5 minutes

No business can operate in isolation. To gain sustainable success, it’s essential to know how you are performing and how your competitors are performing. This allows you to compare your progress against your own projections and against industry averages.

Competitive benchmarking is a practice that allows you to make accurate comparisons with other companies operating within your sector. The data it supplies can be invaluable, allowing you to focus on practices that are working well and amend those areas where you’re performing below par. This can be particularly useful when managing project growth.

By learning how to do competitive benchmarking efficiently and effectively, you can make cost savings today and grow greater profits tomorrow. Our guide on how to do competitive benchmarking to manage project growth is suitable for projects of all sizes and can make a real difference to how your company operates and to the effectiveness of your project management.

Our five tips to project benchmarking success are ideal for online marketers, e-commerce retailers, and businesses in all sectors. Gaining a competitive edge is more important than ever in today’s business world, so take every opportunity to assess and then outperform your corporate rivals.


1. Set Your Benchmarks

When you look at how to do competitive benchmarking for your projects, the first step, naturally, is to set your benchmarks. As the name suggests, benchmarks are at the heart of benchmarking so it pays to take time to find the ones which perfectly suit your purposes.

Finding the right benchmarks will give you a better understanding than ever before of how your company is doing and how rival companies are doing. This can bring to light new ways of operating that will make you more efficient, and that lead to project growth and new sales opportunities.

A good starting point when selecting benchmarks for this purpose is to look at the metrics that you already monitor. You should already have data that reveals a lot about how your business is performing, from market share to website visits, email subscriptions, and social media stats. 

These metrics are also ideal for use in competitive benchmarking, and using data sets that you already collect can make the process quicker and easier to understand.

2. Decide Who to Compare Benchmarks With

Now that you’ve decided which metrics are most important to you, or which can get you the most pertinent results for your project, your next step should be to decide who you are going to compare these metrics with.

Selecting the right competitors is one of the most important choices when learning how to do competitive benchmarking to manage project growth. For that reason, devote as much time to this task as you would to keyword research for your web content.

It can be most profitable to select a small number of different businesses, operating within the same sector, to benchmark against. Small businesses may have a dynamism that could benefit you, whereas large businesses may have the traits which would allow you to follow in their footsteps.


3. Consider Industry Standards

Operating competitive benchmarking in this way allows you to get useful and easy to understand results quickly. It also allows you to make comparisons to different sized companies and businesses at different stages of their evolution.

There’s one other important factor to benchmark your own company results against, however: The industry standard. There will be lots of diversity and divergence within any industry, but the average within that industry will always be one of the most useful benchmarks against which you can compare yourself.

Time spent analyzing all that your competitors do is time well spent: From the fonts and colors they use on their branding, to the ads they operate and their use of anchor text for links on their web pages. Discerning the industry standard in these areas will allow you to utilize the most relevant parts for your own project management.

4. Make Technology Count

Technology has transformed how we live our lives, how we spend our leisure time, and how we work. It can bring huge advantages to the way you conduct competitive benchmarking, too.

Keywords are not only a way to make your online marketing more effective and your web pages more highly ranked, they are also a great benchmarking tool. By using online keyword tools you can discover which domains are scoring highest for a particular keyword that is relevant to your industry.

Keywords and SEO optimized web content is one of the best ways to improve the performance of your business and its projects. That’s why it’s essential to choose keywords closely, avoid duplicate content, and provide high quality information. Benchmarking your use of keywords against competitors can be revealing and useful.

In this way, competitive benchmarking can also help you spot weaknesses in your own websites, meaning that you can then use website builders to create a new web presence more in line with your high performing competitors.

5. Analyze the Data

You’ve decided which metrics are important to you and compared them against carefully targeted competitors and the industry standard. You’ve now got a lot of data that’s both powerful and relevant, so what should you do with it?

Data is one of the most powerful commodities your business can possess. Studies show that businesses that use the big data model show an average increase in profits of between eight and 10%. Treat the data you receive from competitive benchmarking as if it was gold.

Careful analysis of your competitive benchmarking data will show some trends which become clear very quickly, but it will also reveal deeper trends that can prove just as important when it comes to managing your project growth.

Some of the results may surprise you, but this means that you can take affirmative action which would not otherwise have occurred. This in turn means that you may be able to break through the growth ceiling in your existing projections and make greater gains in sales and profits.


Making the Most of Opportunities

Competitive benchmarking can be the key to the success of your projects, and of your business as a whole. Remember that it should be an ongoing process rather than one you turn to at irregular intervals.

Comparing yourself to your competitors will bring surprises, but most of all it will bring opportunities. Make it part of your marketing and communications strategy today, and you’ll soon see the benefits it brings to your projects allowing you to hit your targets and achieve even better growth.