Rachel Pangburn and Garrett Denney—who lead competitive intelligence at RF-SMART and Crayon, respectively—are well-versed in the act of presenting CI program results to senior leaders. They’re so well-versed, in fact, that we did a webinar with them to tap into their collective best practices. You can watch the recording below.
If you’re short on time, here are my 3 favorite tips from the webinar:
- Tell a story.
- Identify the ONE takeaway that you want your audience to remember.
- Include an appendix with data that supports your story.
Let’s elaborate on each one.
1. Tell a story.
“Data doesn’t change our behavior; emotions do. If data changed our behavior, we would all sleep 8 hours a night and exercise and floss daily and drink lots of water.”
That’s my favorite quote from one of my favorite TED Talks, Karen Eber’s Why Storytelling Is More Trustworthy than Presenting Data.
If you watch the video, you’ll hear Karen explain the science of storytelling. When you listen to someone tell a story, you feel empathy for them. The more empathy you feel, the more oxytocin is released in your brain. The more oxytocin you have, the more you trust the storyteller.
That’s why you must tell a story when you present the results of your CI program to senior leaders. It can be brief. During the webinar, Rachel described the 60-second story she incorporated into a recent presentation. Her story starts with a competitive insight that she found using Crayon and ends with the positive sales results that the insight ended up driving.
Short, simple, and guaranteed to earn trust.
2. Identify the ONE takeaway that you want your audience to remember.
Yeah, I know—this tip could be a bit of a struggle. Any given quarter, there’s so much interesting stuff that you could share with your senior leadership team (SLT). But, unfortunately, the more stuff you cram into a 20-minute presentation, the less likely they are to remember any of it. Plus, identifying one key takeaway makes it much easier to create your story.
To give you some examples, your one key takeaway might be …
👉 Our sales team is getting better at selling against Competitor X. Here’s why.
👉 Competition is intensifying in the mid-market segment. Here’s what we’re doing about it.
👉 Historically, our customers have churned and switched to Competitor X because [insert reason]. Here’s what we’ve done about it.
Let’s say that third example is your one key takeaway. You could pick a customer who switched to Competitor X for that reason and tell the story of their experience with your product. Then, you could walk through your strategy for solving the problem and share the results.
To recap: Identify your takeaway, and then create your story.
3. Include an appendix with data that supports your story.
Just because data doesn’t change our behavior, doesn’t mean we can ignore it. Make sure your slide deck—which, as Scott Frost recommends, you should send to your SLT several days before your presentation—includes an appendix where people can find the data that supports your story.
Speaking of data, here’s a bonus tip from Garrett: Whenever possible, marry self-reported data with objective data. For example, if you survey your sales team to assess their confidence selling against competitors, marry the results with battlecard adoption data, competitive win rate data, etc. Survey data, on its own, only tells you so much.
Learn how to create a business case for your CI function
If you found these tips helpful, I strongly suggest you watch the recording of our conversation with Rachel and Garrett. And if you’re hungry for more content that helps you make the business case for competitive intelligence, head to Crayon Academy and enroll in the Architect course. It’s free, on-demand, and 100% self-paced.
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