This article is called getting to a yes with Competitive Intelligence. You keep putting tenders forward for the business, and you are very confident that you can not do any better. You have answered the questions well. And you know your product is the best thing since sliced bread. Weeks later, you can not believe your lousy luck someone else got the contract, but you were thanked for a firm bid. Very gratifying. Over time this scenario continues, you become increasingly frustrated and realise the same competitor is regularly winning bids.
Buying the business
Your Managing Director is starting to ask awkward questions and wants to be involved more in the tender process. Your sales team (who are keen to keep their jobs), would have you believe that the competitor is buying the business with low pricing. Or perhaps they are offering inducements? It’s likely that neither is true, but you still want answers.
Competitive Intelligence can help
Competitive Intelligence (CI) is the process where the tactical and strategic analysis of markets. Competitors and industries allowing decision-makers to make informed long and short term decisions. To take advantage of gaps in the market and exploit competitor strengths and weaknesses. CI minimises uncertainty and companies who use CI tend less surprised by their competitors’ actions. Why are you loosing out?
Why are you losing out?
Suppose you are continually losing contracts to the same competitor you need to know why. It would help if you defined what your (Key Intelligence) questions are to focus your information collection activities and look at several competitors to create robust comparisons. Building a Competitive Intelligence function in your business will encourage your sales and operations teams willingly offer relevant and ongoing information for you to analyse it into valued Intelligence.
Find the answers
Working with your suppliers, sales team, operational staff and current clients, you need to find answers to questions like:
- What is the company doing so well?
- And what are they doing so right?
- What are their sales targets?
- What are their pricing policies?
- And what does their contract look like?
- Who are their customers?
- And are they happy with the service they receive?
How are you going to use it?
Once you have gained a picture of your competitive environment, you then need to decide how to use it. You can enhance your efforts by prospecting your competitor’s customers, and you will have more success as you will be able to manage your competitor’s strengths and exploit their weaknesses.
As you have collected complaints on your competitors, you know what they are good and bad at. If you know their contracts and pricing policies you can say with confidence undercut deals. And if you know your competitors, then you can be headhunting their best staff, the ones that are winning all those tenders. Everyone has their price, but if you recruit the wrong person without understanding the big picture, you may be relieving your competitor of a problem.
This article is called getting to a yes with Competitive Intelligence.