Competitive Analysis – Briefs and Features

Everything is fair-game between qualitative and quantitative user and competitor research. For SaaS-based businesses especially, there’s a need to stay knowledgeable of the market and its competitive landscape. It’s hard enough focusing on features that bring delight to customers, but there’s also a perspective that staying even-keel within your competitive space brings on real help to your product line and the people that aim to support it.

Let’s take an example, let’s say Sally Sue is talking to a prospective customer who’s knowledgeable about multiple options available to her. She asks about X, Y, and Z features and to see if the product supports it. For the Sales rep, let’s call him Dan, he needs to be knowledgeable that not only do we have support, but the product also does support these base-line features (or at least has a number of other features that fit well for Sally). Sally just wants to know enough to make an inspired decision.

Competitive analysis for a product manager isn’t just about feature-development, but also about ensuring a holistic view of the product. For me, I like to take a qualitative view with competitor briefs and append a quantitative analysis that is feature based. It uses a weighted-value analysis with a likert scale approach to cross-match User Interest and Features across the market. On the far right, there’s a percentage column for aggregated value fit of features provided to users (AH) and a weighted value fit (AI). You don’t worry about doing any formula work, I was able to add in a weighted value analysis formula onto the sheet.

What does this help with? A lot of things:

1. You have an understanding of the competitive landscape for your particular product area or space.

2. You can share a static document to your Sales, Customer Support, or any Field team member in a SaaS model to support prospective customers.

3. This helps your tech writers and documentation team to ensure knowledge is spread throughout the organization.

4. Product development efforts are propelled to ensure your base-level feature set is known, understood, and ideated on.

Feel free to use the templates for the brief and feature-based weighted value analysis; if you find them useful, let me know. You can reach me via Twitter @aakashhdesai or Linkedin @aakashhdesai.

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