Tracking competitors in Salesforce? I thought CRM was for tracking customers! Well, in fact your CRM is the perfect place to record competitive information.
Picklists seem to be the most common form of tracking competitors. How many of you do this today?
The problem is that picklists are static and static values don’t have context. Sales reps need context and a destination for finding competitive information. They do this with their customer accounts already so why not with competitors?
Use the Account Object
Accounts are the perfect because the basic information one would want to track is already available by default. Plus, users already know how to use the object which makes adoption easy. Let’s see how we can use accounts to crush the competition.
Create a New Record Type
The best way to leverage the existing Account functionality is to create a new record type called Competitor. Record types work well for this because it clearly identifies the account as a competitor. This can be done using a picklist on the account record differentiating between customer and competitor, but record types are my preferred method.
Create a New Page Layout
Page layouts work in conjunction with the record types to display a specific set of fields and field values. Since the competitor accounts will contain information specific to the competition, I’ll keep things simple by creating a new page layout.
Create Competitor Specific Fields
Competitor accounts should be a resource for sales and marketing. To add value, create fields that can provide insights. Fields like Our Advantages and Competitor Weaknesses provide reps with a quick competitive comparison.
Talk with marketing and sales to find out what type of data would be useful on the record and create the appropriate fields. The data capture here will arm users for battle.
Enhance With the AppExchange
Using the AppExchange is a great way to add additional color and context to the competition. In the above screenshot, I installed a free Salesforce Labs app called Account News Feed. This small Visualforce component performs a Google search and returns relevant results. The results rotate like a news ticker. Clicking on the link navigates the user to the related news story.
Activate Social Accounts & Contacts
Nearly every organization has some social media presence. With Social Accounts & Contacts, users can connect their social accounts to Salesforce and view the accounts social stream with one click. This acts as an additional source of information reps can use to better understand the competition.
Modify Related Lists
Modify the relates lists to surface only the most important information. Contacts, Open Activities and Activity History along with Notes & Attachments are what I use at a minimum. Notice in the below screenshot that there is a related list called Opportunities Lost To. By creating a lookup field on the Opportunity called Lost To, users can now navigate to a competitor record and see all the deals we lost to that competitor. If Salesforce Content is activated, the Related Content related list can automatically surface content that may be helpful to sales reps looking to close the deal.
Bonus Tip – Share With Chatter
Chatter is a great way to share news and additional information with related teams. Consider creating a group where anyone can post best practices or important competitor updates.
How do you manage competitors in Salesforce? Let me know by leaving a comment below.