Competitive intelligence is not just about tracking competitors, it’s any insight that will give your company a competitive advantage, but what that insight is different for every function.
Organizations today must contend with a range of disruptive forces that are altering the competitive landscape.
In addition to market challenges, these disruptive forces also portend untold opportunity, but only for organizations capable of turning decision-making into a strategic advantage and competitive differentiator.
This requires businesses to become more agile and more dynamic so they can uncover and act on insights that competitors cannot.
Businesses need a comprehensive competitive intelligence program to achieve this though.
How do you build a comprehensive CI program?
A comprehensive and successful competitive intelligence program needs to achieve 5 different components to provide the highest value.
- Accessible & Self-serve
- Easy to Act On
Accessible & Self-Serve Competitive Intelligence
The average competitive intelligence team has 3 people that support 500+ across different business functions. Hundreds of people need access to competitive intelligence. To have a successful, all-encompassing, and comprehensive CI program, it must be scalable and accessible to all users.
A self-serve CI program means access to centralized insights, interactive dashboards and reports, build-your-own templates and tools, and user analytics that improve over time.
With a self-serve CI program come additional integrations to make it accessible across different tools that users work in.
For example, integration with your central communication app is imperative to share insights quickly with the right users—other integrations would typically include access within your company’s CRM and other centralized platforms.
Competitive intelligence can impact the entire sales force at both individual and account levels. They need a full, comprehensive understanding at their fingertips.
Everyone in your company will have a different need for competitive intelligence and use it in different ways. It’s important to have an accessible and self-serve CI program that can be scaled at the individual level.
The Ultimate Guide to Integrating AI into Competitive Intelligence Programs
How often have you conducted a Google search and found articles that either provide minimal information on your desired search or no information at all?
We’ve all encountered plenty of articles that provide little to no value.
That’s why a CI program needs to provide information that is immediately relevant to success.
Users can’t waste their time finding information that’s relevant to their job function and strategy.
It’s critical that a CI program provides curated and contextualized information—most people are ad hoc consumers of CI, like sales and marketing teams. They need CI to inform their strategies, but they typically don’t conduct their own.
When teams access it, CI needs to be immediately relevant to provide real value. There’s no sense in a team acting on out-of-date insights from months, or even weeks, prior.
Companies, and individuals in those companies, are always seeking high value and relevant intelligence to influence their decision-making processes.
A comprehensive competitive intelligence program should provide relevant, filtered information to all users based on the users desired context.
Long-winded PowerPoints are a thing of the past. Users, companies, individuals—they all want a streamlined information gathering process.
Competitive intelligence programs should gather and filter information and present it in a format that is simple to understand and available in a variety of formats for each user’s particular needs.
For example, sales teams won’t digest information in the same formats as executive teams or even marketing teams.
Sales teams would most likely prefer their insights presented in a battle card format, whereas marketing would want information related to competitor positioning, market position, etc.
Executives might want information on social sentiments, strategy, website structure and updates.
Every team has its own needs, procurement teams want pricing tables and quality scores on vendors, and business development want account opportunities presented as mind-maps.
CI programs need to be simple, yet flexible, in how they deliver these insights to their users.
If a CI program is unable to be flexible and present information to teams in a format they can understand, the program won’t be effective, and value will be limited.
Insights are only as useful as they are timely. You can have all the insights available, but if they’re not the most up to date insights, they could derail your entire strategy.
A comprehensive competitive intelligence program will provide you the insights you need, right when you need them.
It will provide you the relevant and most valuable information you need 24/7.
Comprehensive CI programs work with your strategy and understand that competitive landscapes can change in the blink of an eye and account for that.
They are constantly gathering and filtering information, so you always have the most up-to-date information in your industry, sector, and market.
Easy to act on
Comprehensive competitive intelligence programs provide insights specific to each user, and specific to each users need.
The insights provided must be easy to act on and relevant to the strategy and story professionals are seeking.
Actionable insights are a culmination of all components in practice. To make something value, you have to use it.
Insights have to be relevant, timely, accessible, simple, curated, customized, formatted properly, and actionable.
When you’re able to pull together the other 4 components of a comprehensive CI program, you can then have easily actionable insights and a fully comprehensive, high-value, and successful competitive intelligence program.
Companies need a comprehensive competitive intelligence program to track their market, competitors, supply chains, customers, and overlooked areas like innovation and disruptors they may not know about.
All the moving pieces in each component make it difficult for businesses to manually stay on top of tracking—hence the need for a comprehensive competitive intelligence program powered by AI and domain expertise.