Key competitive intelligence actions to take in 2021 according to experts
As we head into the New Year, many of us are deep in planning, strategy brainstorm sessions, and goal-setting. For competitive intelligence (CI) practitioners, there are many elements to building your annual plan. CI pros have their own roles and KPIs to think about, but the impact of their work felt across the entire organization.
The Crayon team connected with many CI practitioners to gain insight into plans for the New Year. Some of these experts are sales leaders, some are product marketers, and some are competitive intelligence analysts. While all of these priorities and goals center around competitive intelligence, every expert we spoke to had a different action plan and goal in mind for how they wanted to focus their priorities in 2021. Some want to help specific teams do their jobs better with the help of competitive intel, while others want to hone in on specific skills. Let’s look at what these competitive intelligence practitioners are going to be focused on in 2021.
Incorporate competitive intelligence early on in the sales cycle
Competitive intelligence data can make or break a competitive deal. When your sales team has the right information in front of them at the right stage of the sales process, they have a better chance of winning a competitive deal. Ultimately, you want to increase competitive win rate, which can be achieved by improving how CI is leveraged throughout the sales cycle.
“I’d say for our team, it’s to improve our ability to track competition throughout the sales cycle and leverage our data to be more strategic in how we focus our CI efforts (versus creating positioning or collateral as sales reps request it). This will ultimately allow us to improve win rates and increase market share.” - Christine Friscic, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Gainsight
Build a stronger partnership with customer success
Competitive Intelligence can’t be done in a vacuum. Your action items, as well as your desired outcomes, are all related to the overall success of your business. That means you often need to work very closely with other teams to work toward one common goal.
Take a look at how Alex McDonnell at InVision is tackling customer churn:
“It's all about partnering with our Customer Success team to improve our understanding of customer health. That will allow us to prioritize accounts where we face risk and intervene earlier."Alex McDonnell, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Market Intelligence, InVision
Become a better storyteller
When you work at a very technical company, it might fall under your responsibility to turn the technical language into language that can be used to attract your customers. Working on this translation can be great for your team to better position your product and better tell your product story to bring in more business.
“Translate technical differentiators into value propositions / use cases and drive the behavior to be better storytellers.” - Kimberly Bauer, Senior Competitive Intelligence Analyst, VMware Carbon Black
Apply competitive intelligence to more initiatives
You can apply competitive intelligence to many activities and initiatives across your organization. You can support sales with sales enablement materials, apply CI to your go-to-market strategy, and more. As the CI expert at your company, you might find yourself doing a little bit of everything in the New Year.
“I’m focused on creating more enablement content; establish a more regular communications cadence around CI and about applying CI to our GTM activities.” - Matt Powell, Product Marketing Manager, Docebo
Elevate competitive intelligence across the whole organization
If you’ve been conducting competitive intelligence as a manual and fractured process over the years, the New Year might signal it’s time to elevate your strategy. Combining existing methods of tracking your competition and centralizing everything, ideally within a competitive intelligence platform, can give your organization a fresh start for CI.
“In the next two quarters, our primary focus is taking our competitive strategy to the next level. We have too many competitors, and too few people to manage the workload. We have many eyes on us, and the pressure to meet our internal stakeholder expectations have grown large as we continue to grow. That requires us mining our existing ecosystem of disparate sources (eg Confluence Wiki, Google Drive, Email, Slack) for competitive insights, centralizing our competitive content into Crayon (eg battlecards, playbooks, talk tracks), and sunsetting the archaic means of disseminating competitive intel to the field (it's fractured). Phase 1... stabilizing our broken processes and tooling, and building it around Crayon.” - Adam Crown, Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) Researcher, Okta, Inc.
Build a competitive strategy to drive actionable outcomes in the market
"Given the market dynamics in the region, I would aim to focus on two sectors, 1) Exhibitions & 2) Start-Ups. Utilizing my MI/CI skills and experience to navigate the gaps in terms of building competitive strategy and enabling teams with actionable insights. I believe these two sectors will drive business & tourism impact within the region in the next couple of years. From a personal agenda, I also have plans to enhance my skills & get certified further in CI, including Product Marketing space." - Sunanda Thumati, Strategist at Think Curate Intelligence
Centralize and communicate competitive intelligence data
Ensuring that everyone in your organization has access to your competitive intelligence information is critical to success. As we’ve mentioned, CI touches the entire organization, so you want to make sure your findings are in one centralized location and benefiting everyone across your organization.
“As we look towards 2021, Amplicare wants to ensure it remains a viable option for community pharmacies. One of our main goals for next year will be to organize our internal resources by implementing standard documentation of all the intelligence gathered. These documents are living, of course, constantly changing with new information. From there, it’s important to package the intelligence for the appropriate audience: The C-suite for making key strategic decisions, the product team’s roadmap, the marketing team for content creation and targeting, and the sales team’s need to infuse timely, byte size information into their conversations.” - Marvin Guardado, Strategic Partnerships, Amplicare
Setting goals for any initiative is the key to success, especially when it comes to competitive intelligence. No matter what your goal is for 2021, with the right competitive intelligence strategy in place you’ll be better prepared to beat the competition in the New Year.
Author: Emily Dumas