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How to Leverage Competitor Product Reviews to Win Sales

Posted by Ellie Mirman on August 15, 2017.

Review sites are jam-packed with competitive intelligence. Customers complaining about competitors’ products. Customers detailing strengths and weaknesses of each platform. Visibility into when and how competitors respond to customer issues. Direct and public customer feedback, without the outreach.

How do you then turn that intelligence into a tool for sales to win deals? Certainly it’s more than sending the review itself around the office. Here are 5 ways to leverage competitor product reviews to win sales.

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5 Ways to Leverage Competitor Product Reviews to Win Sales

1. Develop Sales Trap Questions

What: A sales trap question is one that exposes a competitor’s weakness but puts the onus on the prospects to discover it. In that way, the sales rep is able to abstain from tarnishing the competitor, keeping themselves in a positive light.

How: Identify competitor weaknesses exposed in reviews, especially those that contrast a strength of yours. In addition to calling out these strengths and weaknesses on sales battlecards, couple these notes with questions sales can use in prospect meetings.

Example: Competitor weakness identified as lack of product functionality for X industry. Company strength identified as specialization in the X industry. Resulting Sales Trap Question would be: “We focus on the X industry and have hundreds of customers like you. We’ve found that this industry has key requirements such as A, B, and C. How have the other tools you’ve evaluated addressed those needs?"

2. Use Search to Your Advantage

What: The prospects with whom you have - or have not yet - spoken will likely do online research to see what customers had to say. What prospects see on those review sites - including overall rating and themes in the comments - can make or break a sale.

How: Get ahead of those searches and make sure that your reviews put your best face forward. Do your competitors have more positive reviews? Get your best customers to chime in! Have the best reviews in town? Encourage your prospects to search for real customer feedback online. Let your customers be your best marketers.

Example: Not sure where to start? Search for “[Company Name] + Reviews” or “[Industry Term] + Reviews” and see which review sites come up first. Work with your best customers to get their voices represented there, and then encourage your prospects to do their research.

3. Turn Competitor Benefits Into Drawbacks

What: Every company will promote their strengths. Instead of trying to out-win them on that area, turn that self-proclaimed strength into a weakness.

How: “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” The same goes for competitor strengths and weaknesses. Take what a competitor proudly shouts as a benefit of their product and lean into the drawback of that approach. Then, your sales team can reference the competitor’s own positioning against them when a prospect asks about that competitor.

Example: Competitor positions themselves as the “#1 Email Tracking Tool for Sales Reps.” Company has a comparable email tracking tool for sales reps, but couples it with a reporting view for sales managers. Company uses positioning such as, “Competitor Y has a solid tool if your sales reps just want to track who opens their emails. If you want to get visibility into how emails are performing across the team, you need our product."

4. Find the Strengths People Care About

What: You may think your reporting feature is the best, but what customers rave about is the export function in similar tools. Discover what your customers love about similar products, and leverage that in your marketing and sales.

How: Research tangential companies on review sites - specifically looking for companies that sell to the same audience and/or have similar tools. See what customers cite as strengths and, in particular, what gets them excited. This can provide great insight into what will resonate most with your customers. Then emphasize your strengths in those areas.

Example: Say most competitors in your space focus on a certain set of features, but a related company - perhaps a point solution or different product for the same industry - has customer reviews raving about a weekly analytics report. Try promoting reporting functionality to see if those features resonate with your prospects.

5. Prepare for Objections

What: By monitoring your own positive and negative reviews, identify and prepare to handle the objections that are likely to come up. Have a playbook and soundbites for sales reps to address each objection regarding a weakness.

How: Identify weaknesses noted in reviews from your customers. In addition to surfacing the weaknesses to the relevant product/services teams, prepare the playbook for handling the questions about these issues. Also be sure to respond to negative reviews to publicly show how you address customer issues.

Example: Customer complains about product speed in a negative review. Company representative responds to acknowledge the feedback, address whether this is something that has been or is being addressed, and invites additional feedback. Company provides a soundbite to sales to address this comment if it comes up in a sales conversation.

How to Find Relevant Review Sites

If you’re not sure which review sites to target, here are a few ideas:

  1. Start with some popular review sites: Capterra, G2 Crowd, TrustPilot, TrustRadius, GetApp, Software Advice, or Yelp

  2. Check out App Stores: iTunes/Apple, Google Play, Microsoft Store, Salesforce AppExchange

  3. Search for "[company or industry name] + reviews” and see which sites come up

  4. Ask customers which sites they leveraged in their product research and evaluation

  5. Don’t forget about employee review sites like Glassdoor - there can be a lot of juicy intelligence hidden in reviews by employees

Have other tips for turning reviews into sales and marketing tools? Let us know!

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