Intelligence is so important to many sectors of society, particularly governments, law enforcement, and the military. So, too, is its value to business.
A pre-pandemic survey by Crayon showed that 90% of those polled reported that competition had gotten harder in the past three years with another 48% saying that competition had even become much more competitive.
Add to that results from Crayon showing that the average number of competitors had grown from 25 to 29 in nearly every size business category between 2019 and 2020. Large enterprises with more than 5,000 employees saw the biggest jump to 43 competitors compared to 27 a year earlier. The only exception and experiencing a decline was medium businesses with 50 to 500 employees.
As a result of this growth, a growing number of brands have begun to recognize the value of competitive intelligence (CI). 57% said they now have teams of two or more CI professionals compared to just 37% two years earlier.
A large part of the reason for growth in CI may be attributed to the recognition that competitive intelligence doesn’t just benefit marketers. It’s also valuable to sales, product managers, customer service/success staff, and executives. Here’s how it helps.
For folks in sales, CI arms them with additional information and data, oftentimes enabling them to better manage prospect presentations and direct sales to the brand by way of tools like battle cards. Having such an upper hand increases closing rates and sales.
Product managers find CI invaluable in planning. Not only does it afford them information about what isn’t appealing to customers of competitors. The same data helps them anticipate what may likely be cherished by consumers and plan more appealing landing pages.
To customer success/service representatives, CI makes it easier to keep a pulse on what’s going on, not only within the brand but also among the competition. This heightened awareness, along with empowering staff to innovate solutions to resolve issues will reduce churn and retain customers. Having battle cards and receiving CI and market trends in a newsletter are also helpful.
Employing CI along with a dashboard for brand executives will help them get a quick picture of marketplace shifts. This will also help them better define and boost their long-range vision.
As for marketers, most are already aware of CI’s potential to identify possibilities for growth. Like customer success/service staff, CI helps marketers keep an eye on the competition to better identify and exploit growth opportunities.
Brands that are not yet taking advantage of CI should do so sooner than later. In doing so, brands also need to be sure to measure its impact. Crayon’s survey discovered that those that had defined KPIs were more than two times as likely to report revenue increases because of CI. Yet only 44% of those employing CI had KPIs.
What’s also important is scheduling frequent CI updates. This keeps it relevant. And, of course, be sure to share the results with the different team members mentioned above so that they, too, can benefit from any new intelligence.