Competitive intelligence is how many businesses stay one step ahead. It’s the key initiative that could make the difference for your organization. And getting started is easier and faster than you might think.
The best business leaders never stop learning. They literally make it their business to stay on top of what’s happening in the industry, with their competitors, and in the wider world. For strategic decision makers, knowledge is power and those in the know rise to the top.
But leaders need reliable information to work with. That’s where competitive intelligence comes in. Competitive intelligence, or CI, is the collection and analysis of a wide range of information relevant to your business. This goes way beyond anecdotal info and gut instinct. When done right, CI reveals actionable insights that put you ahead of the game. It’s one of the quickest and most efficient paths to increased revenue, profits, and sales productivity.
Find out how leading companies are leveraging CI in this short, 30-minute recorded Thought Leadership webinar. This episode is part of the ongoing Success Series of webinars brought to you by the marketing experts at Virtual Intelligence Briefing.
GET KEYS TO SUCCESS
Listen in as Tom Riddle, director of survey and research solutions at ViB, reveals everything you need to know about CI.
Find out what makes competitive intelligence a winning strategy for organizations of all sizes. Tom will share with you:
- How competitive intelligence helps companies make million-dollar decisions
- The key building blocks of CI
- What makes CI programs successful
- Proof points from a recent CI case study
- Ways to quickly and inexpensively obtain high-quality, competitive insights
LEARN HOW COMPETITIVE INTELLIGENCE ENABLES CONFIDENT DECISIONS
Tom explains the definition of competitive intelligence: “It’s decision-quality intelligence about you and your competition to identify and confidently focus on the highest return marketing, product, and sales initiatives that are required to increase success.” The success that companies are looking for is growing their revenue. Decision-quality intelligence is “plus or minus 3% accuracy. With that high standard of high-quality information, Tom says, “you can bank on the results.” That’s how competitive intelligence allows companies to confidently make million-dollar-plus decisions.
Competitive intelligence comes in two types: market analysis and opportunity analysis. Market analysis focuses on your target market with inputs that include buying committees, personas, and company sizes. Opportunity analysis involves analyzing prospective, won, and lost deals to help you understand how to replicate wins and decrease losses.
According to Tom, many companies put both types of CI to use because they complement each other, giving you a full picture to act on.
DISCOVER THE CI BUILDING BLOCKS
The building blocks of CI are awareness, perception, familiarity, and relevance.
“One fundamental you have to know is how aware people are of you and your competition,” says Tom. The simple reason is that if they’re not aware of you, “you have no shot at doing business with them.”
When gathering CI, one option for discovering awareness levels is with unaided recall. That’s when respondents are asked to “type in a list of vendors that they’re aware of.” Unaided recall gives you an indication of “who’s top of mind, who they really know something about,” says Tom.
Aided recall is when you ask someone to pick entities from a list and describe how they know of them. Tom explains that aided recall “helps you know if you need to crank up the volume on one channel” or if you’re already doing well in another channel. Knowing the channels of awareness gives you actional insight into your audience’s behavior.
Other aspects of CI are familiarity and perception. Has a person used your solution in the past? Have they also used a competitor’s solution? Here, relevancy is important. “Let’s say they perceive you as low on a certain capability,” says Tom, “but their reporting on that capability is no longer as relevant.” That information gives you an opportunity to take steps to fix that perception.
“It is really, really important that you not only get a current snapshot of how they perceive you, but how they perceive your competition as well,” says Tom. “Perceptions can be managed and altered, many times with marketing alone.”
ENSURE YOUR CI PROGRAM IS SUCCESSFUL
The most important element of any CI program is decision-quality data. You want information that “gives you confidence to make those high-consequence decisions,” says Tom. What you want to avoid? Decisions made using incomplete or unscientific anecdotal evidence. Also watch out for decisions made by the person “who speaks loudest or has the most clout” but who may not have access to “the highest quality information.”
To get clear, reliable, decision-quality information, “you need to do a statistically significant survey.” And it has to be a 360-degree market intelligence survey that studies aspects of awareness, perception, familiarity, and relevance about you and your competition.
Tom makes the point that “the results have to be actionable and they have to be actionable in a pragmatic way.” He stresses that competitive intelligence studies are “really worthless if it’s not easy and quick for you to act on the results.”
LEARN FROM A CI CASE STUDY
Tom describes a competitive intelligence case study involving a company that had started to lose market share. Anecdotal information indicated they were failing to properly support two product lines. But Tom emphasizes: “You can’t really make decisions on anecdotal evidence. There’s a high likelihood you’re going to be wrong.”
The company needed to know and understand what was going wrong, why it was going wrong, and what to do about it. “We did a survey related to each of those product lines,” explains Tom. “These surveys had 450-plus qualified respondents.” Targeting is key: if you don’t target the right people, the survey will be unsuccessful.
The company was eager to understand both positive and negative information. As such, “they got precise understanding on which initiatives” to cease, and which would increase product awareness across different channels. The CI program provided insight that helped them focus their marketing efforts on the personas and channels most relevant to their business. “They’ve been able to create clearer, higher-impact messaging,” says Tom. Even more importantly, the company used the results of their CI study to “develop really accurate sales playbooks and competitive battle cards.”
INCREASE YOUR KNOWLEDGE AND YOUR REVENUE
Go beyond anecdotal information with reliable, actionable data. Put competitive intelligence to work for you by getting started with your own CI program. Find out more by listening to the entire episode, “Thought Leadership Webinar — Competitive Intelligence: The surest path to accelerate revenue?” You’ll gain knowledge and insights that help you win the market and beat your competitors.