How to make a case for the importance of competitve intelligence
Whether you’re in product developmetn, sales or marketing, if you deal with competitive intelligence (CI) gathering, you already know how important it is to your business. You see how much information exists in your industry space, and you probably spend significant time and effort capturing and interpreting that data. It’s all worth it though, because the insights you uncover help keep your business on top. You know that an investment in CI is an investment in your future competitiveness.
But when it comes to garnering executive support, the case for CI isn’t always self-explanatory. Executives often lack firsthand knowledge and context when it comes to the ins and outs of intelligence gathering. They see the end results, but they don’t see the late nights and last-minute scrambles that go into producing those results.
In order to secure the funding and resources you need to keep your CI system running smoothly, keep these points in mind:
Competitive intelligence is more than a trend, it’s an old concept that’s been given new life by advanced web-scraping technologies, allowing businesses to gather information at an unprecedented rate. In 2015, around 17% of US businesses surveyed were using some form of data-gathering technology to inform business decisions. In 2018, that number rose to 59%. That type of expansion signals that whether it happens today, tomorrow, or next year, your business will inevitably find a reason to invest in intelligence gathering. So why wait and fall further behind the competition? Nobody wants to feel like they’re missing out on the next big technological breakthrough, and you can use that to your advantage when you’re looking for executive investment.
Bring the numbers
If abstract benefits aren’t enough to make your case, take a look at your company’s recent history. Find instances where intelligence gathering has had a measurable impact on your business’s finances. Better yet, find instances where overlooked information caused your company to miss out on a profitable opportunity. These anecdotes will drive home the concept that good CI is directly linked to your business’s financial health. In fact, 92% of executives surveyed in 2018 said that data gathering and analysis is 'extremely' important to their companies’ successes. It’s no longer a luxury, it’s an investment your business can’t afford not to make.
Think ‘better, stronger, faster’
Once you have the c-suite’s attention, it’s time to talk potential. Whatever your current CI process looks like, chances are it could be improved. Whether you proactively skim the competition’s social media or play catch-up after major announcements, you’re probably not grabbing as much data as you could be, or distributing it as efficiently as you could with a competitive intelligence service. In a 2018 Grid report, businesses already using an intelligence platform achieve on average a 51% adoption rate among users. If 49% of your workforce is left out of the CI process, you’re undoubtedly missing out on the valuable insights those employees might be able to offer.
Building out your CI process means ensuring that you’re capturing, organizing, and distributing information to the stakeholders who need it, in a timely and efficient manner. If you don’t have a full-time staff member or team devoted to it, developing and implementing this type of process can be a daunting task. That’s why more and more businesses are choosing to outsource their CI gathering needs.
Source: CI Radar