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Compete Program Maturity Model: How to Advance From Level 5 to Level 6

For nearly a decade, Crayon has been helping people like you build excellent compete programs—programs that increase win rates and influence executive decision-making.

We decided to take everything we've learned over the years and condense it into a practical how-to guide: The 6 Levels of Compete Program Maturity (and How to Get to Level 6).

The 6 levels of maturity are as follows:

  • Level 1: You have published a battlecard for at least one of your Tier 1 competitors.
  • Level 2: You have published a battlecard for each of your Tier 1 competitors.
  • Level 3: 25% of your sales reps use your battlecards at least once a month.
  • Level 4: 50% of your sales reps use your battlecards at least once a month.
  • Level 5: You report quantitative & qualitative win-loss findings once a quarter.
  • Level 6: You use CI to help executive leaders make decisions.

If you're at Level 5, you're reading the right blog post.

How to advance from Level 5 to Level 6

You’ve built a library of battlecards that sellers regularly use and a quarterly win/loss program that informs both product and go-to-market strategy – now what? To advance to the highest level of maturity, you must help senior leaders at your company make major decisions.

Should we acquire this company? Should we enter this market? Those are the kinds of high-risk, high-reward decisions we’re talking about.

The million dollar question: How do you get your executive team to think of you as someone who can help them make these kinds of decisions?

You do two things:

  1. You create and nurture relationships with people across your company.
  2. You promote the results of all the amazing work you’ve done up until this point.

A note on production vs. perception: Up until this point, we’ve mostly talked about maturity in terms of production: producing battlecards, producing win/loss insights, etc. Level 6 is unique. Reaching this level of maturity is less about what you produce and more about how you’re perceived. When you’re perceived as someone who must be in the room to assist with major decisions, you’ve made it to Level 6.

Creating & nurturing relationships

Once again, we encourage you to think like a marketer. As a marketer, you can’t be in the room every time two people have a conversation about the problem your product solves. But you can create evangelists who hear people complain about the problem and tell them to check out your website. That’s the beauty of word-of-mouth marketing.

Similarly, you can’t be in the room (or on the Zoom) every time an executive talks about a big decision they need to make. But you can create evangelists who think of you in those moments and tell the decision-makers to send you an email.

So you have to create and nurture relationships with people across your company. Fortunately, by the time you reach this level of maturity, you’ve already started doing that – teaming up with sellers on presentations, discussing win/loss findings with folks in marketing and product, etc. Now it’s a matter of nurturing the relationships you’ve already created and creating new relationships with as many people as you can – without taking too much time away from your “actual work,” of course.

Some ideas to help you do that:

  • Schedule a monthly “coffee chat” with each of your high-priority stakeholders (the relationships that you consider the most valuable)
  • Ask your HR team if you can deliver a 15- or 30-minute presentation on the CI program during new hire onboarding
  • Occasionally join different teams’ standing meetings to listen to what they’re working on and remind them that CI is a resource available to them
  • Ask your Slack/Teams administrator if they’d be willing to install a free plugin like Donut, which randomly introduces people from different departments and encourages them to meet one another

If this sounds like networking, that’s because it is! It’s networking within your company. As the owner of the CI program, you’re like an entrepreneur – you have to put yourself out there and meet people and explain to them what you do, so they can think of you when you’re not in the room and refer decision-makers to you.

Promoting the results of your work

You didn’t do all that CRM work with your RevOps colleagues just so you can identify win/loss interview candidates – you also did it so you can quantify the impact of your work. Every quarter, you should create a slide deck that shows:

  • How battlecard adoption is trending over time
  • How win rates against competitors are trending over time
  • The amount of revenue the sales team has won in competitive opportunities
  • The logos of key clients that were won in competitive opportunities
  • The messages you’ve gotten from colleagues about how much you’ve helped them

This kind of self-promotion can feel uncomfortable, but it’s necessary if you want to be consulted on decisions like acquisitions, new market entry, etc.

Also, one more reason to nurture relationships: People will trust you when you show them the positive results of your compete program!

Doing discovery with executives

So … what do you do when an executive comes to you looking for help?

Well, more often than not, the person who needs help is not going to say, “I need your help making a decision about xyz.” Instead, they’re probably going to come to you with a request: “I need to know how much market share Competitor XYZ has captured in Southeast Asia.”

In moments like that, it’s on you to do what sales reps call discovery – i.e., ask questions to discover the need (or the looming decision) underlying the request. Why? Because imagine doing the work to find out how much market share Competitor XYZ has captured in Southeast Asia, only for the stakeholder to tell you that that information didn’t really help them.

You’re frustrated because you wasted your time, and they’re frustrated because they haven’t made any progress – in the absence of discovery, everyone loses.

Now let’s imagine an alternate scenario where the executive approaches you with their Southeast Asia request and you respond with, “Tell me more about what you’re trying to do.”

Something as simple as that 9-word sentence can be enough to reveal the real need: This executive needs to decide whether the company is going to enter the Southeast Asia market.

With this information, you’re in a much better position to deliver value. You can learn more about their decision criteria, the other people involved in the decision-making process, deadlines, etc.

Download The 6 Levels of Compete Program Maturity (and How to Get to Level 6) today.

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Conor Bond
Conor Bond is on the marketing team at Crayon. If, for whatever reason, you were to rip his headphones off his head and put them on yourself, you’d probably hear Weakened Friends or Charli XCX.