Strategic Competitor Insights for Business Growth: 5 Ways to Leverage
This article discusses strategic competitor insights and the 5 ways to use it. We explain why Competitive Intelligence is important for your Senior, HR, Marketing, Sales and Product teams. Getting the best from your Competitive Intelligence activities means investing time and effort to set up and keep your process up to scratch. Vitally, you must be able to be in a position to be able to distribute the Competitor Research and Market Analysis to the people you need to know – Your organisation’s decision-makers.
It also means effectively distributing the information you gain to decision-makers throughout your company, some of whom may not even realise its potential value. So, we now present 5 ways your business leverage Strategic Competitor Insights.
1. Recruitment and HR teams
Recruitment and HR teams are not the usual starting point for Competitive Intelligence. The first thing HR can use Competitive Intelligence tools is to assess how current and former employees view your company. You will get some up-close and personal feedback on a number of websites, like Glassdoor. Here you may find employees who have told the world how it works for you. But some primary Intelligence (talking to people) will also reveal a great deal of information.
A word of warning to viewing Glassdoor reviews:
- Keep your ego out of it and try and read the reviews with an open mind.
- Take the very negative reviews from former employees in context. If you sacked them, they are not going to recommend you for the “Sunday Times top 100 companies to work for” award. But, they may have raised valid problems.
- Fabulous reviews must also be tempered, especially when it’s obvious who wrote them.
- So, watch out and resist the temptation to write reviews on your own company. They stick out like a sore thumb and you won’t kid anyone.
Look for patterns not insults
Look for the patterns and trends in what everyone is saying, and the Intelligence will reveal the good and the poorer points of your company organisation and culture. Human Resources teams can use Competitive Intelligence and Competitor Research to keep track of who is hiring. And what’s their pay and benefits offering? Knowing this sort of information will allow your company to remain competitive in the job market.
Competitive Intelligence techniques are also brilliant for when you are onboarding new hires. Assuming they are not breaking confidentiality clauses, you could ask them about the rival they used to work for or see what they say about them on their CV. Keeping track of your competitors’ recruitment activities is also an important aspect. HR will be able to determine new markets, new geographies, processes and technologies your competitors are getting into. After all, if your rival starts advertising for a new sort of engineer, they must be doing so for a reason. Then, it’s up to the CI team to determine what they are up to.
2. Senior management team
Having the best possible information available to the senior team is incredibly important when it comes to making high-level decisions. So it would be sensible to use Competitor Research and Competitive Intelligence when building future plans for the business. It is incredible that some companies still base their future strategy on tea leave reading, past experience, guesswork and assumption. And, of course, the generic ad-hoc ten-month-old off-the-shelf reports written by prominent research companies.
How smart would it be if your Senior teams were given concise briefings containing the most relevant, up-to-date Competitor and Market Intelligence? To know about a competitor’s acquisition and be able to do something about it before it is common knowledge. Not just secondary articles and news but what a CI professional has dug up speaking to people. Secondary sources which could be of interest include:
- Inhouse competitor documents found legally
- Investor presentations
- Sales literature
- Financial reports
3. Sales teams
Sales teams are on the front line and regularly in contact with prospective and current customers to present their offerings to them. They deal with the objectives and counter offers from your competitors. Your sales team should be your eyes and ears for the senior, marketing and product development teams. They can provide you with great Intelligence. But you have to ask them specific questions to get specific answers.
You should also try and help them by giving them battle cards. A succinct summary of their target customers and the competitors they are facing. Simple and to-the-point killer statements to get the sale or destroy a competitor’s USP. Competitor Research and Market analysis can also provide daily or weekly briefings, desk research on the latest market movements, support tender applications, and isolate struggling competitors and new deals.
4. Marketing departments
Marketing tends to be the usual bedfellow of Competitive Intelligence. Probably due to knowing your competitors and how they go to market is very relevant to marketing teams. To understand how you differentiate yourself, tracking competitor’s social media activities, PR, product launches, and SEO is also pertinent. Still, this sort of thing, despite what digital marketing platforms tell you, is only a fraction of what using Market and Competitor Intelligence will allow. Such as isolating new trends and patterns before they have an impact on your business.
Understanding how competitors (and non-competing companies) market their products can help you develop and distinguish your own offerings. Intelligence also allows you to look for gaps in your markets and competitor weaknesses. However, this will only work if you have up-to-date Competitive Insight.
5. Product management teams
If you are a product manager, you must stay one or two steps ahead of the competition to ensure you are offering the best product or service on the market. After all, there is no point trying to develop the third-best widget on the market, is there? A good product makes it easier to sell, and a lousy product makes it easier for competitors to hoover up new customers and steal yours. Product managers need Competitive Intelligence to stay ahead of the game and ensure they are on track regarding new technological developments.
Also, understanding when a competitor will announce their new product and how they will promote their offering is very important. Also, find out what your competitor has failed to develop and why it has failed. Why? If they have spent significant money building something that didn’t work, why do you have to do the same? Learn from their costly mistakes and look at their efforts to see where they went wrong. It’s almost like your competitor paying for some of your product development.
Utilising Strategic Competitor Insights is pivotal for businesses striving to outperform in today’s dynamic market. This methodology goes beyond conventional research; it delves deep into competitors’ operations, strategies, and customer relations, unveiling opportunities for innovation and improvement. By adopting this advanced approach, organisations can uncover hidden market trends, refine their unique selling propositions, and craft robust, adaptive, and aligned strategies with the ever-evolving competitive landscape.
Strategic Competitor Insights for Business Growth: 5 Ways to Leverage
This article suggested Strategic Competitor Insights for Business Growth: 5 Ways to Leverage. We explained why Competitive Intelligence is important for your Senior, HR, Marketing, Sales and Product teams.