Asking the right questions brings great answers to your intelligence

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Asking the right questions brings great answers to competitive intelligence

The key to successful competitive intelligence is the questions you ask. Targeted questions uncover valuable insights, improve research efforts, and enhance decision-making. Creating the right questions requires practice, clarity, and a willingness to delve into the unknown. Here, we explore how to ask effective questions and why they are needed in competitive intelligence. Why the right questions will ignite your decision making and competitive advantage.

Clarify Your Goals

Before researching, align the questions with your strategic goals. Identify the decisions you need to make. Are you looking to enter a new market, improve product offerings, or optimise operational efficiency? Then, your questions should directly address these objectives. For example, if you want to enter a new market, ask questions about the market’s current landscape, potential barriers to entry, and customer needs. This will ensure that the data gathered is relevant and actionable. Read more: High-Growth SaaS Firm Competitive Intelligence services.

Identify Gaps in Your Knowledge

One of the reasons for competitive intelligence is to fill knowledge gaps. Pinpoint what you don’t know about your competitors and the market. This could include their pricing strategies, customer satisfaction levels, technology investments, or plans. Formulating questions to fill these gaps to provide relevant and actionable insights. For instance, Unsure about a competitor’s customer satisfaction levels? Ask, “What feedback are customers giving about our competitor’s products or services?”

Focus on Specific Competitors and Market Segments

Broad questions yield broad answers. Drill down to competitors or markets most relevant to your goals. If you’re concerned about a competitor’s product launch, ask targeted questions about their:

  • Product development timeline
  • Marketing strategy
  • Customer reception

Questions like, What competitive strategies are leading to their recent growth? Or how can we adapt similar tactics? All to lead to more actionable insights.

Prioritise Actionable Insights

The best questions lead to insights that can immediately influence your strategy. Avoid asking questions like, “What are our competitors doing?” Instead, ask, “What competitive strategies are leading to their recent growth?” And how can we adapt similar tactics?” This shift means that the answers you receive are more informative and actionable. Focusing on actionable insights allows you to make strategic decisions based on understanding rather than assumptions. Read more: Are Your Products Circling to the Bottom?

Continuously Refine Your Questions

Competitive intelligence is an ongoing process. Review and refine your questions to reflect changing market dynamics and strategic priorities. Stay agile and adapt your questions when new information comes along. Refinements ensure your questions remain relevant and your intelligence aligns with your goals.

Examples of Effective Competitive Intelligence Questions

To illustrate, here are some examples of effective competitive intelligence questions:

Market Positioning

How are our competitors positioning themselves, and what are their unique selling points?

Customer Insights

What feedback are customers giving about our competitors’ products? How can we better address similar needs?

Technological Advancements

What new technologies are our competitors investing in? What is the potential impact on our industry?

Financial Health

What are our main competitors’ financial strengths and weaknesses? How does this influence their market strategies?

Operational Efficiency

What efficiencies have they implemented that could be adapted to improve our processes?

By asking the right questions, you can unlock deeper, more strategic insights, making your competitive intelligence efforts informative, transformative, and useful.

Embrace the Unknown

A question you don’t know the answer to can be uncomfortable. It exposes a knowledge gap. But not knowing an answer can also be exciting, as it starts a journey of discovery. Whether it’s the fear of not knowing or the enjoyment of seeking answers, there should always be a strong desire to fill these gaps.

Quickly answering questions threatens the possibility of deeper insights or getting it wrong. You will undoubtedly miss a different view of the situation. Try to be in a place without rushing to take action. Keep looking for the answer, especially when you have found it. This patience and persistence will give you more profound insights and better decisions. Read more: What are the three important factors of competitive analysis?

Are You Answering the Right Question?

Better questions are paramount in unlocking opportunity and making an impact. Start with asking questions like why?

Start With Why

The correct use of “why” questions is compelling. Asking the why question more than five times means you dig deeper into what’s happening. It pulls more detail out of any situation. Here are some iterations of “why” questions you could find valuable:

  • Why are we doing this? Helps uncover the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations behind any action.
  • Why are we here today? Assesses your priorities and ensures team alignment around the same objective.
  • Why’s that important now? Accepts marketplace, customer, or competitor changes you may need to address.
  • Why not? Unleashes your imagination, permits experimentation, and helps uncover barriers and risks to address.
  • Why’s that? After making a statement or conclusion, asking this repeatedly can reveal deeper insights.

So What

Assess the power of the answer to any question by asking, “So what.” A question that forces you to articulate the impact of the answer. It removes the fluff and indirection and gets to the raw bones of the answer. It makes you think more and allows you to reword answers to get to the important parts of it.

What Should You Do Differently?

Assess what you would do differently if you could start again. Then, determine what you can do differently to beat your competitors. Consider questions like:

  • Are we in the right market sector?
  • What bad habits have we got into?
  • What has become routine and is bad for our business?

Asking these questions helps you find solutions. They can solve customer pain and frustration, turning insights into actionable strategies.

What Are You Not Going to Do?

Opportunities are everywhere, but not all will be worth pursuing. Identifying what you will not do is as important as what you will do. Focus your efforts on what really matters. Prioritisation to keep your resources manageable. To excel in the areas you choose to attack.

Using Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence and machine learning can help find answers, but asking the right questions is still a human skill. Machines can process data, but defining and creating meaningful questions requires human insight. It’s essential to ask the right questions to harness the power of AI effectively.

In conclusion, Asking the right questions brings great answers

Asking great questions is the key to effective competitive intelligence. It transforms thinking and allows the exploration of deeper insights. Improve your competitive intelligence by clarifying goals, identifying knowledge gaps, focusing on specific competitors, prioritising actionable insights, and refining your questions. Embrace and enjoy the journey of discovery. Ask better questions and unlock the potential for transformative strategic decisions.

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