Corporate Intelligence Seminar 2010 Rev 1


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A Practical Approach to Gathering Corporate Intelligence

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Corporate Intelligence Seminar 2010 Rev 1

  1. 1. A Practical Approach to Gathering Corporate Intelligence MCH Management Associates Chicago 312-735-5022 © 2010 MCH Management Associates
  2. 2. Gathering Corporate Intelligence A systematic, purposeful, ethical process that is ingrained into the company culture or A haphazard process with no specific expectations 2
  3. 3. Elements of corporate intelligence gathering: 1. Competitive intelligence - what information is important to us? 2. Customer/supplier intelligence - what do we want to know? 3. Customer relations - what do we want our customers to think of us? 4. Protecting the company - how do we manage what others know about us? 5. Internal relations - managing ourselves – what is our attitude? 3
  4. 4. Competitive Intelligence – Why Bother? Possible approaches: • Concentrate on own plans and ignore the competition • Obsessed with tracking the actions of competitors perhaps using underhanded methods • Simply track the competition, copying their moves and reacting to changes • In depth competitor analysis for input into strategic decision making Competitor analysis has several important roles in strategic planning: • To help management understand their competitive advantages/disadvantages relative to competitors • To generate understanding of competitors’ past, present (and most importantly) future strategies • To provide an informed basis to develop strategies to achieve competitive advantage in the future • To help forecast the returns that may be made from future investments (e.g. how will competitors respond to a new product or pricing strategy? 4
  5. 5. Typical Questions to Consider: • Who are our competitors? • What threats do they pose? • What is the profile of our competitors? • What are the objectives of our competitors? • What strategies are our competitors pursuing and how successful are these strategies? • What are the strengths and weaknesses of our competitors? • How are our competitors likely to respond to any changes to the way we do business? 5
  6. 6. Competitive Intelligence • What do we want to know? – Who gathers this information for the company? – Who should get the information you obtain? • What can we learn from our mutual customers/prospects? – Customers that have been burned often are willing to talk • What can we learn from mutual suppliers? • What can we learn from competitor’s employees? – Organizational chart for competitor’s key employees – Who is disgruntled or looking for a job? – Interviewing former employees (never miss a chance?) – The impact of alcohol – excessive lubrication • Often you can trade competitive information about a common competitor with a competitor 6
  7. 7. Competitive Intelligence • What do we already know and can piece together from our own employees? • What can we learn from public information sources? – Scour the internet? LinkedIn? • Industry associations – who participates? – Statistics? Other data? – Making good contacts – have a visible, open profile • Ethics – what is acceptable and what is wrong? – What do you do with confidential information that “falls in your lap?” – Your risks? 7
  8. 8. Sources of Competitor Data Recorded Data Observable Data Opportunistic Data Annual report & accounts Pricing / price lists Meetings with suppliers Press releases Advertising campaigns Trade shows Newspaper articles Promotions Sales force meetings Analysts reports Tenders Seminars / conferences Regulatory reports Patent applications Recruiting ex-employees Discussion with shared Government reports distributors Social contacts with Presentations / speeches competitors 8
  9. 9. The Jigsaw Puzzle What businesses probably already know What businesses would really like to know their competitors: about competitors: Overall sales and profits Sales and profits by product Sales and profits by market Relative costs Sales by main brand Customer satisfaction and service levels Cost structure Customer retention levels Market shares (revenues and volumes) Distribution costs Organization structure New product strategies Distribution system Size and quality of customer databases Identity / profile of senior management Advertising effectiveness Advertising strategy and spending Future investment strategy Customer / consumer profile & attitudes Contractual terms with key suppliers Customer retention levels Terms of strategic partnerships 9
  10. 10. Customer / Supplier Intelligence • Who are our key accounts? – Key targets - “conquest” accounts? • Who are our key suppliers? • What should we be trying to learn? – Key customers, other customers, key prospects – Key suppliers • What should we do with this information once we obtain it? • Who are we cultivating as customer/prospect sources of information? – Who are the decision makers? – Who are the abusers of power? • How do we determine what they are really thinking of us? – What do they use to measure us? 10
  11. 11. Customer Relations • Who is “The Company”? • Phone calls - What can we do better? – Image • Who do you want to do business with? – Attitude – Winners smile • How do we promote our company? • How do we get credit for the good we do? • How do we combat anticipated “bad mouthing” by competitors? • What do we do when we make a mistake? – Damage control – quick action versus letting it fester – Ask the customer what they think is fair – Turnaround opportunity 11
  12. 12. Customer Relations • Purchasing negotiations – Their opportunity to make a good deal – Their routines (good cop/bad cop) • How to get higher prices – Every change is an opportunity to increase the price, make it easy • Making commitments – Who makes price commitments? – Who makes delivery commitments? • Never criticize your own in front of others! • Never lie, but don’t tell what they do not ask – When to stop talking • How to handle unreasonable requests • How to stall - higher authority 12
  13. 13. Protecting The Company • What do we need to keep confidential? – “Loose lips sink ships” • Protecting confidential information: – Who has need to know? – What information is valuable? • Qualifying who we openly talk to – What should you assume? – Scams • Who should be informed of attempts to gain information about us? • What you should and should not tell headhunters – Gain respect versus tell all you know 13
  14. 14. Protecting The Company • What do we ask of our employees? – What can we expect? • Whose property is “company work product?” • What should/can you tell employees who leave? – What about documents they take home? – Confidentiality of information on computers? – Patents, copyrights, confidentiality agreements? – Usefulness of non-compete, non-solicitation, non-disparagement agreements? 14
  15. 15. Internal Relations • Importance of morale – Who is responsible for good company morale? • Recognition – your co-workers are “customers” as well • How to handle “malcontents” – What do you do if you see inappropriate actions that clearly could damage the company? 15
  16. 16. Gathering Corporate Intelligence Leadership Sets Expectations A systematic, purposeful, ethical process that is ingrained into the company culture or A haphazard process with no specific expectations 16