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The Path to Incumbency: B2B Strategies for Sustainable Growth

In B2B, becoming an incumbent is a milestone. It signifies market dominance, stability, and sustainable growth.

But it’s hard to achieve. It takes time and persistence.

So how do you do it?

You do the basics well. Here they are:

Define a Clear Value Proposition

According to a study by Bain & Company, companies that have a well-defined value proposition for their customers grow twice as fast as their peers.

A clear value proposition helps companies understand their unique selling point and how it addresses customer pain points.

Niche Market Focus

A survey by HubSpot found that companies with a niche focus are 68% more successful than those without. Niche market focus helps companies differentiate themselves from competitors and excel in a specific target market segment.

Cultivate Expertise

Research by LinkedIn shows that 55% of decision-makers consider thought leadership content as a critical factor in selecting a vendor. Developing deep industry knowledge, technical expertise, and thought leadership helps companies establish credibility.

Differentiate and Innovate 

Innovation is the lifeblood of any company aiming for incumbency. According to McKinsey, companies that innovate consistently outperform their peers by 30% in revenue growth. Encouraging employees to think creatively, experiment, and embrace a growth mindset can help create a culture of innovation.

Develop Unique Solutions

Research by Accenture shows that 84% of customers are willing to pay more for better customer experience. Creating products or services that provide distinct advantages over existing alternatives, such as superior functionality, cost-effectiveness, or ease of use can help companies develop unique solutions.

Strategic Partnerships and Alliances

According to a study by IDC, companies that participate in ecosystems grow 50% faster than those that don’t. Seeking out partners whose offerings align with their own, creating synergies and expanding market reach can help companies identify complementary partners.

Further research by McKinsey shows that companies with strong partnerships have a 2.5 times higher chance of achieving long-term success. Participating in industry ecosystems and platforms to access new customers, resources, and expertise can help companies leverage ecosystems.

Collaborating with partners on joint product development, research projects, or shared marketing efforts to drive mutual growth can help companies engage in co-innovation initiatives.

A Customer-Centric Approach

Something we see all the time is that companies do not prioritise their clients. Of all the points above, this is the most important. According to a survey by Bain & Company, companies that excel at customer experience grow revenues four to eight percent above their market.

Conducting in-depth market research, customer interviews, and data analysis to gain insights into evolving needs and pain points can help companies gain deep customer understanding.

Providing personalized engagement through targeted marketing campaigns, tailored product offerings, or customized service can help companies prioritize their customers. According to Forrester Research, customer-centric organizations are 60% more profitable than those not focused on the customer. Continuously improving customer experience through feedback loops, customer satisfaction surveys, and data analysis can help companies achieve continuous improvement.

Tollejo has helped many companies to become the incumbent. If you’d like to accelerate your path to incumbency, please reach out.


Dan is an expert in global technology brand marketing and sales. He has advised IBM, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Samsung and Cisco on brand position, go-to-market strategy and sales performance. He has launched businesses in Fintech, Cleantech, SaaS and marketing platforms. Dan is an award-winning tech journalist who wrote for the Financial Times and Economist Group.

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