– By Steve Robins
Solution Leadership Has Its Privileges
Let’s call it a leadership statement. You know, the boilerplate that shows up on home pages, at the bottom of press releases, and just about everywhere else a company hawks, er, promotes its wares: We are the leading provider of widget solutions. We….
Just for kicks, search for “the leading provider of” on Google. It seems like every solution marketer wants to claim leadership in their space. But is it possible?
#2 is Best?
Can each of 100 widget makers be “the leading provider” of widget solutions? It’s just not possible – and yet it seems that everyone wants to call themselves “the” leader. Usually, it’s optimal to be the leader. But recently a company told me that they decided to buy from the #2 player in part because they thought #2 would try harder than #1. Think Avis: We’re #2. We try harder. #2 might try harder, but usually there’s a good reason why people go with #1. Good reasons like scalability, being well-tested, reliable, the safe choice etc. (Please don’t quote me on this in the event I should ever work for #2).
” We’re Not Worthy”
A different widget maker thought they had given up their market leadership. Yes, they still had a lengthy list of blue chip customers, more than any other competitor. But they were concerned that their lack of technical development placed them behind their top competitor, so they didn’t think they deserved to be called the leader. I was able to convince them that yes, with the longest and best customer list, they were indeed the leader in their market.
The “advantages” of being #2 notwithstanding, it’s still good to be king, er “the leader.”