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CI Experts Weigh In: How to Drive Engagement on CI Deliverables

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Ellie Mirman on Wed, Jan 29, 2020

Competitive landscapes are fast-moving and complex. Professionals specialized in this field learn the best practices in capturing and analyzing competitor moves and translating that into effective strategies across the business. However, ensuring those analyses and strategies turn into action isn’t so simple. Getting engagement on Competitive Intelligence (CI) deliverables like battlecards and competitive reports can be challenging when stakeholders across sales, product, marketing, and executive leadership are busy with non-CI tasks. So how do you drive engagement on CI deliverables? How do you ensure those teams have the intel they need to do their jobs effectively? We turned to the CI community to share their best tips.

Focus on the Takeaway

A lot of CI research and analysis goes into identifying an insight and resulting strategy. For example, by combining signals from product page changes, job postings, and new content promotions, you could determine that there’s a new product soon to be released by a competitor. How do you translate that into takeaways for audiences in sales and product, especially? Focus on the takeaways specific to that team.

“Teams are busy and it’s easy to overwhelm colleagues with details. Being able to separate signal from noise (focusing on direct competitors, drawing attention to key developments, and delivering the right intel to the right stakeholders) is the key to an effective CI program.”

- Kate Hutchinson, Director of Product Marketing, Alpha 

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Understand the Application

When you have a successful CI program, not only are you sharing intel out to stakeholders, but also those stakeholders are coming to you with CI requests. How do our competitors tackle this product challenge? How do we handle this competitor sales objection? Whenever you get these requests, it’s important to keep in mind the intended application of your response - that will help you tailor your CI outputs.

“Always be sure to understand the reason behind the questions you are being asked; it is crucial to understand how the intel will be used.”

- Ed Dinicola, Director, Global Competitive Intelligence, Merck

Constantly Improve Quality of Deliverables

Deliverables will only be used if the audience perceives them as valuable. A big part of this is ensuring the quality of the data captured and analyzed meets that bar. This includes getting a full picture of competitor moves, getting it in a timely manner, and sharing that in the form of impactful takeaways. Of course, the process doesn’t stop there - getting feedback from those CI consumers is key for understanding if the deliverables are meeting expectations and where there’s room for improvement.

“The best tip that I can share with my peers is to constantly evaluate and adopt new tools within this space in order to make sure that you are able to gather the latest and most accurate information when it comes to your competition. It is the only way to stay ahead of them.”

- Chris Keswani, Region Manager - North America, Forest Interactive, Inc.

Make it Interactive

Don’t just put CI resources out there and hope that others are consuming them. Track that consumption and get feedback. Or better yet, make the whole process interactive to see how those teams are engaging with the material and translating it into their day-to-day.

“Make CI a part of training and regular workshops. Our client-facing teams (sales, CSMs, UX, implementation, etc.) have a lot to think about in their day-to-day and can’t be expected to stay on top of CI. To help them learn and absorb so that they can use CI to benefit their roles, I run workshops every month.”

- Jonathan Michael MacDonald, Product Marketing Manager, Shareworks

Reuse Existing Meetings

To get the attention of busy stakeholders, take advantage of opportunities where you already have their attention. In other words, use existing meetings, dashboards, newsletters, etc. to get critical intel in front of them. CI will get the attention it deserves and, potentially, lower the effort required by not creating a separate meeting.

“Include everyone and share new insights in regular meetings / discussions rather than as part of a separate effort.”

- Tanvir Hussain, Head of Growth, EZ Web Enterprises

Lean Into Current Workflows

In addition to reusing existing meetings, think about ways to reuse existing workflows. How do your stakeholders consume information? What tools and systems do they use regularly already? These systems - like CRMs, sales enablement platforms, etc. - can be great channels for delivering CI deliverables.

In fact, the 2020 State of CI Report found that delivering CI outputs through these systems actually increased the likelihood of seeing that desired CI end result: revenue impact. By leaning into current workflows, using existing software systems as a key channel, you increase the likelihood that those deliverables are consumed, the insights acted upon, and revenue impact realized.

state of competitive intelligence crayon

Getting engagement on CI deliverables is a key step in translating that hard CI work into business impact. By tailoring competitive insights, using existing channels, and making the CI delivery an interactive process, competitive outputs are bound to drive incredible impact across every area of the business.

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Topics: Competitive Intelligence

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