing their competition by building a strong defensive sales strategy.
A defensive strategy is a marketing tool that helps companies retain valuable customers that competitors can take away. Competitors are other firms located in the same market category or sell similar products to the same segment of people. The critical tactics of a defensive strategy include attacking the benefits and highlighting the risks of your competition. Dark Cubed, a veteran-led cybersecurity software as a service (SaaS) platform, does a great job defending its business by highlighting the higher cost and management difficulty of other solutions. For example, view this video of Dark Cubed’s Vince Crisler below:
A few years ago, while running a humble ventures acceleration cohort, I brought in one of our mentors, Greg Rodriguez, to challenge customer acquisition assumptions. Rodriguez, a founding member of Alamo Angels and former VP of Sales at Rackspace Cloud, enhanced startups’ operational processes to create innovative solutions to meet their unique challenges like sales & marketing strategies and lead generation.
Rodriguez left a lasting impression that day by emphasizing the importance of laying the foundation to design a successful defensive sales strategy — You must first survey the competitive landscape and evaluate your company’s positioning within it. Below are a few of the many questions the Bunker Labs mentor asked that can help all startups find better ideas in defending their brands:
- Where are you currently trying to reach your customers?
- What drives repeat usage and what is your referral engine?
- How do you engage in sales?
- Why is your team doing this?
- If you don’t have the domain expertise, then why did you decide to go into this?
- Could you explain your mission as if you’re speaking to a 12-year-old?
- How do you plan to monetize your venture?
- Are you utilizing any proprietary technology?
- Is it your tech or services that make you different from your competition?
- How do you define your space?
- Are you focusing on the pond where you’re able to catch the most fish?
- How do you encourage people to do more business with you? Partner program, tier pricing, etc.?
- Are you looking to do cross-pollination with potential partners that target the same demographic?
- What are you replacing?
- What is someone going to stop doing when they start using your product?
What is your company’s defensive sales strategy? Asking yourself this question and the ones listed above can reveal your preparedness and ability to execute in increasingly competitive markets. Defining what differentiates you from competitors will make your strategy more successful in acquiring more market share.