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9 min read

Improve revenue win rates through competitive intelligence

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This article originates from a presentation at the Revenue Marketing Summit in Denver, 2023. Catch up on this presentation, and others, using our OnDemand service. For more exclusive content, visit your membership dashboard.

In the fiercely competitive business landscape, understanding your competitors is not just a strategy - it's a necessity. It's not just about knowing their moves, but about anticipating them, adapting swiftly, and always staying a step ahead. 

I'm Jay Nakagawa, Director of Competitive Intelligence at Dell. Throughout my career, I've realized the importance of embedding a competitive lens into every business decision. 

In this article, I'll share insights on how to cultivate a competitive mindset, understand your market, and leverage this knowledge to outpace your rivals.

My competitive intelligence journey

Before diving into the intricacies of improving revenue win rates through competitive intelligence, I'd like to share a bit about my professional background.

Over the years, I've had the privilege of working in a myriad of industries and roles. From venture capital to high-tech, and even supply chain management, my experiences have been diverse and enriching.

I've worn many hats, including sales, which has given me a deep understanding of its intricacies. I've also ventured into systems engineering, often referred to as pre-sales in some circles. Fast forward to today, and I find myself at Dell Technologies. It's been an incredible 13 years with the company, nothing short of rewarding and exhilarating.

Boosting revenue: The journey to higher win rates

Let’s shift our focus back to the crux of the issue today: revenue. The questions that often arise are - How can we secure more wins? How can we land larger deals? And, most importantly, how can we expedite the closing of these deals?

I've been fortunate to witness and contribute to the significant growth in our win rates over time. To provide some context, when I assumed leadership of the competitive team at Dell a decade ago, one of the divisions I oversaw was valued at $2 billion. 

While this is by no means a small figure, it was relatively modest in comparison to the broader company. At that time, our win rates hovered around the mid-50s, which, in my opinion, was commendable and perhaps even superior to many.

Our competitive team at Dell is dedicated to sales enablement. Our primary objective is to empower our sales teams to achieve success and clinch more deals. With a clear vision and set of objectives, we embarked on a transformative journey.

The results? Within a mere three years, our win rates soared from 55% to 70%. Beyond the third year, we consistently achieved rates in the high 80s to low 90s.

Achieving such milestones isn't a stroke of luck. It demands dedication, strategy, and relentless effort. In the following sections, I'll delve into the insights and strategies that propelled us to these heights.

The competitive edge: Dell's journey to a $102.3 billion valuation

When one mentions Dell, what's the first thing that comes to mind? For many, it's PCs, laptops, and monitors. But have you ever stopped to ponder just how expansive Dell truly is? While some might estimate our worth to be in the ballpark of 10, 25, or even 50 billion, the reality is that Dell stands tall as a $102.3 billion company. 

Impressively, even amidst the challenges of the past year and post the VMware divestiture, we managed to register a growth of 1%. To put things into perspective, VMware itself is a $13 billion entity.

A question I often encounter is: How did Dell achieve this stature, and how do we sustain this momentum? While I can't divulge all our strategies, I can certainly share some overarching principles that guide our approach.

At the heart of our success lies a competitive mindset. Over the years, we've initiated various programs to instill this mindset throughout the organization. One such initiative was our collaboration with a renowned figure in the competitive arena, Dr. Benjamin Gilad from Boca Raton, Florida. 

Last May, Dr. Gilad introduced our teams – spanning corporate strategy, market intelligence, sales, pre-sales, engineering, product marketing, corporate marketing, and product management – to his "Compete Challenge" program. The essence of this program is simple yet profound: cultivate a competitive mindset in every endeavor.

The results of this initiative have been palpable. This year, we've observed a marked enhancement in our competitive messaging, our approach to accounts, and our market outreach. It's a testament to the power of fostering a competitive spirit and the dividends it can yield.

Written by:

Jay Nakagawa

Jay Nakagawa

Jay Nakagawa is the Director of Competitive Intelligence at Dell

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Improve revenue win rates through competitive intelligence