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Pretending to be a prospect to get competitive intel - shady or genius?

So I have a fake email under a fake name that isn't tied to my actual identity in any way and I occasionally use this to get pricing from competitors that have web enquiry forms.


It's always rough pricing but gives me insight on how they are positioning to "strangers" and if they are promoting any specific feature/product.


My colleagues are of mixed opinion on whether this is ok to do.


So would love to hear from the War Room

Getting competitive Intel w/a fake gmail?
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*Voting in this poll no longer yields commission.
๐Ÿ‘‘ Sales Strategy
8
CadenceCombat
Tycoon
+13
Account Executive
Gotta agree with @paddyย here. Iโ€™ve shopped my competitors and successfully gained intel from it.

Would I appreciate it if someone did this to me? No, but Iโ€™m confident I could sniff it out before investing much of my time and giving away too much info.

I wouldnโ€™t categorize this as a โ€˜genius strategyโ€™ though since itโ€™s not somekind of unknown revolutionary practice.
paddy
Arsonist
+9
Account Executive
Lol yeah it's nothing revolutionary indeed. A shit ton of people do it I think. That being said I don't know anyone who has significantly benefitted from it monetarily. It's really just to help your knowledge base is all.
Prizrak
Politicker
+5
Disruptor of worlds
Everyone should probably shop the competition at least once. I once have found anything from basic features we could include for next to nothing, to them flat out setting my guys up for failure with clients.ย 
Its also nice to see what the competition is like. So when they inevitably come knocking, I know who to go work for or stay away at all costs.
paddy
Arsonist
+9
Account Executive
My company used to do this to get demos of our competitor's platforms. It's fair game. If they can't sniff out pretenders from contenders and are giving out too much proprietary info to unqualified prospects, then they probably lack a sense of intuition and you're just exposing their flaws is all.
SA
SADNES5
Politicker
+6
Business Development
Personally, I think you don't have enough confidence in yourself/product if you're doing this.ย 

From a "all is fair in love and war" perspective... You're right. If they can't separate a serious inquiry, or are sending pricing without a true touch, shame on them.

How do you explain that to a prospect? Don't go to X because they will just offer Y. vs The reason you want our product is because we solve D,E,F,G all while remaining under Y.ย 


paddy
Arsonist
+9
Account Executive
If you are simply looking for unpublished features and pricing in your competitors, it has nothing to do with confidence. It's strictly just gathering intel. For start-ups I think this is incredibly important.
SA
SADNES5
Politicker
+6
Business Development
I feel you. I understand the why. I don't see anything wrong with it ethically, I mean if they want to shoot pricing at non qualified leads/the first contact that's on them.

Just depends on industry I guess too. SaaS is a cutthroat world. My industry has crazy long cycles and not in SaaS so pricing is ball parked until the weeks leading to the ink.
KPIMaster
Politicker
+4
Enterprise Account Executive
I mean donโ€™t you think youโ€™re being a bit hard on the boy? ย Whatever happened to โ€œkeep your friends close, enemies closerโ€?
CuriousFox
WR Officer
+11
Needer of Life Alert
In war you don't fight fair. You fight to win.ย 
Telehealth_2the_Moon
Notable Contributor
+12
Director of Business Development
Perfectly fine, but I don't think you need to take anyone's time outside of information they send along. Don't be a dick and fake your way through discovery, proposal, etc. to milk all the info you can.ย 

You're likely to just learn they approach selling their product very similarly to you, pretty handouts, overviews, and other tools.ย 
Mo
MoFo
Fire Starter
+2
BDM
Agreed! ย Just an email (well... two)
wouldnโ€™t dare actually have a call, thatโ€™s too far for meย 
Mo
MoFo
Fire Starter
+2
BDM
Thanks for the feedback WR.ย ย I'm seeing good points on both sides and the poll (so far) reflects what's being said on my team.ย ย 

So I'm in Medical Hardware/Devices.ย  I gave a false number on the web quote req - they did try and call and wrote in the email to me that they wanted to talk but the number "didn't work".ย 

I sent a reply, asking another light question, which admittedly is common from Dr's in this line - I don't mention the phone - then boom the rep sent pricing.ย ย 

She didn't even ask what company/hospital I'm with or where I'm even based.ย ย 

No qualification at all.

What I did learn from this is that they are promoting a new product that she gave pricing for even though I didn't ask for it.ย ย 

Now I know where they're going.ย  100% Intel.
softwaresails
Politicker
+4
Sales Manager
I hate this. I donโ€™t want to waste another reps time. Iโ€™d hate it to happen to me.ย 

There are other ways to get this information.ย 

Hereโ€™s a good rule to live by: Donโ€™t be a dick.ย 
Beans
Politicker
+5
Account Executive
I've done it, it's part of the game.

Nowadays I prefer to speak to prospects about what the competition claims, you can then compliment them on what doesn't matter to the client and poke holes in what does.
BlueJays2591
Politicker
+6
Business Development Manager
I've seen it happen often and it works pretty well unless you get caught.
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