“Competitive Intelligence is the action of defining, gathering, analyzing, and distributing intelligence…needed to support executives and managers in making strategic decisions for an organization.” (Wikipedia)
As a VP of Sales, what is your biggest fear when it comes to competitors? “Being beaten” should be your answer. You need to maintain a competitive edge over them, or at the very least hold even. As a result, it’s crucial you maintain strong competitive intelligence.
When it comes to competitive intelligence, there is one worst-case scenario. Your competitor rolls out a new groundbreaking feature / tool, and you had no idea it was coming. All of a sudden you’re months, or possibly years, behind. Your pipeline and ability to make your number are both at risk. You’re at a clear competitive disadvantage.
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While traditional forms of Competitive Intelligence are still critical, times have changed. Using social media for competitive intelligence provides another viewpoint into competitor activity.
“Several research studies reveal the growing importance of social technologies to competitive and marketing strategy.
McKinsey Quarterly: Among 3,103 respondents, 75% use social networking or blogs to scan the external environment for new ideas.
Forrester Research: 82% of 150 companies that monitor social media are primarily searching for competitive intelligence.
Altimeter: From a survey of 180 social media managers, corporations have an average of 178 business related social media accounts.”
Keep up with the field in terms of competitive intelligence, and you’ll naturally keep up in other areas as well.
How to Maintain Competitive Intelligence
Keeping abreast of what your competitors are up to is no small task. You need to apply significant time, energy, and resources if you hope to keep up. In order to succeed, competitor tracking will need to be a regular, ongoing process. As a result, you should include it as part of your Sales Cadence. Include it as a part of your agenda during regular sales meetings. Otherwise you risk losing track of it.
There are multiple ways to gather competitive information:
Internet Surveillance and Monitoring – Chances are, if your competitor is worth tracking, they can be found on the Internet. Social media channels and news sources are great ways to monitor competition. Some of the most widely used social media modes are:
3) Social Media Interpretation: The act of taking this data and turning it into intellignece that provides insights and actions.
This step is the most complex of the three. Anyone can join social media channels and follow competitors. Not everyone can take social interactions, turn it into meaningful data, and generate action items. If you're unsure of where to start, drop a note or call us to get started.
Do you have other insights, another idea, or even a different view? Then please keep the conversation going by commenting below.