Napoleon Bonaparte said, “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” When your competitors make a mistake, it is easier to learn from it. What if you are the one making the same mistake? You won’t know till you know what your competitors are doing. Analysing your competitors is necessary for any SaaS business to grow and develop in terms of customer satisfaction. In this guide, you will learn all about competitive analysis, market trends, how to conduct a competitive analysis, threats to your SaaS company, evaluate opportunities and position accordingly as per SWOT analysis.
What is Competitive Analysis?
Competitive analysis is the research, analysis and comparison of competitors with respect to your company. It is a way in which companies identify their major competitors, look into their product, sales, marketing, and customer retention strategies. This will help build practices that are better than the competitors and improve accordingly.
With competitive analysis, you can identify strategic opportunities that will help you perform better than competition. You will know of all the industry trends and meet or exceed what customers expect.
Benefits of conducting a competitive analysis
- You can identify the unique value proposition of the product and create it apart from competitors.
- Stay updated on latest trends and what the competitor is doing to ensure better performance.
- Test and identify areas of improvement and opportunities in the market.
- Ensure unique marketing strategies are in place.
- Track customer reviews of competitor products to get clear idea of what is missing.
- Learn market trends and sell better.
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How to do a SaaS Competitive Analysis
Identify your competition
You need to find out who is your competition. Competitors can be direct or indirect. Direct competitors are those whose products or offerings are highly similar and can pass off as a substitute. An indirect competitor is one that satisfies customer needs but is not exactly the same. One should focus on direct competitors to get the right idea.
Research competitor products and offerings
At the core of any business is the offering. For a good competitive analysis, it is important to analyse the offerings and quality. The cost aspect should also be noted. Are they catering to high-end or low-end sectors? Are there any affiliate marketing strategies? What are some characteristics of the ideal customer profile?
Conduct a competitor investigation.
Evaluate how your competitors work. Start with founding date, revenue, funding, employee count, account growth, etc. This information is available on sites like LinkedIn, AngelList, Owler, and Crunchbase. Check for mergers or acquisition history to know the way it is moving.
Understand competitor sales tactics, value propositions, design
Dive deep into their customer acquisition strategy, sales, and go-to-market strategy. What is the sales process of the company? What are their channels? Are you using those channels? In case of any expansion plans, are you looking in the same direction? What is the design outlook and value proposition that attracts clients? Note and analyse this information.
Evaluate the gaps
The next thing to do while performing SaaS competitive analysis is to put your detective shoes and think like your competitors. Conduct competitive landscape analysis framework to find out the gaps within the strategies of your competitors. So, now the question is, how to do competitive analysis? You can do that by preparing competitive analysis matrix and SaaS SWOT analysis of your competitor.
Ascertain that the gaps that you ascertain in their product or offer are easily covered by your product or offering. This is where B2B competitive analysis comes in handy. It helps you to ascertain the product gaps in your competitors and work through them to ensure that your product or offering is the best amongst the competition.
Ascertain the differentiators
The biggest reason to do a competitive analysis is you are selling the same product as your competitor, albeit with minor differences. The users will select your product or offering only if your product or offering has something unique to offer to them which differentiates your product or offering from your competitors. In simple words, we call it USP of the product or in other words unique selling proposition.
Every product or offering has something special to offer to the user. You need to determine what makes your product or offering different and then work on finishing touches to make it look different from the competitors. Some of the differentiators which can prove to be a winner for your product or offering may include pricing factor, warranty, 24×7 customer service, a 30-day trial period, or a freemium pricing model.
The only way to work on the differentiator is by understanding your competitors’ products or offerings and make your product or offering better than them. This can be done by understanding the positioning of their product, their buyer persona, the message they are delivering, etc. and then work on making your product or offering better to craft a differentiating message to make your position in the market better.
Compare pricing and perks
Check how much competitors are charging for their services. If you feel your product is better in all aspects, you can consider charging a little more. If you feel your products are overpriced and can be made affordable, you will know. This gap can be bridged to appeal to a larger audience. Knowing perks that are given to customers will help you devise your own perks and discount packages.
Analyse their marketing tactics
Keep track of competitor’s marketing efforts. Do they have a website, a good blog, or whitepapers? Are they communicating with their customers through webinars, videos, or podcasts? Do they have any compelling case studies, press releases, buying guides, or featured notes?
Understanding the technology and tools your competitors use can improve momentum and reduce bugs and glitches in your company. Customer success software for example can be highly powerful. It is something that can be used to gauge the penetration of competitors. There are ways to uncover the technology secrets of competitor companies. Analytics on that note will be helpful to uncover strategies and intel.
Engaging with competitor’s on social media will help understand how they respond to situations. Find out what topics are the buzz, check the comments, tweets, and responses. You can learn from tags, buttons, keywords, and more. You can notice gaps in your social media strategy and then bridge them.
Conduct a SWOT analysis
Performing a SWOT analysis will help you assess overall grade versus competitor. What is your weakest area; is it the same as your competitor? What are the common advantages with them? SWOT analysis will help understand competitive advantage and aid in strategic planning.
Perform, estimate, enhance, and rehearse
While conducting SaaS competitive analysis, the final step is to understand what works better for your product and then repeat it. Many customer success stories are based on the simple mantra of performing, estimating, enhancing, and rehearsing. It is very straightforward. Once you have a winning product or offering, ensure that you do not lose it. Try to improvise on the strategy and pay heed to the actions that you are undertaking.
Never repeat those mistakes you tried initially and were detrimental to your product or offer. Rehearse those things that have worked for your product or offering and grow from strength to strength till you reach your goals. Then make the next big goal and then perform, estimate, enhance, and rehearse again!
3 Competitive Analysis Frameworks
Porter’s Five Forces
Porter’s Five Forces evaluates market forces in a segment with five elements: new entrants, purchasers, suppliers, alternatives, and intensity of growth. These insights will help understand the competition around and build a better brand identity.
Growth Share Matrix
Growth share matrix is a framework where products are marked against the market competitiveness and landscape. Once these products are fit in, they can be analysed for growth and market share. You can evaluate products in a better manner and grow better.
Perceptual mapping is where your product or brand is mapped with respect to its position as opposed to alternatives. You can use this framework to map where your product is and where competitor product is. This will also help you understand where you stand with respect to target audience memory.25
Understanding your business in terms of the competitive landscape is important. Many SaaS companies operate in a similar zone- figuring out the right competition is important. Aspects that need to be analysed include price, features, customer support, technical or tool usage, marketing strategies, and overall business model. You need to identify opportunities that will differentiate your brand from the competition. A competitive analysis is useful to make a better mark and also understand how satisfied your customers are. This is a great way to enhance your customer success strategy and growth.
Niyathi is an experienced content marketer with a love for SaaS tech products. She reads a lot (mostly fiction) and is a huge news junkie. Niyathi loves exploring different forms of inbound marketing and taking on challenges.
Published February 26, 2021, Updated March 31, 2023