B2B / Professional Services – Competitor Research & Mystery Shopping

The Brief

Customerwise Ltd was approached by a B2B consultancy/service provider to oversee a comprehensive competitor research project, which included conducting “mystery” B2B sales inquiries.

The client, the largest company of its kind in the UK, faces ongoing competition from law firms of all sizes, as well as other similar consultancy firms.

The client sought to gain insights into the overall competitive landscape and specific information about particular competitors. This included pricing models, sales techniques used by staff, incentives, positioning, and broader marketing and business strategies.

Our Approach

We collaborated with the company to brainstorm and identify viable ideas for gathering information through the research. These ideas included:

  1. Gathering intelligence from competitor websites:
    • Assessing online content quality and quantity
    • Evaluating general appeal, functionality, and accessibility
    • Analyzing competitor online engagement tactics (e.g., behavioral automation, lead generation techniques, etc.)
    • Examining social media presence and activity
    • Investigating strategic partnerships and affiliations
  2. Acquiring intelligence through online, telephone, or in-person contact:
    • Identifying apparent specializations
    • Understanding pricing structure, limits, thresholds, and add-on services
    • Evaluating software solutions and their capabilities
    • Analyzing the sales process employed by competing companies
    • Assessing the quality of enquiry handling and sales skills demonstrated by staff
    • Examining positioning and approach towards competition
    • Exploring the range of complementary services
    • Investigating key contract terms
    • Observing follow-up activities by sales staff
    • Noting specific details related to the services and industry
    • Summarizing overall impressions

We then devised a strategy, including a plausible approach to enquiries, to gather the required information. Subsequently, we made all the necessary preparations to ensure the success of the project and to unveil the desired information.

Each known competitor was the focus of an individual report, and the results were compiled, compared, and summarized for presentation.

The individual report structure allowed for written commentary across several areas, ensuring that any factors influencing a decision to use or not use a particular company were included in each report.

Overall, our goal was to maintain a balanced and open-minded approach to identify the perceived strengths and weaknesses of each competitor’s offerings.

The project had to be completed within a tight timeframe as the information was intended for use during an upcoming conference and to facilitate strategic decision-making.

Execution and Delivery

The project was delivered on time, and we exceeded the agreed-upon parameters of the project in several ways:

  • We included a higher number of target businesses.
  • During data collection, we made additional suggestions to enhance report content, formatting, and presentation. These suggestions were appreciated by the client, approved, and implemented.
  • The amount of information obtained from each target surpassed the client’s expectations.

In addition to the agreed deliverables, we produced an executive report summarizing the key strengths and weaknesses of each competitor, along with a subjective ranking of their appeal.

Value and Impact

The quality and quantity of the data surpassed the client’s expectations. The findings themselves proved to be of significant commercial value and will influence the client’s pricing, sales, and marketing strategies moving forward.

The research as a whole revealed numerous previously unknown details about the strengths and weaknesses of the client’s competitors, placing the company in a much more knowledgeable position in terms of their place within their competitive environment.

The company plans to undertake further competitive research through Customerwise in the near future.

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Paul works creatively with a broad range of B2C and B2B organisations to help them find ways to compete more effectively. Read More...

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