May 8, 2024

10 Frameworks for Analyzing Your B2B Competition

Discover 10 frameworks for analyzing your B2B competition. Identify competitor's strengths & weaknesses

10 Frameworks for Analyzing Your B2B Competition

In the complex world of B2B, understanding your competitive landscape is no longer a luxury—it's a necessity.  It's about knowing who you're up against, anticipating their moves, and strategically positioning your business for success. This requires a deep dive into competitive analysis, a crucial process that helps you gain valuable insights into your rivals' strengths, weaknesses, strategies, and market positioning. 

This comprehensive guide will explore nine powerful frameworks that can transform your approach to competitive analysis, empowering you to make informed decisions and outperform the competition. Whether you're a seasoned marketer or just starting, these frameworks will equip you with the tools to dissect your rivals' strategies and uncover opportunities for growth.

What is Competitive Analysis?

Competitive analysis is a systematic process of gathering, analyzing, and interpreting information about your competitors. It's about identifying both direct and indirect competitors and understanding their products, services, target audience, marketing strategies, and overall market position. By conducting a thorough competitive analysis, you can gain a clear understanding of the competitive landscape and identify potential threats and opportunities for your own business. 

How to do B2B competitive analysis?

Before diving into the frameworks, let's establish a structured approach to conducting a B2B competitive analysis:

  1. Identify Your Competitors: Begin by pinpointing businesses that directly compete with your products or services. Remember to include both direct and indirect competitors to gain a comprehensive view of the competitive landscape.

  2. Gather Information: Utilize various sources to gather valuable data about your competitors. Websites, marketing materials, industry reports, and customer reviews are all excellent starting points.

  3. Choose Your Framework: Select the framework or combination of frameworks that best aligns with your specific business goals and the nature of your industry. Remember, the right framework will provide a structured approach to analyze and interpret your findings.

  4. Analyze and Interpret: Once you've gathered data using your chosen framework, analyze the information to identify trends, strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. This step is crucial in transforming data into actionable insights.

  5. Implement and Adapt: Translate your findings into strategic actions. This could involve refining your marketing message, adjusting your pricing strategy, or developing new product features to gain a competitive advantage. Importantly, remain adaptable and refine your strategies as the competitive landscape evolves.

Using a competitive analysis framework can provide the necessary guidance to conduct a strategic B2B competitive analysis, as highlighted by AI Bees. By following a systematic approach and leveraging the insights gained from the analysis, businesses can make informed decisions to outperform competitors and achieve sustainable growth. 

10 Frameworks for Analyzing Your B2B Competition

Let's delve into some proven frameworks that can provide you with a structured approach to analyzing your competitive landscape:

Porter's Five Forces Analysis

This widely used model helps you assess the attractiveness and profitability of your industry. Developed by Michael Porter, it encourages you to analyze five competitive forces that shape any industry:

  • Threat of New Entrants:  How easy is it for new competitors to enter your market?

  • Bargaining Power of Buyers:  How much influence do your customers have over pricing and terms?

  • Bargaining Power of Suppliers: How much power do your suppliers have to dictate pricing and availability?

  • Threat of Substitutes: What alternative products or services could customers choose over yours?

  • Competitive Rivalry: How intense is the competition among existing players in your industry?

By carefully considering each force, you can identify opportunities and threats presented by the industry structure. This understanding will allow you to make informed decisions regarding your competitive strategy. 

SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)

A SWOT Analysis is a versatile tool that provides a structured way to evaluate your company's internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities and threats. 

  • Strengths: What internal advantages does your company possess?

  • Weaknesses: What areas need improvement within your company?

  • Opportunities: What external factors can your company capitalize on?

  • Threats: What external factors could potentially harm your company? 

By analyzing these four areas, you can gain insights into your competitive advantages, areas for improvement, and potential avenues for growth. Remember to consider both the internal and external factors that can impact your business when conducting this analysis. 

Perceptual Mapping / Market Positioning Maps

Want to visualize your competitive positioning? Use a perceptual map. This visual tool maps out how customers perceive your brand and your competitors' brands based on key attributes like price, quality, or features. 

By placing yourself on the map relative to competitors, you can:

  • Identify gaps in the market

  • Pinpoint opportunities for differentiation 

  • Refine your target audience and messaging 

Strategic Group Analysis

Not all competitors are created equal. Strategic group analysis helps you identify clusters of competitors that share similar strategies, resources, or target markets. 

You can group competitors based on factors like:

  • Product/service offerings

  • Pricing strategies

  • Distribution channels

  • Target customer segments

By understanding the different strategic groups, you can gain insights into the competitive dynamics within your industry.

PESTLE framework

This framework encourages you to look beyond your immediate competitors and consider the broader macro-environmental factors that can impact your business. PESTLE stands for:

  • Political: Government policies, regulations, and political stability

  • Economic: Economic growth, inflation, interest rates, and exchange rates

  • Social: Demographics, cultural trends, lifestyle changes, and consumer behavior

  • Technological: Technological advancements, innovations, and automation

  • Legal: Laws, regulations, and legal frameworks

  • Environmental: Sustainability concerns, climate change, and environmental regulations

By considering these external factors, you can proactively identify potential opportunities and threats emerging in the external environment. 

Marketing Mix / 7 Ps Model

The marketing mix, often referred to as the 7 Ps, is a framework that helps you analyze and optimize your marketing strategy. The 7 Ps are: 

  • Product/Service:  What are you offering to the market?

  • Price: What is your pricing strategy? 

  • Place (Distribution):  How will you get your product/service to your target market? 

  • Promotion:  How will you communicate the value of your product/service to your target audience?

  • People: Who are the people involved in delivering and supporting your product/service?

  • Process: What are the steps involved in delivering your product/service to the customer?

  • Physical Evidence: What tangible elements influence customer perception of your brand? (e.g., website, packaging, physical location)

By analyzing your marketing mix, you can identify areas for improvement and optimize your marketing efforts for better results. 

Business Model Canvas

The Business Model Canvas is a visual tool that allows you to describe, analyze, and design your business model on a single page. It consists of nine key building blocks: 

  • Customer Segments: Who are your target customers?

  • Value Propositions: What value do you deliver to each customer segment?

  • Channels:  How do you reach and interact with your customers? 

  • Customer Relationships: What type of relationships do you establish and maintain with each customer segment?

  • Revenue Streams:  How do you generate revenue from each customer segment? 

  • Key Activities:  What are the most important actions your business takes to operate successfully? 

  • Key Resources:  What are the most important assets required to make your business model work?

  • Key Partnerships: Who are your key partners and suppliers? 

  • Cost Structure: What are the most important costs inherent in your business model? 

By mapping out your business model, you can gain a holistic view of how all the components work together. This allows you to identify areas for innovation and differentiation. 

Blue Ocean Strategy Canvas

This framework encourages you to think outside the traditional boundaries of competition. Instead of competing in existing markets with established rivals (red oceans), it challenges you to create uncontested market space where competition is irrelevant (blue oceans). 

This framework involves:

  • Identifying your industry's key competitive factors.

  • Assessing your competitors' performance on these factors.

  • Exploring opportunities to create new value by:

  • Eliminating factors that are no longer relevant or valued by customers. 

  • Reducing factors that are over-served in the industry. 

  • Raising factors that are undervalued by the industry.

  • Creating completely new factors that the industry has never offered before.

Growth-Share Matrix (BCG Matrix)

The BCG matrix helps you analyze your product or service portfolio based on two key dimensions: market share and market growth rate.  It classifies your offerings into four categories:

  • Stars: High market share, high growth rate

  • Cash Cows: High market share, low growth rate

  • Question Marks: Low market share, high growth rate

  • Dogs: Low market share, low growth rate

By categorizing your offerings, you can make informed decisions about resource allocation, product development, and investment strategies.

Customer Journey Mapping

A customer journey map visually outlines the steps a customer goes through when interacting with your business, from initial awareness to post-purchase. However instead of looking at your customers, you can use this framework for analyzing your competitors, to understand:

  • Customer touchpoints:  Where and how customers interact with your competitor’s business.

  • Customer emotions: How customers feel at each stage of their journey.

  • Pain points: Any obstacles or challenges customers face. 

By mapping out the customer journey, you can identify gaps in your competitor’s customer experience and optimize your customer experience to better meet those customer needs at each stage. 

How to find your competitors

You might be thinking: "Finding my competitors should be easy, right?". Well, it's not always as simple as it seems.  Everyone has competitors. If you truly believe that you don't, then you don't understand your customers and market well enough. Sometimes, your competitors aren't who you initially thought they were. Let's explore a few ways to uncover those competitors, both direct and indirect: 

  • Start with your customers: Ask your customers who else they considered before choosing your product or service. Their answers will provide valuable insight into their decision-making process and reveal your true competitors.

  • Analyze industry reports and databases: Resources like industry publications, market research reports (e.g., Gartner, Forrester), and company databases (e.g., Crunchbase, Owler) offer valuable data on industry players, market share, and competitive landscapes. 

  • Leverage search engines:  Don't underestimate the power of a simple Google search. Use relevant keywords related to your industry and offerings to see who ranks highly in search results. Pay attention to companies consistently appearing in organic results and paid advertisements. 

  • Explore social media: Social media platforms are goldmines for identifying competitors. Look at who is actively engaging with your target audience, analyze their content strategy, and monitor industry-related hashtags to discover potential competitors. 

  • Attend industry events and conferences:  Networking at industry events allows you to gather information about competitors through conversations, presentations, and marketing materials. This direct engagement can reveal insights that might not be publicly available. 

Remember, identifying your competitors is not a one-time task. It's crucial to continuously monitor the competitive landscape as new players emerge, existing companies evolve, and market dynamics shift. By staying informed about your competition, you can adapt your strategies and maintain a competitive edge in the ever-changing B2B landscape. And what better way to stay informed than with a tool like Uncovered, which keeps you ahead of the game by monitoring your competitors for you?  

Digital Tools and Resources for Enhancing Your B2B Competition Analysis

In today's digital age, businesses have access to a wealth of tools and resources that can significantly streamline and enhance the process of competitive analysis.  Leveraging these tools can provide deeper insights, improve efficiency, and ultimately lead to more informed strategic decisions. Here's a closer look at some of the essential categories and examples:

1. Competitive Intelligence Platforms

Competitive intelligence platforms are designed specifically to gather, analyze, and track competitor data from various sources. These platforms employ advanced technologies such as web scraping, natural language processing, and machine learning to automate data collection and provide actionable insights.

Uncovered is one such example. As a competitive intelligence platform, Uncovered automates the process of gathering data on competitor pricing, positioning, features, and more, delivering real-time insights to B2B SaaS companies. This enables teams to stay ahead of the competition by understanding their moves and strategies. Other notable products include Klue and Crayon.

2. Sales Intelligence Tools

Sales intelligence tools focus on providing insights into prospects and competitors to enhance sales effectiveness. These tools aggregate data from various sources, including social media, company websites, and news articles, to create comprehensive company and contact profiles.

Examples: LinkedIn Sales Navigator, ZoomInfo, Crunchbase

3. Social Media Monitoring Tools

Social media platforms are goldmines of information about competitor activity, industry trends, and customer sentiment. Social media monitoring tools allow businesses to track competitor mentions, analyze brand sentiment, and identify potential opportunities or threats emerging from social conversations.

Examples: Brandwatch, Hootsuite Insights, Mention

4. Website Analytics Tools

Understanding how customers interact with competitor websites can provide valuable insights into their marketing strategies, target audience, and overall online presence. Website analytics tools provide data on website traffic, keyword rankings, backlinks, and other metrics that can inform competitive benchmarking and strategy development. 

Examples: Google Analytics, SimilarWeb, Ahrefs 

Leveraging Competitive Insights for Strategic Decision Making

Gathering competitive intelligence is only half the battle.  The real value emerges when you effectively leverage these insights to shape strategic decisions and gain a competitive edge.  Let's explore how to transform competitive data into actionable strategies.

First and foremost, remember the golden rule of intelligence: insight, not facts or data, is king.  It's easy to get bogged down with the sheer volume of information. Instead, focus on identifying patterns, trends, and anomalies that reveal your competitors' strengths, weaknesses, and potential future moves.

This approach is where a platform like Uncovered excels. Uncovered goes beyond simply aggregating data; it acts as an extension of your team, proactively analyzing competitor activities, such as pricing changes, feature updates, and website modifications.  This real-time intelligence empowers you to make informed decisions, whether it's adjusting your pricing strategy, refining your product roadmap, or optimizing your marketing campaigns.

For instance, imagine discovering that a key competitor significantly lowered their pricing. Instead of reacting impulsively, competitive insights can guide your response.  You can analyze their market positioning, target audience, and potential motivations behind the price drop. Armed with this knowledge, you can decide whether to engage in a price war, emphasize your value proposition, or target a different market segment. 

Avoiding Common Pitfalls in Competitive Analysis

Competitive analysis, while crucial, is often approached with certain biases and oversights that can skew results and limit its effectiveness. Let's explore some prevalent pitfalls to dodge for a truly insightful analysis.

One common misstep is the tendency to focus solely on well-established, prominent competitors while overlooking smaller, emerging players. These up-and-coming companies, often driven by innovation and agility, can disrupt the market unexpectedly. Keep in mind that your most threatening competitor might not be the industry giant you'd initially suspect. 

Another prevalent pitfall is the failure to conduct regular competitive analysis. The business landscape is constantly shifting, with new competitors emerging, existing ones evolving, and market dynamics changing rapidly. A study revealed that a surprising 61% of companies don't perform recurring analyses, leaving them vulnerable to blind spots. To ensure your analysis remains relevant and actionable, integrate it as an ongoing process, not a one-time event.

Additionally, neglecting the human element in competitive intelligence can significantly hinder your efforts. A staggering 40% of companies lack a dedicated expert for competitive intelligence, leading to scattered resources and ambiguity in ownership. Having a dedicated individual or team responsible for gathering, analyzing, and disseminating competitive intelligence is crucial.

As expert Benoit Claveranne, Group Chief Transformation Officer, AXA, aptly points out, "One risk we all have is that, at some point, you forget about reality and the market. You think just about your own plan, and you start living in your new reality." This highlights the danger of becoming internally focused and losing sight of the external competitive landscape.  Avoid this by cultivating a culture of continuous learning, encouraging open communication, and actively seeking diverse perspectives to challenge internal assumptions and biases.

Uncovered automates Competitive Intelligence for B2B SaaS marketing, product, and sales teams. Monitor your competitors pricing, positioning, feature changes, A/B tests, and more.

Made in Europe 🇪🇺

Uncovered Intelligence UAB. All rights reserved. © 2024

Uncovered automates Competitive Intelligence for B2B SaaS marketing, product, and sales teams. Monitor your competitors pricing, positioning, feature changes, A/B tests, and more.

Made in Europe 🇪🇺

Uncovered Intelligence UAB. All rights reserved.
© 2024

Uncovered automates Competitive Intelligence for B2B SaaS marketing, product, and sales teams. Monitor your competitors pricing, positioning, feature changes, A/B tests, and more.

Made in Europe 🇪🇺

Uncovered Intelligence UAB. All rights reserved. © 2024