How to Collect Competitive Intelligence by Not Spending a Fortune

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How to Collect Competitive Intelligence by not spending a fortune

Collecting information need not be expensive. After all, we can do it for you, and we are very competitively priced. But in all seriousness, this article offers our thoughts on how to Collect Competitive Intelligence by not spending a fortune.

Competitive Intelligence helps you discover a lot about your competition and market. But you have to start somewhere. And buying a Competitive Software platform off the peg is not the answer just yet. Start slowly and simply with these inexpensive ways to collect Competitive Intelligence. Before you start, it’s best to have a single place to put the data you will find. This place can be as simple as a single spreadsheet or a google drive folder. 

Monitor online activities

Collect press releases and PR on your competitors. Set up Google Alerts for your competitors. Look at and interact with social media. Sign up for their webinars, talks, newsletters, videos and blogs. And perhaps take a look at Owler, but the basic details are often inaccurate. Our revenues were over $60m last year, according to their data! 

Your sales and customer service teams

Your sales team prospects all the time. And your customer services teams really get to know your customer. Well, at least they should. These teams have an opportunity to collect great Competitive Intelligence. Arm them with one weekly question. Ask them to collect answers to the question from each conversation they have. Ask the customer services team why they lose business. Get them to understand what frustrates your customers with your products. Develop a cheat sheet for your sales teams on each of your competitors. Include basic information and some landmines. Landmines that will blow competitor arguments and benefits out of the water. If a landmine could blow anything out of the water, of course, but point made. 

Why do you win or lose

Do win/loss exercises as a matter of course. You need to know why for every win and every loss you experience. Done consistently, it provides excellent Competitive Intelligence. Ask customers why they chose you over them. Ask them why they selected your competitor to a job for them. Understand what you could have done differently. Win/loss is not a finger-pointing exercise, but it will help you improve. 

Check physical open source information

Your team should be alert when visiting a customer or competitor’s site. Your driver enters a site, get them to observe or take a picture of the visitor sign-in sheets. If it’s in public view, it’s open-source. But you must be careful and consider the consequences of getting caught. Use this information to track your competitors’ activities. Another way of doing it is to follow their best salespeople. Maybe not great during Covid, but you understand what we mean. Technically (and legally), in the UK, you can place a tracker on a car as long as you do in a public place. We have never done it with Competitive Intelligence as it’s a little over the top and is a grey area ethically. Perfectly legal but perhaps not worth the effort.

Speak to partners and suppliers

Your supply chain and manufacturing partners often have insight into your competitors’ strategies. And information on their pricing, products and tactics. Ask them. They can only say no. No damage done. And you don’t need to come out with a question directly. When visiting suppliers, look out for competitive literature, business cards and price quotes. A good way to show them how to Collect Competitive Intelligence by not spending a fortune too.

What is Competitive Intelligence?

Competitive intelligence is the finding, sorting and critical analysis of information. To make sense of what’s happening and why. Predict what’s going to happen and give the options to help you control the outcome. Competitive intelligence offers certainty, competitive advantage, insight, growth & security.

Shadow your competitors

Go to their trade shows and visit their booths. Pick up new product information and chat with those in the booth. Never lie but only tell them what they ask. Assign someone to each primary competitor and work in a team of two. We love doing trade show Intelligence and not just for the free pens. 

What are they saying? 

Go to their talks, webinars and conferences. Look at their website, SEO strategies and social media. Find out what they say and what they are not saying. How do they present their offerings on social media and their website?

All the information collected should not stand alone. It’s not a stamp collection, and you must do something with it. Once you have collected and verified its accuracy. Or, more specifically assessed the level of certainty of it being true, you collate it. Sort it and mix the information around until you find patterns. Then analyse the information you gathered. Assess for trends, isolate strategies, and discover tactical competitor information. 

How to Collect Competitive Intelligence by not spending a fortune

Do this consistently, and you will develop a significant amount of Intelligence. This Intelligence increase the certainty you have in your decision making. Understand your market more. And have the confidence of a more significant competitive advantage. This article offered our thoughts on how to Collect Competitive Intelligence by not spending a fortune.

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