Analyzing your competition and dissecting the ways they show up in the marketplace gives you a strategic advantage. Specifically, it can help you improve your business processes.

In this article, we’ll share 7 specific ways your competitors can help you improve various workflows.

1. Optimize your marketing process

Running a thorough competitive analysis can help you uncover new opportunities, map out market trends and develop new products to fill existing gaps. It can also help you improve your marketing process. Not sure where to start? Here are two things you can do straight away.

Sign up for promotional materials and use the insights to rethink your own

Head over to the competition’s site and sign up for their email list. Follow them on social media and click on their ads. Join the forums and groups they use. This will give you a unique insight into the type of funnels they use and whether they leverage retargeting or not.

You can then use this information to improve your own promotional funnels. Plus, the analysis is a great way to get some (free) inspiration.

Study their lead generation strategy

How are your competitors getting leads? Are they leaning heavily on ads, embracing content marketing, running local events, partnering up with complementary brands or running a great customer referral program?

Studying and breaking down their practices can help generate ideas for your own business processes. While we advise against simply copying other people’s practices, using them as a starting point to run tests could give you an advantage.

2. Optimize your sales process

Every business needs to make sales. Studying how your competitors handle this part of the business can give you fresh ideas you can add to your own sales process.

There are a few different ways you can approach this. If your competition sells lower-value items, buying from them will give you a direct look at their sales techniques (including sales scripts), customer service and follow-up style.

If you can’t buy something, you can try booking a demo, scheduling a consultation or setting up a trial. Make a note of the sales steps they follow and decide if adding any of them to your business processes can help you improve conversion rates.

3. Optimize your customer service process

A business can’t survive without customers. Providing first-class customer service across different channels is crucial. According to a study by Salesforce:

  • 84% of customers expect you to offer a real, human experience
  • 70% of customers want to see a cohesive, connected brand experience across all the different channels– from email, to phone, to social media
  • 59% of customers feel that creating a tailored experience based on their past interactions with your brand is very important

Studying how your competition handles customer service can help you improve your own. Here are some simple ways you can do that:

  • Sign up as a customer. Experience things first hand by interacting with your competitors’ customer service team directly
  • Mine online reviews. Go to the relevant review platform (depending on your industry) and study the reviews, paying particular attention to specific experiences
  • Study their social media profiles. A lot of businesses use social media to offer some customer service. Read through the posts and make note of specific experiences.

Use what you learned to streamline your own customer service process. If your competition is doing a poor job of customer service, you can use that as a way to position your brand as a better option for customers who want a fantastic personal experience.

4. Improve your employee onboarding and team cohesion

Your team can make or break your business. Studying how your competition treats their team can help you increase employee retention and improve various processes.

Use sites like GlassDoor, Indeed and LinkedIn to read through reviews from past and current employees, study the benefits and salaries on offer, and learn about their interview and onboarding processes. Use that information to improve your own HR practices.

5. Improve your automation process

A lot of businesses are using smart automation to simplify crucial business processes using algorithms. You can study how your competition is using Messenger bots, on-site bots, and other forms of automation to improve the user experience (UX) and customer experience (CX).

Getting that information isn’t always easy– you can start by speaking to any bot you can and see how deep you can go from there. Pay attention to customer comments on social media too– do they like the automation? Hate it? This can show you how your market feels about automation and give you a jumping off point for your own automation efforts.

6. Optimize your business toolbox

What tools are your competitors using to build their funnels, to create ads, to manage sales and store customer information?

You can discover this by carefully studying their site, their offers, and signing up for their promotions. A lot of businesses openly talk about the tools they use on blogs, podcasts, webinars and social media so use these as a starting point for your sleuthing. Use this information to update and streamline your own toolkit.

7. Improve product launches and promotions

How often do you launch new products, run promotions or release updates? And how successful are they?

Studying how your competitors handle launches and promotions can give you specific ideas that can increase your own conversion rates. To get a closer look, sign-up for targeted lead-magnets, set up Google alerts around launch-related keywords, and regularly check their site.

Pay special attention to customer feedback on social media, in forums and in reviews. This can reveal how effective the launches actually are.

Use competitor research as a source of inspiration and learning

Studying your competitors can give you an idea of what’s happening in your industry and what the standards are. You can use these ideas to improve your own business processes and increase your market reach.