The New Year is officially here! While I’m sure you got ahead on your 2019 planning in Q4 of 2018, there is one strategy your team should be sure to incorporate into its plans - Competitive Intelligence (CI). Why should your business incorporate competitive intelligence into its plans? Well, competitive intelligence has benefits for each of your teams - including product marketing, marketing, product, and sales teams - that will give your business a competitive edge in 2019. Let’s break down the different ways competitive intelligence can benefit each of your teams.
Product Marketing is often the competitive intelligence champion. Unless you have a dedicated competitive intelligence professional on your team, your product marketers are usually responsible for gathering, analyzing, and distributing competitive intelligence to the rest of their organization. Plus, competitive intelligence is incredibly beneficial for developing effective product marketing strategies.Strengthen your Product Launch Strategy
Competitive intelligence is extremely valuable for product launches. At every stage of your product launch, competitive intelligence can offer unique additions to your plan. Pre-launch, you can conduct market research to get a better understanding of your markets needs, create messaging that resonates, and prepare your sales team for launch. During launch, your core teams will be working together on sales enablement, content, PR, and closing deals. Post-launch, you can analyze your key metrics, seek customer feedback, and continue to track your competitors’ reactions to your launch.
Finding messaging that resonates with your target market can be an iterative process. One way to build strong messaging is to analyze what your market is already saying. What are your customers saying? What are your competitors’ customers saying? Use common words and themes that you’re seeing from the market to build messaging that resonates. You should also look at your competitors’ messaging to make sure that yours stands out, and differentiates your solution from theirs.
Create Sales Enablement Tools
Competitive intelligence data can add incredible value to your sales enablement tools. Building tools such as battlecards, win / loss analyses, and sales scripts is beneficial for your internal team. Arming your sales team with sales enablement tools will help them have a better understanding of your competitive landscape and win more competitive deals.
Competitive intelligence data can improve many facets of a marketing plan. From content marketing to campaigns and events, competitive intelligence data can add value to it all.
Refresh Your Content Marketing Strategy
Analyzing the content that your competitors are producing can help you give your content marketing strategy a makeover. A helpful trick here is to identify the whitespace - the part of the market that your competitors aren’t investing in, and produce content to fit the unmet need. You can also pay attention to the frequency of your competition releasing new content, as you may be able to match or even exceed their posting frequency to better serve the market.
Launch a New Social Media Campaign
Every company has a social media presence, it is 2019 after all. How are your competitors using social media? Are they using it to promote content, products, or interact with their customers? Is there something your audience needs on social media that your competitors aren’t giving them? Use this analysis to launch a new campaign to engage both current and potential customers on social media.
Attend New Industry Events
Keeping a pulse on the events that are hot in your industry is important. Which events are your competitors attending? Which events have no representation from your competitors that you could attend? Events are a new way to get in front of your target audience, so, monitoring each industry event is a way for you to potentially branch out and reach more potential customers.
Sales will derive a lot of value from competitive intelligence data. The product marketing team will be building them sales enablement tools, which will help them excel at their jobs, and get your company more business. Here are three main ways that your sales team will be able to integrate CI into their day-to-day.
Speak Knowledgeably About the Market
With a better understanding of what their competitors are doing, Sales will be able to speak knowledgeably about the market and build trust with prospects. While on a phone call, if a prospect asks a competitive question, your sales team will be able to answer questions with ease, thanks to competitive intelligence data.
Incorporate Battlecard Soundbites Into Selling
Battlecards are one of the most valuable sales enablement tools. A battlecard has information on your competitors’ pricing, packaging, strengths, weaknesses, and more. By having this information on hand, your sales representatives will be able to answer any question that comes their way about how your product or company stands up to the competition.
Win More Competitive Deals
At the end of the day, closing more deals is the ultimate goal for your sales team. With a stronger understanding of the market and a sales enablement tool belt, your sales team will be ready to close more competitive deals.
Your product team can benefit greatly from competitive intelligence data. What types of updates are your competitors making? What are their customers saying about their products? What features do they have that your product could benefit from? How can you apply what you’re learning about your competitors to improve your own strategy? Here are three ways your product team can benefit from competitive intelligence.
Update Your Pricing and Packaging
Product managers need to understand how your competitors are pricing and packaging their products. If your competitors are changing their pricing, your team should analyze if your pricing can be adjusted to compete. Analyze how your competitors are packaging their products, such as which offerings and integrations come with each product. Use that intel to update your own pricing and packaging options.
Identify Emerging Competitors
Use competitive intelligence data to see how the market is shifting and take note of which companies are popping up in your space. Product development takes time, so it’s good to keep an eye on emerging competitors. That way, you’ll be prepared for if or when your product comes up against them in a competitive deal.
Iterate on Your Product or Individual Features
Tracking your competitors’ product updates over time can give you insight into their product strategy and company direction. Analyze these updates to understand which needs they solve, and couple that with competitors’ customer feedback to see how well they solve those problems. Learn from competitors’ customer feedback to see where there are gaps in their solutions that you could address. Look to win / loss analyses to see if / when product functionality is causing you to lose deals to competitors. Use all of that intel to form your product strategy for the new year.
The value that competitive intelligence can add to your entire business is wide-reaching. As we kick off 2019, be sure to integrate competitive intelligence into all of your strategies, starting your year with a strong competitive edge.