Why Competitive Intelligence has never been more important
It’s essential to keep up to date with your competitors. A structured way to do this is to create a working Competitive Intelligence process. Getting valuable competitive insights provides you with more certainty and competitive advantage. With this approach, you will have more than enough analysed information to hand over to your team.
This is why those who wish to build sustainable business advantages. Namely, sales and marketing professionals are choosing to focus on leveraging Competitive Intelligence. To improve their decision-making when it comes to sales and customer success. Helping them on the front lines.
Why researching competitors takes more than just searching through Google
Believe it or not, Competitive Intelligence takes up more than a quarter of Google searches for competitor updates. Businesses need a deep, continuous understanding of their competitive landscape. Many companies research their competition from time to time. But utilising the art of Competitive Intelligence is a different story. Those who choose to head down this path are determining success. Very few know where to look for their competitive advantage.
The consistent gathering of competitive information builds a complete picture of your market landscape. Helping you know how you can stack it up, as it were. It also provides insight into what’s currently happening. And most importantly, what will likely occur in the coming years.
Competitive Intelligence is the process of activating, analysing and tracking competitive information. Not just competitors but also markets, supply chains and many more. Such a process is conducted to empower you to improve decision-making and execution. Helping with capturing market share, mitigating risk, and, of course, growing revenue.
How can you put Competitive Intelligence into action?
Whether you realise it or not, your competitors are always evolving. Constantly adapting their messaging, product features, pricing, and so much more. In that case, let’s discuss how you can keep your organisation on its toes. Make sure that it always stays one step ahead of any competitive threat coming it’s way.
All it takes are these three steps…
Step one of the Competitive Intelligence process is gathering information. Exploring the digital footprints of your competitors can uncover valuable insights. These can range from messaging changes to product updates. Or from pricing adjustments to new campaigns and news announcements. You will likely find masses and masses of information. But that’s not usually a good thing. Swamping your teams with information is not going to help anyone.
You will miss opportunities if you don’t have a dedicated Competitive Intelligence operation. An operation designed to pull in and centralise data. You soon realise that one of the best places to look for insight is hiding in plain sight. Yes, you guessed it, your rivals. Your competitors’ websites and social media are perfect places to start looking. Online reviews and feedback forums are always rich with meaningful insights for you to uncover. And websites that display job reviews like Glassdoor. Glassdoor is where employees often share intimate details about the company, which you could use with caution to your advantage.
It is also possible for you to gather internal Intelligence, leveraging the wisdom of those inside your organisation. Intelligence is found through prospect conversations, communications on Slack, CRM systems and more. Conversations that contain impactful and meaningful Competitive Intelligence are happening everywhere. All you need is a single source of truth for all of this great Intelligence!
Now that you have successfully obtained all of this valuable data from your competitors, the next thing to do is make sense of it. This is very important, if not vital, as, after all, it relates to your own business. It’s time to cut out the signal from the noise. It’s time to break down what you have found, pull out the key trends and contextualise every word. This analysis stage is all about establishing takeaways and conclusions. Insights that are relevant to your stakeholders. This includes your customer success teams and your front-line salespeople.
But make no mistake, your analysis is a continuous, real-time function, for automation is the key to success here. To give an example, set up automated alerts on negative reviews. Your customer success teams will allow you to analyse the feedback in real-time. You must also understand the impact and context surrounding each piece of Intelligence. Make sure stakeholders are helped in knowing how to best position your company over the competition.
There is no doubt whatsoever that your market is moving very fast. And to stay ahead of the game, you need a deep analysis of your rivals and effective curation of what’s important. Some of it is delivered through automation, and you’ll be able to stay ahead of the game.
And there you have it. We’ve finally reached the third key step of how to exploit the marvel that is Competitive Intelligence successfully.
Activating Competitive Intelligence can appear different for each and every department. From helping the sales team win more head-to-head deals, keeping up with the new functionalities, and making product tweaks. Depending on whom you deliver Intelligence to, you need to tailor your deliverable to meet their needs. But remember that every stakeholder could prefer a different frequency and format of Intelligence. So, it is critical that you not forget that.
We prefer an ‘every watering hole’ approach towards activation. You should distribute this powerful Intelligence into the most established internal communication channels. Such channels could include the likes of Microsoft Teams, Slack and email newsletters. And for sales, in particular, this may even mean placing battlecards right into your Learning Management Systems (LMS) or your CRM.
In an ideal world, you want this essential information turning up for your stakeholders in the places where they work every day. What you don’t want to do is to make them look for it.
Why Competitive Intelligence is an essential platform for your company
Any department within your organisation will benefit from Competitive Intelligence. It could allow product managers to keep tabs on competitors’ products to see how their own stack up. And any insights gained from a rival’s product reviews and website updates could very well aid in their own product development. Those managing your digital presence would be able to use the competitor content. Or, more to the point, improve your competitors’ content. Tailoring their very own messaging efforts to differentiate from their competitors. Sales teams could use Competitive Intelligence-driven sales enablement materials. So they have a better understanding of how to handle sales objections. The list of advantages really does go on and on!
Take a moment to imagine what it would be like if you didn’t have the advantage of Competitive Intelligence? Competitive Intelligence is essential for any company wishing to amplify insights. And identify opportunities in the market.
How your entire company could benefit from Competitive Intelligence
Instead of waiting for competitors to attack your bottom line, adopt a Competitive Intelligence strategy. This proactive approach would allow you to look at a more comprehensive and complete picture. This would no doubt result in a substantial business advantage.
Put simply, if you choose Competitive Intelligence, your company wins in many ways, perhaps more than you would think. After all, sales close more deals, and your existing customers will remain loyal to your organisation. Not only that but your product and marketing would stay ahead of the game. You will make better decisions and will see more substantial results in their market share. Competitive Intelligence. It’s pretty valuable.
By Billy Devereux-Dixon
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