Brian Groth’s view of some of the items that make up a good Competitive Intelligence program, which covers Overview & Approach, Getting Started, Supporting Sales & Marketing, and Taking your CI program further.
A good Competitive Intelligence Program A good Competitive Intelligence Program needs to drive product innovation, forecasting and sales & marketing strategy through competitive product evaluations, sales analysis and market research that together provides in-depth competitive profiles and strategic direction. All together, this enables an organization to: Optimize distinct business capabilities to gain competitive advantage Perform analysis that allows senior management to make more informed decisions that then influence product planning, product marketing, etc. Improve understanding of the industry you compete in, for better forecasting and planning Drive product, sales and marketing innovation and strategy
Mission, Strategies, Activities & Deliverables Evolve and maintain a scalable competitive intelligence program to drive product, sales and marketing innovation and strategy through competitive Mission product evaluations, sales analysis and research that together provides in-depth to guide the competitive profiles and strategic direction strategies Competitive Product Competitive Sales Analysis Competitive Research EvaluationsStrategiesto identify each activity Competitive Partner & Developer, Win/Loss Customer & Industry Analyst Quarterly & Market Labs Customer Integrator, Analysis Partner Perception Reports & 3rd Annual Opportunity on-going interviews Admin and (CRM data) Interviews through Party Data Financials Analysis & on-site & at Marketing & Ad-Hoc on-site & at Events & (MOA) & Activities as-needed events Materials Via Sales events Social Customer The day- Media Needstoday work Establish a rhythm to update content and create new content as-needed based on new product releases or announcements.Deliverables Ensure the content is discoverable and searchable, with applicable permissions as needed. Content includes: • Sales guidance and competitive product overviews • Technical product evaluations and comparisons • Marketing briefs with suggested marketing strategies and tactics • Executive-Level SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat) reports and metrics with revenue and market share trends
Areas of Influence Product Planning Areas to Influence: Product, Sales, Marketing, and Physical Cloud- hosted Executives for investment, M&A and directional input Lab Product Labs Activities: To produce content & insights that are Evaluation used for everything from day-to-day sales and s marketing efforts to executive-level Focus on presentations competitors in Campaig Deliverables: The content delivered to key Sales the strategic ns, Approach grouping for your MarCom stakeholders product ms, - Technical evaluations to explain the Events competitive product - Marketing briefs to explain the competitors Go-To- Win/Loss Market marketing and positioning Analysis Approach Analyst - Sales briefs to explain how the competitor Reports & Quarterly sells and to help overcome common Financials objections versus them - Executive-level summaries to explain the competitor’s financials, trends and overall
Start Small, Plan Big 1. Competitive Profiles: Start with a focus on helping sales, which will grow content and create in-depth competitive profiles while immediately making an impact and learning about the top competitive needs to support sales 2. Strategic Direction: Work towards the mission to also provide strategic direction using these questions to help evaluate the competitive landscape: 1. Strategic Groups: What are the right strategic groups to focus on? 2. Business Focus: What are the competitor’s objectives and strategies? Whats their level of commitment to this business? 3. Positioning: Whats their products positioning and the overall companys positioning? 4. Distribution: Whats their distribution and partner (direct sales, integration, etc.) strategy? 5. Partners: Which partners may eventually offer competing products? 6. Customer Satisfaction: Where do they rank in customer satisfaction surveys? 7. Technology: Who may become a competitor as technologies merge? What new technology has the potential to disrupt the market? 8. M&A: Which weak competitors might merge or be bought out to strengthen another competitor?
Which competitors to start with? Get Opinions Analyze Data Ask executives, sales, engineering, Use internal sales opportunity (CRM), customer and partners the following revenue data and existing Market questions, making note of the products & Opportunity Analysis to determine: competitors: 1. Which solutions are the top revenue 1. Which competitors are we seeing in drivers, and which competitors offer top accounts (losing to or evaluated similar solutions? against) and why? 2. Which competitors are identified the 2. Which competitors do you feel are the most in sales opportunities in CRM? greatest threat today and why? 3. Which solutions and industries will drive 3. Which competitors will be our greatest future revenue, based on the MOA? threat in the future and why? Aggregate the results, initially giving more weight to the input & data from Sales to select the first few competitors to focus on Eventually, group the competition based on technical capabilities, reach/distribution capability, geography, industry focus, solution type, target audience, price points, analyst reports, or our own segmentation. This will give us competitive groups for strategic direction and focus for future competitive intelligence.
How to gather competitive information? 1. Getting hands-on with the product is the first approach, but not always possible. 2. Interview customers and partners about competitive products if possible. 3. Look at what strategic grouping your product fits into. Such as, communications, news service, gaming. Or more specific, such as instant messaging, e-mail, online portal, first- person shooter gaming, etc. Who do analysts (Gartner, Forrester, etc.) compare you against in these groups? Or even, which group do the analysts place you in? (you might have to pay for these) Who are the competitors in these groups? If you don’t know, take a look at free analyst reports and search for your product at sites such as: http://www.crunchbase.com/ - search for your product name and see who they list as competitors http://compete.com – free metrics and a view of the competitor’s metrics http://Wikipedia.org – there is usually a list of competitors or links to a list of companies in this industry (aka, strategic grouping) http://quora.com – search for your product name
Primary types of competitive sales and marketing materials Competitive Sales Content Competitive Marketing Content This should be focused on a single competitor and 1. How the competitor presents themselves in the quickly explain: industry at/with details focused on: 1. How the competitor sells (their sales pitch, • Events they participate in or host with/through partners, etc.) • Advertising for their products and overallGuidance 2. Overcoming sales objections versus the brand competitor with guidance when a defensive • Social media efforts position is needed • Case studies 3. Sales guidance for times when you can take the 2. How the competitor markets with or through lead against the competitor using our strongest partners selling points 3. Customer satisfaction ratings for the competitor 4. Insights from competitive win/loss analysis against versus us the competitor 1. Details of the competitive product 1. Details of the competitive productProduct Details 2. Their strengths versus our product 2. Their strengths versus our product 3. Their weaknesses versus our product 3. Their weaknesses versus our product 4. Screenshots and/or videos 4. Screenshots and/or videos 5. Opportunities we have in the marketplace against the competitor’s product 6. Threats we face with the current or assumed future of the competitor’s product
Tiers of Competitors to guide focus & content • Technical product evaluations and comparisons based on product installs or customer interviews • Marketing briefs with suggested marketing strategies and tactics • Sales briefs and battlecards with suggested sales strategies and tactics Top • Executive-Level SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat) reports and Competitive competitor summaries Threat • Metrics with revenue, market share and so on • Technical product evaluations and comparisons based on product installs or marketing materials Medium • Sales briefs and battlecards with suggested sales strategies and tactics Competitive Threat • Technical product evaluations and comparisons based on marketing materials Minor Competitive Threat back
Topics that a Competitive Intelligence Program includes are: CI Usage and Allocation: Create a communication and governance framework to insure relevant competitive intelligence usage for multiple end users Determination practices for defining who are the end users and what are their unique needs Create consistency in reports for usage among different organization units Maximize the ROI through effective usage of competitive intelligence Scenario Planning & Modeling: Anticipate competitor actions and reactions to enable action and optimize response Use systems thinking to develop scenarios that predict future market and competitor behavior Develop a system of rank-and-order to evaluate the likelihood of outcomes Employ scenario planning to break traditional organizational “world views” Establishing Competitive Intelligence : Value & ROI Effectively managing CI initiatives to ensure the most value-add possible Unlock the value of competitive intelligence Discover where competitive intelligence can generate high ROI Competitive Landscape Analysis: Tools and techniques to identify existing and emerging competitive elements Identify latent (unspoken, unmet) and future customers needs Address the full breadth of the competitive landscape Learn the science-based framework for forecasting the future of competition and objectively identifying strategic opportunities and threats Social Media Intelligence: Use social media to gain competitor insights and anticipate future customer behaviors Listen, categorize and analyze social media conversations to gain intelligence Data management practices for effective usage and analytics Converting social media data into customer and competitor insights Evaluate tools and techniques for collecting and categorizing social media data
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