There are two things you need to know about competition in SaaS:
Number one, competition is a good thing because it validates the problem you are solving. It validates its important and urgent problem that needs solving.
Number two, do not obsess about the competitors. Ultimately your biggest competitor is you. You have to beat yourself by getting better and better. You do this by analyzing your competitors.
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In this post, I’m walking you through the five steps involved in performing a SaaS competitive analysis.
- Social Analysis
- AD Analysis
- SEO Analysis
- Strategic Narrative Analysis
- Customer (and Segment) Analysis
Over time, I developed a framework for dealing with competition. How to make sure you use competition to propel yourself forward and better serve the customer.
Let’s dive into the first thing I do when I’m looking to analyze my competitors.
Step #1: Social Analysis
Linkedin has company pages. As a premium LinkedIn subscriber, you can go to the company page and see the employee insights and specifically the jobs the competitors are hiring for. This lets you know what resources they are putting their money towards. Is it marketing? Development? Sales?
It will also tell you the composition of the company.
Lastly, I check out the CEO’s page. Are they putting out information about their customers or dormant?
This will give you clues on how to compete with them because you see where their people are and what they are putting their money towards. It sheds light on where they are putting their effort.
Step #2: AD Analysis
Facebook has an ads transparency tool that lets you see what ADs your competitors are actually running! If they are running ads, you will be able to see all the ads they are running and where and how people are engaging with them. It’s super powerful and gives you an unfair insight into how they’re spending their AD budget
You can type in your direct competitor and see what ads they are running. This lets you see their positioning, offer, and messaging.
The other thing I look at if possible are comments. How are people receiving the ads they are running? This gives me an idea of what type of messaging is resonating with the marketing.
Not every business runs ads but it is worth checking out.
Step #3: SEO Analysis
Ahrefs is great at helping you understand marketing demand.
What I like to do is type in the domain name of your competitor and see top pages on the websites they are being found and linked to.
When you sort by this you can see what the most popular pages on their website are. Hence, what the market is searching for and how they’re generating (and benefitting from) SEO traffic.
Chances are they are also running PPC ads. In ahrefs you can see what their PPC ads are.
This gives you an idea of what your competitor sees as the biggest opportunities in the market
Step #4: Strategic Narrative Analysis
The first thing you want to understand is what is their messaging and positioning?
Start to get a good feel for their big value proposition and narrative.
How are they driving urgency?
The second thing to look at is their sales motion and pricing. Are they offering a free trial or are they sales-driven?
Are they publishing their prices or keeping them behind the sales process? Are they priced higher or lower than you?
These are all things you should take note of because there is a good chance your prospective buyer is also discovering them.
So what is the persuasion they are driving to get the customer to go with them instead of you?
You also want to see what their lead magnets are. If they have one, go sign up for it and get a feel for how they communicate with their customers.
Based on that, you can think about how to make your go-to-market strategy better.
Lastly, look at their blog. I always say the blog is the window into the soul of the company. Whatever they are blogging about, chances are it’s what they are thinking about.
What are they publishing and how often?
All of this helps you understand what’s going on in their world and how they think about it.
Once you’ve done all of these, there is one last place I like to go.
Step #5: Customer (and Segment) Analysis
G2Crowd is great for viewing specific reviews around a SaaS business, as well as, what market segment they are best in.
You can learn what their weaknesses are and how you can incorporate them into your core growth strategy.
Remember competition is ultimately with you. You need to be getting better every single day. By looking at your competitors, you are able to identify opportunities where YOU can get better.
What you don’t want to be doing is knee-jerking. If you keep reacting to what your competitors are doing chances are you are taking the wrong steps for the wrong reasons. It’s not about copying what they are doing, but analyzing and seeing if it’s right for your go-to-market strategy.
Be sure to watch this video, because I shared even more than I did in this post. My goal is to really help you understand how to better analyze your competitors so you can accelerate the growth of your business. This video will help you do just that.