Competitive intelligence is all about collecting and analyzing and using data associated with competitors, customers and other market factors that plays a vital role in giving your business a competitive edge. It not only helps your business understand their competitive environment but also gives them visibility into challenges and opportunities that they can take advantage of.
In addition to this, it can also help you predict industry trends and make the right business decision, which can guide your business towards the path of success. You can also anticipate the next move of your competitors by gaining a sneak peak with competitor insights. You will have to create a competitive intelligence process in order to take advantage of it. Don’t know how to create a competitive intelligence process? You are at the right place.
In this article, you will learn about the step by step process that you can use to create a highly effective competitive intelligence process.
Set Clear Goals
The first thing you need to do is to define your goals. This will give your competitive intelligence team a direction to move in. Despite this, 78% of respondents said that they have not defined their marketing and competitive intelligence goals. If you are one of them, you need to ask yourself, what you really want to achieve with competitive intelligence? Remember that there is nothing wrong in having multiple goals for your competitive intelligence efforts.
Devise a Plan For Each Goal
If you have multiple goals, you should have a separate plan for achieving each of these goals. Why do you need a separate plan for each goal? Because each goal will require different resources and tools to achieve so one size fits all formula does not apply here. What’s more, the goals might also vary from department to department. For instance, your sales team might be interested in visual data which help prospects see how your product might be better than your competitors.
Your IT team wants to buy VPS or upgrade their current infrastructure to serve their customers in a better way which can give them a competitive advantage. On the other hand, your top level executives might be interested in identifying new opportunities and markets to tap into. You need a dedicated plan for each goal and create a process which helps you achieve it.
Identify Internal Roles
Once you have a clear goal in front of your eyes, the next step you need to take is to define internal roles which will play a pivotal role in your competitive intelligence process. It could be your product team who have inside information about what features your competitors are about to add in their new products or sales team who have pipeline insights and activities data.
Additionally, you also need to understand which department requires competitor intelligence and why. What questions are they trying to answer with these competitor intelligence data? You need to have the right people at the right place in order for your competitive intelligence process to work efficiently. In short, you need a dedicated competitive intelligence team who are experts in their own fields.
Know Your Competitors
Irrespective of which industry your business operates in, there are chances that you might have competitors to deal with. In some cases, they might not be as obvious while in others they might be your direct competitor. No matter what the situation might be, it is important that you know both your direct and indirect competitors inside and out.
Even if your competitors are making different products which do not compete with yours but are targeting the same audience as you are doing then you should still focus on that competitor. Think about three brands that have always been mentioned alongside your brand. They are most probably your direct competitors. Next, look for an emerging brand, who is planning to disrupt your industry. Finally, think of a brand who wants to stand toe to toe with your current brand. They might be your indirect competitor. You can also identify your competitors by looking at the audience they are targeting and products or services they are launching. If their products or service is in direct or indirect competition with your brand in one way or another, you should consider them your competitor.
Run The Process
Once you have created the process, now it is time to put it to the test by executing it. Here is how your process should work.
Define the business problem you want to solve
Identify competitive data sources
Collect and organize data
Convert them to actionable insights
Communicate results and findings
Provide feedback and re-evaluate
Once you have a strategic and streamlined process, it is much easier to repeat it and gain a competitive advantage over your competitors.
Compile Results and Present Them
Now, it is time to share competitive intelligence with your team. As mentioned before, there are two types of intelligence that emerges from the process.
When you acquire tactical intelligence, you have to create a report or presentation in order to answer the primary question. On the contrary, strategic intelligence assists businesses in identifying practical solutions that can give their organization a competitive advantage.
Measure Adoption and Effectiveness
After implementing your competitive intelligence process, now it is time to evaluate the effectiveness of the process. You need to prove that it is effective in order for its mass adoption. To ensure your competitive intelligence process delivers consistent results, you need to run a feedback loop to understand what is working and what is not.
This will allow you to make changes to the process to achieve even better results. For instance, if a presentation is not working during demos for your sales team, you can consider any other medium to deliver the same information in a more engaging way. To do so, you will have to ask your sales team for feedback and make changes in the light of their feedback.
Which steps do you follow when developing a competitive intelligence process? Share it with us in the comments section below.