Competitive Displacement: The ABM Strategy Most Sales Teams Are Missing

If reviews influence 92.4 percent of B2B buyers, why aren’t we using this feedback as a powerful sales tool?

There are golden nuggets of information about your competitors waiting to be discovered on platforms like G2, Capterra, and Clutch. You just have to be able to tell the difference between genuine responses and counterfeit claims. 

But you may be asking yourself, “How can I ethically use competitors’ customer reviews to my advantage?”

It’s a solid question with one simple answer: competitive displacement campaigns

And it just so happens that, after months of hypothesizing, testing, and optimizing, one of our sales executives mastered the subtle art of this underutilized yet highly effective strategy.

In this article, not only will we go over our favorite account-based marketing (ABM) approach to competitive displacement, but we’ll also share some messaging examples that have as much as tripled our sales executive’s booked sales appointments.

So, without further ado, let’s dive in.

What Are Competitive Displacement Campaigns?

To fully understand the impact this campaign type can have on your lead generation efforts, we first need to discuss the strategy behind it. 

Competitive displacement campaigns are targeted marketing efforts designed to persuade customers to switch from using a competitor’s product or service to a superior alternative offered by another company.

In the high-stakes arena of B2B tech sales, competitive displacement campaigns emerge as a masterstroke in the ABM playbook

This strategy isn’t about a frontal attack on competitors; rather, it’s a sophisticated approach that leverages technographic data, buyer intent signals, and a thorough analysis of customer reviews. 

By identifying gaps in competitors’ offerings and aligning these insights with prospects’ specific needs and pain points, you can tailor hyper-personalized, multichannel campaigns that pave a clear path to a better solution.

💡By combining this strategy with our signal-driven prospecting approach, we’ve doubled our clients’ conversions

Why Use Competitive Displacement Campaigns

At their core, competitive displacement campaigns are an exercise in empathy and precision. They require a deep understanding of the prospect’s challenges, an appreciation of the limitations they face with current solutions, and the creativity to position your product as an inevitable upgrade. 

Sure, the ultimate aim is to capture some of your competitors’ market share. But when done correctly, this strategy can also help you build a community of informed, loyal customers who value your insights and look forward to even greater advancement.

When to Launch a Competitive Displacement Campaign

Implementing a competitive displacement campaign is a strategic decision that begins with recognizing the opportune moments when your offering can truly outshine the competition. This approach is best suited for scenarios where market dynamics, customer dissatisfaction, or technological advancements create a ripe environment for change. 

Here are the three optimal environments we’ve identified for competitive displacement campaigns:

  • Undeniable Competitive Advantage in an Oversaturated Market: In a landscape cluttered with options, the moment your product distinguishes itself through a unique feature, benefit, or price advantage becomes critical. This distinct value proposition makes it the perfect opportunity to encourage customers to switch, especially in an environment where differentiation is key to capturing attention and securing consumer preference.
  • Market Shifts that Lead to Technological Advancements: Initiate a competitive displacement campaign when significant market shifts—such as new regulations or evolving customer preferences—drive the need for technological advancements, and your product uniquely leverages this new technology or innovation to offer a dramatically improved solution over existing options.
  • Leveraging Customer Dissatisfaction in an Oversaturated Market: High levels of dissatisfaction among users of competitors’ products, made evident through negative reviews and feedback, signify a prime moment for your offering to shine. By honing in on specific areas of discontent and presenting your product or service as the superior alternative, you’re providing the remedy to their current frustrations.

Initiating a competitive displacement campaign during these scenarios will help you drive conversions and secure an edge in the marketplace.

The Pivotal Role of Customer Reviews in Competitive Displacement Campaigns

Our sales executive discovered that an analysis of customer feedback serves as the foundation for developing hyper-personalized, multichannel campaigns aimed at competitive displacement. By understanding the specific issues and dissatisfactions expressed by users of competing products, he was able to tailor his messaging in a way that highlighted how our clients’ solutions effectively addressed the market gaps. This not only positions our clients as superior alternatives but also demonstrates a deep understanding of the prospect’s needs, enhancing the credibility and attractiveness of the offer.

Leveraging these insights ethically in competitive displacement campaigns can be tricky. We recommend that rather than direct criticism of competitors, the focus should be on presenting a compelling narrative that showcases the benefits and unique value proposition of your solution, informed by real user experiences. 

In doing so, your campaigns will resonate more profoundly with the target audience, making them more likely to consider a switch to a product that promises to resolve their current challenges and frustrations. 

The Process: Reviewing the Reviews 

Now that we know the “what,” “why,” and “when” of competitive displacement campaigns, we can dive into the “how.” 

Let’s explore our sales executive’s journey of developing and implementing this strategy, as well as the impact these campaigns had on our clients’ pipelines

The Background

Like most people in his position, our sales executive had a solid process in place for developing outbound lead gen campaigns

He attentively studied the ideal client profiles (ICPs), analyzed the competition, built segmented prospect lists, launched multichannel sequences, etc. But, try as he might, the results were, well, mediocre. 

During an internal debate about whether to make another call or send another email, our sales executive found himself utterly frustrated. Realizing that none of the typical optimization tactics were improving performance, he decided to dive back into the market research. 

It was pretty clear that he covered every known problem in his current campaigns, and he found no alternative angles to explore in the client’s initial market research. So, following a hunch, he started to browse some of the most popular review sites, G2, Capterra, and Clutch, and quickly discovered why he wasn’t resonating with his prospects’ pain. 

The problems these customers were expressing online simply were not mentioned in the marketing materials, which ultimately meant his messaging was missing the mark.

“Oftentimes,” the sales executive pointed out, “Companies are so close to their products or services that it’s hard to express the value in a way that addresses the everyday struggles these users face.”

To rectify this wrong, our sales executive recorded and absorbed all the information he could from the reviews and then proceeded to match the newly discovered pain points with the corresponding ICPs. 

From there, he rebuilt the copy from the ground up in hopes of scheduling an extra meeting or two a month. 

Unexpectedly, the results far exceeded expectations. He landed five sales meetings within a few days of launching his revised campaign. 

Not bad, right? So, now the big question is, what does this process look like?

To better understand how you might implement this process in your lead generation strategy, let’s review a few reviews and the copy he used to land more meetings. 

Finding the Competitive Advantage in an Oversaturated Market

Our sales executive started developing a competitive displacement strategy while campaigning for a telecommunications company. The market was (and is still) saturated, and the only hope for success was to pinpoint a competitive advantage that could turn the tide. 

What he found was the myriad of providers in the telecom industry actually made it more difficult for businesses to select a reliable service. In other words, prospects were experiencing analysis paralysis. An aspect easily overlooked amid the ever-expanding list of features and benefits. 

The telecom company our sales executive was working with had a simple yet powerful solution for those prospects struggling to compile a shortlist of vendors. 

Here’s how he positioned the company’s competitive advantage.

Customer Review Snippet:

“We found lots of issues with integration, inexperienced partners, and software issues.”

The Differentiator:

Inexperienced telephony and communications partners can cause more problems than the actual technology platform they are re-selling.

The Copy:

“While working with clients like {{company name}}, we’ve found that partnering with a reliable telecom provider is just as important as the platform and equipment you integrate. We not only discover new ways you can implement a more cost-effective communications solution but also help you choose the best provider based on your needs and service area.”

The Results:

Our sales executive increased the number of new meetings scheduled by 54 percent with this simple but effective change.

Highlighting a Market Shift that Led to Technological Advancements

In the following example, we have a SaaS startup helping businesses tackle the increased complexity of managing hybrid workplaces. 

The pandemic brought a swift and unprecedented shift in market demand for HR SaaS. Tech companies in this niche sector were racing to conquer the new challenges of employee collaboration. 

During his deep dive into online deliberations, our sales executive found that certain high-demand features were lacking among some of the most popular products. 

Seeing this as a golden opportunity for our client, he segmented the outbound campaigns based on company size, departments, and job titles to reach the users who have typically been left longing for a more technologically advanced solution.

Here’s how he used the customer review below to write copy with a renewed perspective of the prospect’s pain. 

Customer Review Snippet:

“I’d like to further segment our hot desk spaces by pods and neighborhoods, helping our organization teams ensure they can sit and work together when they are on site.”

The Differentiator:

A remote workforce may be the new normal; however, there is still the need and value for in-person meetings and collaborations.  How can an organization facilitate this efficiently and safely?

The Copy:

“Do you and your team find it hard to collaborate in a hybrid workforce environment? Our platform allows everyone at {company name} to coordinate in-person meetings based on when and where co-workers will be in the office.”

The Results:

Because hybrid workforce platforms are just now scraping the surface of capabilities, it can be hard to express these concepts to organizations that recently embraced the new norm. 

With newer technologies such as this, Martal Group has often experienced a slow but steady progression in business development. 

Despite these hurdles, our sales executive secured three qualified sales meetings per week, surpassing the historical track record of one new meeting every 7-10 days. 

Leveraging Customer Dissatisfaction in an Oversaturated Market

Most of the time, the differentiators are not obvious. It’s the small details, or lack thereof, that mean the most to buyers. 

Take cybersecurity, for example. 

It’s easy to assume there’s not much room for improvement in the training department. Regulations that keep companies in compliance are quite unwavering. However, our sales executive found that most training companies focus on the “how” and leave out the “why” of cybersecurity laws, resulting in many dissatisfied customers.

Our sales executive decided to take a chance and leveraged this commonly cited issue in his campaigns. By highlighting the importance of upskilling cybersecurity teams with a more advanced understanding of the ethical and infrastructural implications, he was able to help our client stand out in an oversaturated market.

Customer Review Snippet:

“I would like the platform to better help me understand the importance of adhering to ethical cyber security behaviors for risk mitigation and analysis.”

The Differentiator:

Cybersecurity professionals need a platform that helps improve their skills while also incorporating the “business” aspects of an enterprise cybersecurity program, such as audit, privacy, compliance, and risk management.

The Copy:

“Without a concrete understanding of why regulations exist, your team will struggle to remember important cybersecurity compliance requirements. Change the way your team views cybersecurity training with an intuitive platform that’s proven to increase memory retention.”

The Results:

Straight away, the sales rep produced five qualified meetings within the first two weeks of campaigning. 


You can sift through the statistics and dig into the demographics, but there is simply no substitute for a customer’s honest opinion. 

As we can see from the sales rep’s results, resonating with prospects often requires us to empathetically read through reviews and understand what people are going through each day as they strive to meet objectives, expectations, and demands. 

As we close this exploration of competitive displacement, remember: the heart of this approach is not exploitation but opportunity. It’s a chance to listen to the whispers of dissatisfaction and turn them into roars of advocacy for your solution. 

By integrating customer reviews into your campaigns, you’re not just selling; you’re solving—providing answers to questions many prospects are still formulating. And in a world where 92.4 percent of B2B buyers are guided by the experiences of others, your ability to harness this insight ethically and effectively can transform the competitive landscape in your favor.

So, as you venture back into the field, armed with a deeper understanding of competitive displacement and the critical role of customer reviews, let this knowledge inspire your strategies. Let it guide your campaigns to not only displace competitors but to place your customers’ needs, challenges, and aspirations at the forefront of every decision. After all, the ultimate victory in B2B sales isn’t just winning accounts; it’s winning the trust and loyalty of your customers.

Vito Vishnepolsky
Vito Vishnepolsky
CEO and Founder at Martal Group