Most of us think about rival companies targeting the same market as “the competition.” But that’s only one kind of competition you face in key account sales. And in many respects that competition is the easiest to deal with, because it is out there, in your face, and visible.

There are two other kinds of competition, though, and it is just as important to think about them when putting together a sales strategy. Let’s look closely at both.

  • Passive competition can be very challenging, because it amounts to the customer “doing nothing.” It’s important to recognize that in most B2B deals there are two sales going on at the same time. First, the customer has to see you as better a better option than the real competition. The second sale is all about convincing the customer to change the status quo, and getting them to commit the resources necessary to do that. You can win the first sale, lose the second— and still come away empty-handed.
  • Competition for resources. It’s not uncommon to face a situation in which another organization, selling a different solution for a different problem, is competing for the same budget resources. Or alternatively, internal competition among department heads or political jockeying for power moves some other project to the front burner, stealing the C-suite attention your deal needs to make the cut.

An old saying comes to mind, and applies to both these situations: Keep your eye on the ball. In this case the ball is the customer, and staying focused on their needs is the best way to deal with competition. When you do that, you are well-positioned to manage the competition, rather than simply react to it.

Source: A post by Richard Ruff. For more, visit

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