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How to Leverage Product Reviews In Your Competitor Analysis

Review sites are jam-packed with competitive intelligence (CI). On review sites, you’ll find both happy and unhappy customers giving insight into your competitors’ products and outlining strengths and weaknesses. You’ll also gain visibility into when and how competitors respond to customer issues. You’ll get direct and public customer feedback, without the outreach. 

How do you then turn that intelligence into a tool to help your sales team win more deals? Certainly, it’s more than sending the review itself around the office. Collecting third-party reviews is an important piece to your complete competitor analysis. Here are five ways to incorporate competitor product reviews into your competitor analysis so that you can build tools to help your sales team win more deals.

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 reps 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?"

Ready to get started? Download your free competitive analysis template

2. Use Search to Your Advantage

What: Your prospects will more than likely do online research to see what customers have to say about your product. 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 its strengths. Instead of trying to out-win them in 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 Product Review Sites

The most important sources of reviews to monitor will depend on your product/industry. For most software/service companies, G2 is the most important source of product reviews. With over a million verified reviews, it’s an excellent source of competitive intel. Other review sites like Capterra, TrustPilot, TrustRadius, and Software Advice are similarly worth targeting. 

App marketplaces like iTunes/Apple, Google Play, and the Salesforce AppExchange can also be valuable sources of intel. When in doubt, searching for "[company or industry name] + reviews” will yield any other sites where reviews live. Don’t forget about employee review sites as well. Glassdoor, Indeed, and others are excellent sources of intelligence that come straight from your competitors’ employees.

Be sure to continuously monitor sites like G2 as reviews come in for your product and your competitors’ products. Over time, you can start to identify trends, spot anomalies, and get a better understanding of the types of customers who like (or dislike) aspects of your competitors’ products. Using a competitive intelligence platform that can directly intake, filter, and analyze competitor reviews makes the process much easier and allows for more in-depth analysis of trends and anomalies. 

That’s why we’re excited to announce Crayon’s formal partnership and product integration with G2. As the only platform that is directly fed by competitive reviews via G2, Crayon now allows for seamless intake and analysis of this key piece of competitive intel.

To learn more about how Crayon and G2 work together, check out the full details, here. 

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Originally published on August 15, 2017 by Ellie Mirman. Updated on September 1, 2020 by Ben Cope. 

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Ben Cope
Ben Cope, a Crayon alum, is currently Senior Manager of Growth Marketing at Recorded Future, the world's largest provider of intelligence for enterprise security. Previously, Ben spent three years working in both marketing and sales roles at Salsify. When he isn't cobbling together marketing campaigns, you'll find him attempting to cook something overly elaborate or bopping around music venues in Boston.