It is common to hear leaders of professional services companies comment that even though they are more qualified to perform work for customers, are being underbid by competition. There are other leaders who are underbidding but leaving them to struggle for growth.
If you fall into either of the categories, you must explore a stronger differentiation strategy.
WHAT IS A DIFFERENTIATION STRATEGY?
A differentiation strategy represents the way ‘your organization’ stands out from the competition. It involves showcasing a significant difference between you and your competitors. Importantly, the difference must be of value by your prospective customers. Stronger the differentiator, better would be your competitive advantage.
There are multiple approaches for your differentiation strategy
1. Competing on price.
Using price as a differentiation strategy works for a limited period. It may not be sustainable as competitors try to match with your price and even undercut below your price. Additionally, pressures mount on the value chain to continuously reduce costs, which may not be sustainable. Further, this strategy may expose you to ‘commoditization’ with a wider competitor base. Competing always on price may work if your organization is looking for ‘volume-based’ business, but the risk of global competition always exists.
2. Letting your products & services be different.
Another real differentiator is to separate your firm from competitors in ways that are both significant and relevant to your prospective customers. Further, such a strategy could be broad-based or a narrow one (niche markets). Taking the narrow path goes by the name of focused or concentrated strategy.
3. Competing on price and product uniqueness.
This strategy amalgamates price as well as product/service uniqueness. Achieving this lethal combination is not easy unless the organization was built on such an ‘business model.’ When done right, this strategy may not be easily replicable by competition.
ADVANTAGES OF A DIFFERENTIATION STRATEGY
- Since your organization has a clear differentiator, prospective clients may not be able to reduce the conversation to price alone.
- Being uniquely different, your organization is much better placed to make an appealing offer and trigger customer interest.
- As prospective customers cannot draw direct comparisons with your competitors, it forces them to review your value proposition beyond price.
- When your organizations offer value that is not found in your competitors, your products and services enjoy greater customer ‘stickiness.’ It is unlikely that customers switch to competitors.
- If your differentiator is indeed unique, you are better placed to charge a premium to your products and services.
THE PRODUCTDOSSIER’S DIFFERENTIATION STRATEGY
Being a professional services company offering TouchBase Project & Portfolio Management (PPM) solution, we have the twin advantages of ‘unique product differentiators’ as well as a ‘higher value to investment ratio.’
TouchBase PPM Differentiators
- An Out-of-the-Box solution yet tailored to customer needs.
- Core solutions specific to industry and customer product/service life cycles.
- Solution finetuned to the customer’s organizational standards, workflows, and processes.
- An end-to-end PPM solution
|Project Types||External Customers, New Product Development, Strategic Internal Initiatives|
|Industry Life Cycles||Professional Services, EPC, Solar, Pharma, Engineering, Consumer Durables, FMCG, etc.|
|Business Functions||Pre-Sales, Proposals, Contracts, Project Management, Financials, Resources, Engineering Data Mgt., Compliance, Procurement, Risks, and Quality.|
|PPM Approaches||Predictive, Agile, Hybrid.|
|Systems Integration||ERPs, CRMs, HRMS, Accounting, etc.|
HOW TO TEST AN ORGANIZATION’S DIFFERENTIATOR?
Organizations tend to claim a host of differentiators, but these need to be tested. Experts suggest leaders to focus on three fundamental questions.
- Is it true?
- Is it relevant?
- Is it provable?
Business leaders must insist on getting real insights into three fundamental questions. For that to happen, potential customers may have to make personal visits to service providers, observe the organizational culture, and interact with the service provider’s employees. Further, leaders must talk to the vendor’s existing customers to get the ‘real picture’. Finally, they must experience the product/ service before signing the dotted line.
At ProductDossier, we believe in letting our customers know our products as well as experience what our product does and see them in action at our existing clients. Yes, this approach is our ‘biggest differentiator’!