What Competitive Intelligence Can do For You in 2022?

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What Competitive Intelligence can do for you in 2022?

The new year is here and gone, and you may be thinking about 2022 financial year planning. Many things happened in 2021. The business has started to grow again from all the problems. And you don’t need us to tell you about the obvious challenges we are have faced last year and the year before. So, how are you going to use Competitive Intelligence throughout your organisations? 

What key Competitive Intelligence goals do you have to go forward with? What do you want to find out? And what do you want to increase your certainty on? You should also look at how your Competitive Intelligence performed last year. Understand how Competitive Intelligence can help with your product road map and current and future market position. Go back to basics (if they are basics) with a refresh of your SWOT analysis. Take a look at your customer retention strategies and how Competitive Intelligence helped you win more deals. This article asks what Competitive Intelligence can do for you in 2022?

More certainty in a changing world

Competitive Intelligence gives you more certainty and competitive advantage in this ever-changing world. So when thinking about the situation, it’s essential to use Competitive Intelligence. 

So, what can Competitive Intelligence ever do for you?

  • Competitive Intelligence will improve your certainty and help you make better decisions.
  • Help you understand your known and unknown competitors and their offerings.
  • Enhance your knowledge of your market positioning and result in more sales. 
  • Put you in a position where you are more certain about what customers in your market need. Not what you think they want.

A good understanding of the opportunities

So you may have a reasonable and ever-growing understanding of the competitive landscape you work in. You have isolated the many opportunities to go forward with. You have seen the benefits of Competitive Intelligence, and you either want to talk to us to see how we can help, set up or enhance your Competitive Intelligence department. Of course, we can support you either way. 

Current operations and expectations

What does the business need to invest in creating your Competitive Intelligence strategy? As importantly, you need to define what the company needs to do to make the most of the opportunities you have and will isolate. Is your marketing, product, sales and customer services processes up to scratch to take advantage of? Define the expectations to the board sooner rather than later, so they are not shocked.

Competitive Intelligence people

Do you need to increase the number of people in your Competitive Intelligence team because you have isolated more markets and competitors? Remember, many others will be looking to recruit Competitive Intelligence team members so that you may be recruiting in an ever drying-up pool.

  • What skills will your Competitive Intelligence team need to move forward into the future?
  • What training will they need?
  • Do you need to embed Competitive Intelligence into your organisations further so that everyone is providing insight to your team from top to bottom?

Buy-in from the top

If you are starting a new Competitive Intelligence function, all the above is applicable, but you are starting from scratch. And perhaps the first place to start is embedding the idea into your organisation. With a suitably influential figurehead, backed by the CEO. 

  • What support will your Competitive Intelligence project need from your business?
  • Whom do you want to be involved with your Competitive Intelligence projects?
  • What blockages will you need to resolve and get onside?
  • You need the senior management team on board and have access. Reporting directly to as close to the CEO as possible. 

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.

Technology

Do you need technology and tools to move things forward? If a new function, think very carefully before investing in a platform. They are not sausage machines. Lots of juicy meat may be found, but you have no bucket to sort it, and all you get is an ever-increasing mess on the floor. Technology helps with the monitoring, collection and collation of information. It can report information. But for it to become Intelligence, it must be looked at, collated, broken down and analysed by a human. Some platforms may claim to do this, but we will leave that up to you to find out they do or not. 

We are not stuck in the dark ages, and we are not anti platform and technology. 

It is essential that you combine some of the great tech solutions out there with experienced people. Technology can help speed things up, and some battle card solutions are excellent. Some are truly awful too, but that’s another story. But ultimately, someone has to build them. The best question regarding technology within Competitive Intelligence is, why do you need it? Can you justify the expense? 

Budget

  • How much budget do you need to get the right people and support agency on board?
  • What will it cost for external resources this year? 
  • How much will the technology cost?
  • How much will access to databases cost?

Identifying these numbers will set the right expectations for budget decision-makers. We find that 99 times out of 100, if a marketing manager comes to us without a budget, they will go quiet after the proposal. They pass the proposal up the line, and a finance manager will ask why are we spending this on them when we have these apprentices or marketing assistants who can do it. It kind of misses the point, but this is common. 

Look back at the market

Before looking at what you want to do in 2022, it’s essential to review what you did in 2021. To understand what went well and what you could have done better. To define where the market was performing, isolate any patterns and how you have performed yourself.

Competitors 

Which competitors became more influential on the market and your performance against them? What have they done to increase their influence and affect your business? Alternatively, was it a decrease in their impact that positively or negatively affected your performance? They may seem simple questions and could be answered; who cares, but knowing why you succeed or fail is very important. Typically theirs lots of back-slapping when things go well and sackings or new training when they dont. But how many times do company bosses ask why?

  1. Why did they increase in prominence?
  2. Why did that happen? 
  3. Was it because we were tremendous, or did that competitor struggle with a new product launch, and their customers came to you? 

So, looking at point three, reacting to a new competitor launch by copying them will not have the desired effect. Just the opposite, and all because no one asked why.

  • Which new competitors popped up in the market? 
  • How did you first find them? 
  • Could you have isolated them quicker?
  • What do you know about them?
  • What do you need to know about them? 
  • How will they affect you in 2022?
  • Did any competitors drop off the radar, merge or even close down? 
  • And how will this affect you in 2022?

List the events

What were the significant events from the previous year, and how did they impact you and your market? Write down and discuss events like competitor product launches, acquisitions and changes in the competitors’ management teams. Look at yourselves too. It’s not just looking externally. Take a good long look at yourself too. 

Ask questions about these events like:

  • What impact did they have on revenues and profits?
  • Was there a defined change in market share?
  • What is the perception of the brand?
  • How did the market and customers react to these events?
  • Did these changes improve or reduce your operations performance?

Look deeper at your performance

Looking deeper at your performance and understanding how your competitive strategy performed.

  • What decisions were made?
  • How were any actions carried out?
  • How successful do they appear to be?
  • What actions failed or were not carried out
  • And what investments were undertaken, and what sort of returns did you get. These are significant investments like buying a competitor to the appointment of a Competitive Intelligence agency.

Isolate patterns

During the previous year, were their patterns and actions? Indications suggesting your competitors’ possible direction? How clear are the signals of their plans, and what do you need to know about them? What are the competitor red flags you have isolated that will tell you where your competitor is along their new path to success?

  • Are they investing in new equipment, recruiting different people, or within alternative geographical regions? 
  • Are these hires a sign of something other happening or a problem with retention?
  • And are they bringing in new senior people? 
  • Is there an indication of new products and new technology? 
  • Is their tone of voice and market message changing? 
  • Are they looking to move into new markets? 
  • What else do they seem to be doing to get an edge? 

Are they watching you?

What do your competitors think of you and your plans? Are looking to copy you, identify and take your customers. Or do they see you as irrelevant to their growth? Or are they not looking at you at all? If not, why not?

Competitive Intelligence helps product road mapping 

You and your competitors need to be more agile when introducing a product or service to the market. So, in turn, you have to be better than them when successfully getting a product to market. You need to know what they want and why you’re the best in your market sector. However, it doesn’t need to be such a difficult task to undertake. And knowing what your competitors are up to will give you an advantage. 

Improve market positioning

The idea of developing new products is, of course, to put more cash onto your bottom line. And ideally with some profit too. You have to create value for the person buying your products or services to do this. If a buyer can’t easily see a value, then there will be fewer sales. It’s not up to the buyer to work out how your product will help them.

Hopefully, product managers ensure sales and marketing teams have something valuable to play with. Something where they can tell the truth about your shiny new product: if sales teams have to exaggerate or lie about how good a product is, they will not come across as passionate or genuine. A lack of sincerity means fewer sales. 

What is a product manager?

It’s wise to understand what a product manager does. They define and agree on what they will build and then put a plan in place. Price up the costings and then make it. They create and deliver a product roadmap to differentiate you from anyone else. If there is no differentiation, then what’s the point? Not surprising Competitive Intelligence is very popular with savvy product managers. Without Competitive Intelligence, they can’t do their jobs. They should take up blindfold archery.

Competitive Intelligence provides product managers with insights and certainty. With more certainty and insight, then you will develop better roadmaps. Product Managers have more opportunities for businesses to succeed.

SWOT analysis is needed on your Competitive Intelligence activities

SWOT analysis done properly is compelling. And SWOT analysis is a simple tool most people know and gives you a framework to see your opportunities and threats while defining your strengths and weaknesses. So here are some questions you may ask yourself to get the most out of SWOT Analysis. 

What are your company’s strengths? 

Isolate the unique strengths that allow you to compete and win in your market. The keyword in the sentence is “unique”. What makes you unique to your competitors? Excellent customer service, for instance, is often listed as a strength. But your competitor would write the same thing down. So is your customer service really unique? Your strengths can include the advantages of your product or service over the competition, how strong your brand is, and how your supply chain works. 

And your weaknesses?

Now move on to things you are not so good at. Understanding your weaknesses is just as important as knowing your strengths. An all-out assault with the best tanks in the world will not succeed if your fuel supply is poor. Or, like the Cold War Soviet forces, you can have the best tank commander in the army at the head of a tank column. Take him out, and you are left with less well-trained drivers who can’t read maps, have no idea where they are supposed to go and dont even want to be in the tank anyway. So you need to be honest about your situation and believe there can be weaknesses in your organisation. 

Can you find any gaps in your column that could impact your market success? To correct these weaknesses, what areas do you need to spend some cash in? What processes and policies need to change the game? Take a look from leadership to products, sales and customer services.

Opportunities that are out there

What are your opportunities for this new year? With your excellent understanding of the probable market shifts, what opportunities can you see for yourself? What opportunities can you see for your competitors? Have they seen them, and can you do something to make them your opportunity? 

  • What new technology is out there to support your business?
  • Will they really bring opportunities, or will they be just white elephants?
  • Any new technology you can provide your market?
  • Is there a competitor you have identified as losing market share whose customers are there for the picking?
  • Are there other markets where you can see an opportunity for your offering?

Isolating opportunities are a fantastic way to develop your interest in Competitive Intelligence. 

The threats you can find

What competitors entered your market in 2022? Do you see any new competitors moving into your manor? How will they differentiate themselves from you? What products will they introduce? Are they going to be better than yours? What threats can you see coming to disrupt your operation in the future? Try looking at your research on the market to isolate threats that could disrupt your market share into 2022. Isolating threats allow you to put a plan in place, reduce uncertainty and those associated surprises and determine what competitive strategies are needed.

Patterns

Analyse, collate and summarise the things you have found out. Look for patterns in these and isolate the decision and actions you need or could make to take competitive advantage of 2022. Determine your key priorities and define the aligned metrics you want to measure your success on. 

Competitive Intelligence helps customer retention 

You and your competitors need to be agile when introducing a product or service to the market. So you have to be better than them when successfully getting your product to market. You need to know what customers want and why you are the best on the market. However, it doesn’t need to be such a difficult task to undertake. And knowing what your competitors are up to will give you a significant step up. 

The winning of a new customer is celebrated. And it takes a lot of effort for the product managers, marketing and sales team to achieve a deal. Retaining the customer is just as hard as winning the work in the first place. Competitive Intelligence helps with customer retention.

Improve customer retention for your business

You have won a piece of business, but it doesn’t mean that your competitors will not be still circling. Perhaps they will be like vultures, waiting for your deal to die. They are then swooping in to save the day and make you a meal for themselves. A multi-year deal will not put them off. They still want a piece of you. It may not happen straight away. But there is no doubt whatsoever that your new customers will be hearing from one of your competitors. They may even conduct a Win-Loss analysis exercise if it’s a savvy competitor. This analysis will ensure they’re better prepared next time. Or when the customer realises they have made a big mistake.

Win-Loss Analysis

This is why we have used Competitive Intelligence to win the deal in the first place. Enabling you not to have just sold to them, instead of developing a good business relationship. Your customer services teams need to build on the business development efforts to ensure your customers remain so. Again, a Win-Loss analysis is excellent for understanding why you won and reinforcing this in the buyer’s mind. But your customer teams need to be ready when they hear a customer is exploring other options in the market. 

Competitive Intelligence is critical within these situations. Allowing your customer service teams to have an excellent understanding of their competitive landscape. Well-armed to show their customers that your offering is still the best available option in the market. Competitive Intelligence brings more certainty and insight needed to retain customers. As well as the confidence of knowing you know your competitors. And that your offering is the best on the market. 

Empowering customer services with more certainty and insight will improve their retention rates. Making getting deals across the line so much easier. Competitive Intelligence will help your business succeed.

How Competitive Intelligence helps win more deals

You and your competitors need agility when introducing a product or service to the market. And you have to be better than them when it comes to business development. You need to know what customers want and why you are the best on the market. However, it doesn’t need to be such a difficult task to undertake. And knowing what your competitors are up to will give you a step up. 

Competitive Intelligence helps win more deals

Competitive Intelligence increases certainty and competitive advantage in an ever-changing world. So when thinking about your situation, it’s essential to consider Competitive Intelligence. 

Improve market positioning of your business

Getting a prospect to choose your product or service over the many alternatives is no easy task. Sales teams need to be practised in communicating clearly a defined differentiation, and they always need to convince buyers that they bring something unique for them. 

Competitive Intelligence is excellent for your pre-call planning. And it helps you stand out because many of your competitors are just going through the motions. Sticking to the same script, forgetting that the first call is where the first impression is made.

It’s not all about Competitive Intelligence

Of course, the sales process is not all about Competitive Intelligence. Your focus has to be on your prospect and understanding their goals and where their pain points are. But without any insight, you are wasting your time, resources and opportunity. Demonstrating knowledge of your prospect’s is the best way to develop trust. 

You build trust quickly

The competition may well be calling them too. So you need to know who the direct competition is. What are their product, price points, and pitch, and how does it compare with your proposition? Be armed with critical statements to blow your competitors claims out of the water? 

Take a look at your competitor’s fundamental weaknesses. Understand how they present their offering to their prospects. 

As a business developer, you must know your competitors. And, of course, your market, whom you are talking to and align it to your value proposition. That’s impossible in the absence of Competitive Intelligence. If you know next to nothing about your competitors’ products or services, you can’t claim to be better? Well, you can, but you could be found to be lying. When? When your prospect speaks to your well-prepared competitor. Competitive Intelligence empowers sales teams with the insights needed to win deals.

How Competitive Intelligence helps improve market positioning

You and your competitors need to be more agile when introducing a product or service to the market. Or selling an existing product or releasing new features. To make positioning easier and give you the step up, it’s important to know what your competitors are up to will give you a step up. That’s why we have seen interest in Competitive Intelligence grow in 2021. And we expect 2022 it be jam-packed. How Competitive Intelligence helps improve market positioning for your business.

Improve market positioning of your business

Let’s take a step back for a moment. Before one of you even pick up the phone to a prospect, business developers need to make them feel loved. So much so that they really want to look at your product or service. Your prospect needs to feel that is an excellent reason to spend time evaluating your solution. Unless they’re bored, they will not waste valuable time on you for no perceived benefit to them. 

And it’s not just down to the sales team to convince prospects to buy. Product and marketing are responsible for prospects knowing your solution is unique. They may not be on the phone with you, but they’re equally responsible for helping you close the deal. 

The positioning of your offering is down to product marketers creating differentiating value. And Competitive Intelligence is essential. If you’re not familiar with your competitors, you’re not equipped to close the deal. Indeed, without knowing what’s great about your competitors’ products. And where they are failing, you are walking down the street blindfolded. Blindfolded with your competitors guiding you. 

What Competitive Intelligence can do for you in 2022?

By empowering marketers with more certainty and insight will improve their market positioning. Making getting deals across the line so much easier. Competitive Intelligence will help your business succeed. This article asked what Competitive Intelligence can do for you in 2022? So the message is unequivocal. Make 2022 the year you use Competitive Intelligence to enhance your market position. You’ll not regret it, and your bottom line will love it.

This is a drawing of the Octopus Intelligence Logo By Octopus Competitive Intelligence, Due Diligence, Competitor Analysls, Market Analysis, Competitor Research and Strategic Business Development to beat your competitors, increase sales and reduce risk

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