Why it doesn't help to compare.....

Updated: 5 hours ago



You know the old saying about comparing apples and oranges? Well there is some logic in it. It feels like IT vendors can easily fall into the trap of being compared - and in some cases being eager to be compared with a peer group when perhaps it doesn't help to compare....


I have spoken to a number of software and hardware technology vendors in the last week and there is a common theme. Whether they are big or small, new or old - they are dedicating crucial sales, marketing and senior leadership time to demonstrate to the leading analyst firms that they should be in a box with other vendors - and ideally a little bit higher and to the right than one of their peer group.


We understand that it is important - the analysts play such a crucial role. Just be careful when you choose to be a contender and what you are contending for.....


Comparisons can be good - but watch out:


Being number one in those comparisons is a beautiful thing. Being number two is pretty good but perhaps not ideal as your greatest rival has one over on you. Being in 'the group' - it's alright I guess. But there are a few gotchas when you seek to be compared:


1. Watch out for what you are being compared against....


SO many vendors do not fit in one particular mould or another. They are unique. They are an orange in a world of apples. Rather than being celebrated for being (for example) the best software business in your warehousing niche - you are being looked at as a poor relation in a comparison of retail application vendors. Being on a list of vendors that an analyst is currently reviewing will make you standout - but maybe not in the positive way that you wish.


2. Small can be perfectly formed....


Often, as a new vendor or an up and coming new technology player you aspire to be in the comparison. To rub shoulders with the big boys in the club. To show that you are better than or equal to some of the most established businesses in your sector. You probably have technology that is a generational shift. You may be winning new clients with your amazing new platform. This should be celebrated - you should be highlighted for your achievements. Unfortunately comparisons don't often work out like that. You may be cool and exciting and a major evolution on the current crop - but unless you can tick ALL the boxes - it's going to be difficult for you to be in 'the club'.


3. Making up the numbers or cannon fodder?


Sitting in the wrong box or arc can spell end of some vendors. I have lost count of how many times I heard a prospect tell me that they are 'only considering' the vendors in the top right. Not every vendor can be a winner. Not every vendor can be in the club. So - what does that mean to those that are considered to be outside of the elite? For some, it can be the end of their business. For others, it can be a major drop-off in sales revenue. Or perhaps the next investment round is a little lower.


4. Can you compete?


Remember that your peer group will likely have been on those analyst diagrams for years. They will in some cases have become the defacto standard. Rightly or wrongly, if you don't do what they do in the very established sector - you aren't going to outrank them. You are going to be benchmarked against the establishment. But you likely didn't build your new business to be the establishment - you built it to BEAT the establishment....


A different way?


The box, grid, arc - whatever that comparison chart is and whoever the analyst is, your time will come. You do need to be on it to progress your business to the next level. At Viewpoint Analysis we are big believers in building-up your reputation, customer base and momentum ahead of throwing your hat in the ring. You - whatever you do, whatever you make, whoever you sell to - you are unique. You likely do something that nobody else does. Showcase that. Be known for that USP. Build your brand. Build your reputation. Work with your PR team and independent analysts - but focus on what makes you BRILLIANT. What makes your product or your services the BEST.


Then....when you are ready. When the analysis focuses on your area (and it fits what you do). When the analyst knows who you are. When the world know who you are. When your customers have nothing but praise for you. Then....go get the comparison. Let others be benchmarked against you. Show that you are number 1. Or show why you are catching up quickly.