Sales & Marketing

Stay two steps ahead of the competition with these simple tips

4 min read

13 December 2016

To stay ahead of the competition, you should ensure your unique selling point is solving a problem that customers are willing to pay for.

If you can achieve this, staying ahead of the competition will be a slice of cake. And when rivals rush in for the piece of the action, don’t stress too much – the fact that firms are trying to emulate you is a sign that you’re onto something.

Ensuring your company stands ahead of the competition comes down to having a world-class product that is strengthened by consistent customer feedback. If you follow these four tips, you can be sure you’re heading in the right direction.

1) Ensure your core product is strong

When first entering the marketplace, your core product must be able to evolve into something significant. It can’t be seen as niche or have a limited shelf life. You should be able to build on your core product to meet the future needs of your customers. This ensures your continuity as the market increases in size and scope.

2) Strive to deliver the best possible value

To compete (and win) in enterprise technology, companies must have a product that solves a clear problem and quickly delivers value to the customer. The modern workforce needs to be able to access your solution quickly and easily. They must also see immediate value. To this effect, it’s also imperative that you measure customer satisfaction. This will allow you to gauge your performance against their needs, so you can continually improve your service and thus remain ahead of the competition.

3) Take feedback on board

Once you have entered the market and customers are adopting your product, they are going to explore new use cases for it – use cases that may not have been in your original business plan. Listening to your customers and adapting to support off-label usage will take your customers and your business to new heights.

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4) Keep an eye on your competitors

The nature of the tech industry is that it is ripe with cooperation and competition, so it’s common for companies to compete and partner simultaneously. As tech consolidation continues and companies develop and expand their services, co-opetition will only increase. A prime example of this co-opetition is our relationship with Microsoft. We partner with Microsoft on Office 365, as many of our customers use the cloud-based email service. And while we also go head-to-head with them in the identity space, we don’t allow for that competition to affect our partnership. The way we view the situation is the more applications and services (such as Office 365) in the cloud, the more value our customers will see in Okta’s service.

Considering how saturated the technology market is, it is no wonder that many emerging companies are struggling to make their mark. In order to stand out, you need to ensure there is a clear need and desire for your product. Always striving to provide the best value to your customers will reassure your clientele that you can meet their expectations and value their feedback – both the good and the bad. Getting the basics right will put your business in the best place to succeed.

Todd McKinnon is CEO and co-founder of Okta

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