At Aqute Intelligence, we work with a wide variety of clients. Within these differing organisations, it is often the same departments that benefit the most from competitive intelligence.
Within your business, which particular individuals or teams have the most to gain from a competitive intelligence strategy? Who are your main internal audiences for organisational knowledge? Let’s have a look at the key consumers of competitive intelligence...
It is very hard to pitch a product or service without knowing about the competition. Salespeople want as much intelligence about the opposition as possible: what exactly they are pitching, how they are pitching it, at what price and what are they saying about “us”... Being ready to counter any claims made by the opposition is an essential weapon in the good salesperson’s arsenal. And if the language here is getting somewhat combative, that’s because we are dealing with one of the most competitive areas of business.
Some sales teams like to work with a “battle card”. This is a short document that gives them key information about a specific competitor, which may include product, strategy, pricing, marketing, strengths and weaknesses. Competitive intelligence are an essential part of any good battle cards. And it needs to come from solid research – competitive intelligence based on hearsay just will not cut it.
But of course, without a product, we would not even get as far as worrying about our salespeople’s knowledge. Product developers need to know as much as possible about what the competition is producing.
What are the key features of their product? Which features are particularly strong (i.e. is the feature unique, essential, appealing, new?), and are there any weak points (this can stretch from poor quality components to a risky licence)? How do we best compete with this product?
As well as product design, this information helps allocate resources. Knowing the competitor’s product roadmap will help developers know the timescales and react accordingly.
The marketing team
The marketing department will always need to know what the competition is saying – you want to be unique, yes, but you don’t want to be a lone voice. Knowledge of the competition’s marketing voice and plan helps you plan your organisation’s strategy.
The marketing team will want to know what the competitor is saying about “us”, so they can either message defensively or correct any misconceptions. There could also be some weakness in the competitor’s message that “we” can then message against. If this all sounds terribly cloak and dagger, it isn’t: it’s just simply a means of managing any misinformation.
Information about the competition’s marketing resources and allocation, external agencies and historic marketing will also be useful. The product roadmap will give essential information about launch and campaign dates.
Competitive intelligence will ultimately help your entire organisation. However, by making sure that these three key teams (or individuals, if you’re working for a small business!) have access to all the knowledge they need, you are equipping them with a useful tool to deliver and sell the best product possible.
To discuss how we can support your salespeople, developers and marketeers, please get in touch.