Market forecasts – how I would get them wrong – 3

Assumptions, B2B, Marketing, Product Management

So in my last 2 posts I wrote about couple of areas, on how as a product manager, I would get my forecasts wrong.

In this one, we will talk about competition. Whenever there’s a good market, you will have competition come in, sooner rather than later. The more the competition, the more the challenges because you have to estimate in advance how competition would react to your offering.

The advantage of the B2B market is that generally, the competition is defined. Until a rank outsider comes in with a revolutionary product, generally the B2B space is defined and the products/services are also known.

In the market – perception is the reality. So if your competition creates a perception of a superior product/service or a cheaper service or a more flexible service, then all your forecasts can go haywire, if the market believes that your product is inferior in any way / more expensive / less flexible.

When you are working with a specific software tool or you are a partner for only a specific kind of equipment, then your options for differentiation decrease. It limits you to primarily two things – experience that you have and the kind of technical expertise that you have created.

If its your own product/service you can leverage on other things like the kind of packaging that you do, or the software code that you have built.

From a competition perspective the other thing that you need to note is the number of sales people in the market from your competitors versus yourself. If you have 3 sales people while you have competition with 7 sales people each, then its not practical for your team to outrun the competition. Your competition will always have more people covering more accounts. Which means your chance of losing a deal is always higher. Planning without this aspect clearly articulated in your assumptions is a grave mistake.

But marketing – especially in B2 is very interesting because of these factors.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

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