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15 Competitive Intelligence Questions Every Product Manager Needs To Ask

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During this presentation we'll cover 15 key competitive intelligence questions that product managers need to ask.

We;ll cover:
- Questions that highlight a customer's key buying criteria
- Questions that highlight where competitor's are succeeding
- Questions that highlight where competitor's are failing.
Finally, we'll highlight how competitive intelligence teams can effectively partner with product management teams to develop better products and services.

Published in: Marketing

15 Competitive Intelligence Questions Every Product Manager Needs To Ask

  1. 1. 15 Competitive Intelligence Questions Product Managers Need to Ask AIPMM WEBINAR SERIES
  2. 2. Follow: @AIPMM Use: #AIPMM #ProdBOK #CI Let’s Tweet!
  3. 3. Sean Campbell – Cascade Insights Our Speaker
  4. 4. 15 Questions Product Managers… Need to Ask
  5. 5. Let’s set the table FIRST..
  6. 6. A key Question… “Did you LOSE or did you FAIL to WIN?”
  7. 7. A Classic View…of a Competitive Market Our Customers Their Wins Our Losses Their Losses
  8. 8. Typical Research Focus Our Customers TheirWins Our Losses Competitor Losses Focus is Here…
  9. 9. Typical Research Focus Our Customers TheirWins Our Losses Competitor Losses Focus is Here… Limited Analysis No Analysis No Analysis
  10. 10. How much of the buyer’s journey are you actually seeing? How much do you have to learn?
  11. 11. What if you had a CLEAR view? Our Customers TheirWins Our Losses Competitor Losses What about DND? Were losses hand picked? How objective was the analysis? What about sectors only “they” play in? What about where you weren’t invited? What about when you were 4th on the list not 2nd? What about “their” competition? What about when “they” were 4th on the list and not 2nd? What defines a deal that they lose yet you weren’t invited to?
  12. 12. Innovators Dilemma “stay close to your customers doesn’t appear to be robust advice”
  13. 13. Discussion by Key Quote (DKQ) A whole book in one slide…. Coming up Next…
  14. 14. DKQ: Innovator’s Dilemma  You’ve likely heard of it…but have you read it…  Discussion by Key Quote (DKQ)  “stay close to your customers does not always appear to be robust advice”  “we needed to find an organization that could get excited about a 50,000 order”  “good management itself was the cause – managers played the game the way it was too be played”  “generally once the performance level of a given attribute has been achieved, customers indicate their satiation by being less willing to pay a premium price for continued improvement in that attribute”  “well managed companies are typically upwardly mobile and downwardly immobile”
  15. 15. Innovator’s Dilemma “stay close to your customers does not always appear to be robust advice” Our Customers Their Wins Our Losses Competitor Losses
  16. 16. Stall Points “it’s what you know, that’s no longer so…”
  17. 17. DKQ: Stall Points  You’ve might not have heard of it…but you need to read it…  Discussion by Key Quote (DKQ)  Top Stall Item: - “Premium Position Captivity: the failure to shift tactics in response to the advent of a low-cost competitor or changing customer preferences…”  “After hundreds of hours of in-depth examination…we are convinced that much of the answer lies in the insights of organizational psychologists into the related phenomena of shared "mental models" and the underlying assumption sets that support them…..”  “During these companies' growth runs, their assumptions about competitors, customers, and sources of advantage had been dependable and useful, but somehow, across the years preceding their stalls, they had weakened, gone unquestioned, and no longer formed the basis of effective strategy.”
  18. 18. Q: Why did this take 4 years…?
  19. 19. Stall Points “During these companies' growth runs, their assumptions about competitors, customers, and sources of advantage had been dependable and useful, but somehow, across the years preceding their stalls, they had weakened, gone unquestioned, and no longer formed the basis of effective strategy.” Our Customers Their Wins Our Losses Competitor Losses
  20. 20. So What Questions Do I Ask? Top 15 Competitive Intelligence product managers need to ask.
  21. 21.  Every one of these questions was used during the course of a real-world competitive intelligence project for a Fortune 500 company.  Every question generated real insight that led to:  Product Changes  Sales Team Changes  Changes to Go-To-Market plans  Changes to Partnering Strategies 15 Competitive Intelligence Questions… …but do they matter?
  22. 22. CI Questions – Product Managers Need to Ask… Why did you start looking for a solution to your problem in the first place? Why: Was it performance concerns, manageability, support concerns, interoperability, security, or something else entirely?
  23. 23. CI Questions – Product Managers Need to Ask… What resources did you use to pair down your list of potential vendors? Why: Did you use analyst commentary, marketing collateral, direct interactions with competitor sales teams, influencer commentary, recommendations from peers, data from web searches, forum commentary, or information gathered from social networks?
  24. 24. Did you stop talking to certain vendors early in the evaluation process? Why: Was it the product, the cost, how it was sold, or something else entirely, and…were you one of the vendors they stopped talking to early in the process? CI Questions – Product Managers Need to Ask…
  25. 25. CI Questions – Product Managers Need to Ask… What drove you to pick the vendor you ultimately chose? Why: Was it the product, the cost, how it was sold, past experience, or something else entirely?
  26. 26. What kind of end state were you shooting for? Why: Did you meet your expectations?, Exceed them? If you stopped short of your goal – why? Was it cost, time, or there was no way to get there with the solutions you were able to find? CI Questions – Product Managers Need to Ask…
  27. 27. Was the implementation smooth or were their challenges? Why: Where did you run into “speed bumps” during the deployment? Were some of those avoidable from your perspective? Or were they simply expected? CI Questions – Product Managers Need to Ask…
  28. 28. What features mattered…once you were done? Why: Many features may be important. Which ones mattered in the end? Which ones drove the ROI up and the TCO down? CI Questions – Product Managers Need to Ask…
  29. 29. What type of role did partners play? Why: Did they fix holes in the solution? If so, what type of band- aids were used? Was the partner you worked with world-class? Or were they deficient in certain ways? Or were partners not involved at all? CI Questions – Product Managers Need to Ask…
  30. 30. How many different people were involved in the buying process and who was most important? Why: Did technical or business buyers drive the decision? How many different types (personas) of buyers were involved? CI Questions – Product Managers Need to Ask…
  31. 31. How much did the solution cost, how is it licensed, what has it cost you over time? Why: What type of pricing / licensing models are in use? How well aligned are you with these trends? CI Questions – Product Managers Need to Ask…
  32. 32. What was the post sale process like – support, education, etc.? Why: Sometimes the product is great, the sales team is great, and your marketing is awesome. Your support team – not so great. CI Questions – Product Managers Need to Ask…
  33. 33. How do you do that today? Why: Leads to understanding the complete landscape of products / solutions that a customer may be using to solve their business problem. Just give them the time to explain it all. CI Questions – Product Managers Need to Ask…
  34. 34. What kind of skills are necessary to deploy, maintain the product? Why: Leads to how expensive and or troublesome the product will be to maintain a real world environment. CI Questions – Product Managers Need to Ask…
  35. 35. What type of “new” problems has the solution created? Why: One person’s (your competitor’s) problem might just be your company’s opportunity. CI Questions – Product Managers Need to Ask…
  36. 36. Can you give me an example? Why: Remember to challenge them. Otherwise you might never get to wait really mattered. Or at a minimum you’re going to miss out on important detail that you need to hear. CI Questions – Product Managers Need to Ask…
  37. 37. Bonus Question Really…Why?
  38. 38.  "It's not that they can't see the solution. They can't see the problem." - G.K. Chesterton  "There are no right answers to wrong questions." - Ursula K. Le Guin  "We thought that we had the answers, it was the questions we had wrong." – Bono  Make sure you are asking the right questions…on your next competitive intelligence effort. The right questions matter…
  39. 39. Bonus Time But how do I find them?
  40. 40. How do you find competitor customers? LinkedIn
  41. 41. “Real World” Example: - Customer Industry Distribution 0 5 10 15 20 25 BigQuery Cloudera Impala Amazon EMR
  42. 42. Social Media Explained http://gregatkinson.com/social-media-explained/
  43. 43. But can all this sharing point us to the right people?
  44. 44. A few IDI’s on a recent project… Everyone a customer of the competitor…
  45. 45. Every single person – sourced via social media..
  46. 46. It can be done…  Stop using panel providers  Stop using complicated screeners  Stop limiting yourself to your own customers  Stop limiting yourself to your own personal connections and those of your colleagues  Stop saying it can’t be done…  Stop saying it will take too long
  47. 47. Competence leaves a Digital Fingerprint…  In the era we live in, people simply have to communicate what they know, and the skills they bring to the table.  Otherwise they aren’t going to get the job or career they want in the future.  In short how else do you let the world know what you are super at, unless you share it?  And increasingly an array of tools and websites make it easy for us to share our superpowers…
  48. 48. Follower Wonk
  49. 49.  Competitor Case Studies  Social Media “friendlies”  Customer Support Forums  Industry Support Forums  Speakers at Industry Events  Slideshare Presentations  Lists of Enterprise Salespeople – Connections  And many, many more avenues…. So where can you find competitor customers? Everywhere
  50. 50. Two eBooks – Go Beyond Google and VOTC
  51. 51.  The only competitive intelligence firm…focused exclusively on the B2B tech industry  Learn more at:  http://www.cascadeinsights.com  Competitive Intel Podcast  http://www.cascadeinsights.com/podcasts Cascade Insights About Us
  52. 52. Q and A … Ask Questions. Our team is standing by to help. The webinar slides will be posted to our website and our Slideshare.net/aipmm page. The webinar recording will be posted at AIPMM.net for members.
  53. 53. Product Management Body Of Knowledge We will pick one winner from our attendees.
  54. 54. ACCELERATINGYOUR PRODUCT MANAGEMENT CAREER Mar 27 AIPMM Webinar Series: http://aipmm.com/aipmm_webinars Topic Suggestions: support@aipmm.com Announcements: http://www.aipmm.com/subscribe LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/aipmm Membership: http://www.aipmm.com/join.php Certification: http://aipmm.com/html/certification/ UpcomingWebinar

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