Business Growth Blog

Competitive Advantage

Core Values: Fluffy B.S. or Competitive Advantage?

Most small businesses don’t spend much time thinking about their core values. It’s a concept that can frankly seem like fluffy B.S., especially when everyone and their brother talks about the same things: great customer service, team player, integrity, etc.

If not done right, they can easily end up sounding like familiar platitudes.

I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about core values myself, actually, until I started reading some popular business books – they all talk about them. It got me wondering if I was missing a key element in the development of Ascend Business Growth.

Daniel Cable’s description of core values in his book, Change to Strange, Create a Great Organization by Building a Strange Workforce, really got my wheels turning. He starts off by saying:

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4 Strategies for Defining Your Competitive Advantage

This may sound crazy, but one of the hardest things to do from a business perspective is figuring out…what you actually do.

Oh sure, you know in general what you do – you offer some products or services, yada, yada, yada. That’s nice, but you’re normally not the only gig in town offering similar – or the same – products and services. What it really comes down to is this: why would someone want to buy from you vs. someone else?

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How a Competitor Analysis Can Improve Your Website

Determining what should be on your website, let alone how it should look and function, is not a task for the faint of heart. It's one of those projects that takes a lot of hard thinking and seems never to end (which it shouldn't - you should be continually working to drive better results from your site). However, there is one thing you can do to make it easier, save time, and ensure you're keeping up with - or surpassing - industry trends: a competitor analysis.

Here are 5 ways a competitor analysis can help you create a better website:

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Marketo vs. HubSpot: Example of Competitive Differentiation Gone Awry

I recently received an email campaign Marketo put together to target HubSpot users such as myself. My agency is a HubSpot Gold partner and we’ve been using their technology to manage our marketing efforts for many years now. Marketo is one of HubSpot’s biggest competitors.

The purpose of the email was to let me know that Marketo is better than HubSpot (from their perspective anyway) and ask me to schedule a meeting for further discussion.

When I dissect the exchange between me and the Marketo rep and the emotions it invoked from my perspective as the prospect, it reinforced many of the things I’ve been writing about regarding buyer personas, sales messaging, and differentiating from the competition.

Read more to get a real life example of the prospecting process and see firsthand what sales strategies can engage - or disengage - a potential customer.

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3 Ways to Differentiate from the Competition

Salespeople always think that their product or service is better than the competition, so prospects should naturally choose them, right? Wrong.

When you look at it from the prospects perspective, there usually isn’t much difference between companies. It’s hard to find that one defining factor that stands out above the rest. This became glaringly evident as I recently entered into the sales cycle to purchase a new furnace for my home.

Read more to find out how to identify differentiators and use them with the right prospect at the right time.

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