Launching a startup is exciting, but it also comes with plenty of challenges.
Around 100 million startups are created every year, which makes it incredibly difficult to stand out and survive.
Because of this, many fail.
However, if you put the right measures in place and work on creating a competitive edge, you might just stand a chance.
A competitive edge is vital in the B2B startup space today. There’s a reason customers keep going back to businesses again and again – it’s because they’ve found something that makes it better than other options.
This might mean the price is more affordable or it’s closer to their home. It might even be that they share a similar vision or have moral views in common.
How can you make sure you stand out and attract the customers you want? Here are our top tips.
1. Become an Expert
The more people who know about your business and respect what you’re doing and have to say, the more customers you’re going to get. Becoming an expert isn’t something that happens overnight, but there are steps you can take to get there.
For example, you can:
- Write thought leadership blog posts that show off your expertise and experience
- Use your social channels to solve major pain points to build trust
- Speak at conferences and events to position yourself as an expert
- Collaborate with other high-profile businesses
- Promote your message wherever you can, whether that’s via email, on podcasts, in person, or somewhere else
Drift runs a series of webinars alongside other high-profile B2B brands that help customers tackle key issues.
2. Figure Out Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Chances are, there are a ton of other businesses already selling what you’re selling. That doesn’t mean you can’t gain a competitive edge, though. The key is figuring out what makes your business unique and different from the others.
Perhaps you have a special social angle, or perhaps your product or service allows users to complete tasks cheaper or faster than your competitors. Whatever the reason, pinpoint it and shout about it.
Plenty of similar businesses coexist in the same industry together. The ones that survive know what their strengths are and play on those to stand out and differentiate.
Here is a quick guide to figuring out your USP:
- Write down all the things that your business offers, whether they’re tangible or intangible (e.g., saves people $100 per month or five hours per week)
- Research your competitors and determine what their selling points are so you can offer something different
- Find the gaps in your competitor’s offerings and see if you can fill them
Salesforce promises to help its customers sell smarter and faster. It’s also positioned as the best CRM in the world, which certainly helps.
3. Focus Your Niche
Not everyone is going to want or need your product or service – and that’s a good thing.
Businesses that try to target everyone end up targeting no one at all.
By focusing on a specific niche, you’re essentially positioning yourself in your industry and differentiating your company from competitors.
Your niche can be a specific industry that you help or it can refer to the specific type of person you help. For example, if you offer a time management app, you might target marketing managers who are in charge of small teams, or you might target the finance industry in general.
This immediately gives you a competitive edge, because anyone in those industries or who identifies with the people you’re targeting will see your product or service as the best option for them.
It also helps you solidify your messaging so you can speak directly to your target customers through email, social channels and your website.
Hortonworks targets data-driven enterprises and explicitly states this on its website.
4. Create an Unbeatable Customer Experience
The customer experience has never been so important.
Consumers today crave deeper connections with the businesses they buy from, and this is true for B2B buyers as well.
Making sure your customers have an enjoyable experience from start to finish will give them a good feeling about your business and make them more likely to buy from you again or recommend you.
Creating a customer experience that shines is fairly easy:
- Determine what your customers want. If you’re targeting busy workers in management roles, you want to make the onboarding process as simple and as quick as possible so as not to waste too much of their time.
- Make sure there are plenty of touchpoints where customers can reach out to you, whether that’s on social media or via a support chat.
- Personalize as much as you can. Try segmenting the different kinds of customers you have so that you can serve them highly-aligned information as and when they need it.
- Provide information for customers who are at different stages of the sales cycle. Someone who doesn’t yet know they have a problem that needs solving is going to need different information than someone who has been given the go-ahead by stakeholders to buy.
A Competitive Edge is Vital in Today’s B2B Startup World
With so many startups cropping up every day, gaining a competitive edge is so important if you don’t want to fail.
Luckily, there are a few key ways you can differentiate yourself from your competitors and stand out. Start by figuring out your USP and your niche, and then begin providing personalized information to customers and potential leads.