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8 Stats to Reference When Starting a Competitive Intelligence Program

Picture of Ellie Mirman
Ellie Mirman on Tue, Aug 18, 2020

Just took a new role in competitive intelligence? Congrats! Forming a new competitive intelligence (CI) initiative for your organization? Fantastic! It’s great to see the business investing in this critical area. There’s so much to do, so where do you start? What are the resources you need, how do you go about analyzing the competitive landscape, and how do you focus your efforts for maximum impact? These eight key stats and graphs from the 2020 State of Competitive Intelligence Report will give you the foundation you need to kickstart a new and effective CI program.

Benchmark Your CI Investment

First, let’s start by figuring out the resources you need to manage this CI program effectively. Depending on your company’s stage and the competitive sophistication of your industry, you may need more or less people, and more or less budget to tackle your CI goals. Large enterprises typically have fully dedicated CI teams and annual budgets of $100k or more. Meanwhile, small businesses will typically start with one employee or even a portion of an employee’s time dedicated to CI, and minimal CI budgets, if any. See more benchmarks by company size here.

Crayon competitive intelligence program

Crayon competitive intelligence program

Scope Your Competitive Landscape

A key part of scoping a CI program is scoping the competitive landscape as well. Businesses today battle an average of 29 competitors, and this number has been increasing year over year. Effective CI goes far beyond tracking a company’s direct competitors and includes the full landscape that may influence the company’s strategy and success. Consider indirect competitors, aspirational competitors, even partners and customers. Of course, don’t forget to include your own company in an assessment of the competitive landscape.

Get the latest data - download the 2021 State of Competitive Intelligence  Report 


Crayon competitive intelligence program

Crayon competitive intelligence program

Set Goals & Key Performance Indicators

Setting goals and KPIs for your CI program is a critical, yet often forgotten, step. In fact, only 44% of CI programs even have KPIs, and 22% don’t even intend to set goals. But going through this process not only helps you focus your efforts, but also results in greater revenue impact. Whether you have a single KPI or multiple, be explicit about what you’re driving towards. This will help focus your efforts and communicate the critical role CI plays in the organization’s success.

Crayon competitive intelligence program

Determine Where You’ll Spend Your Time

On average, most CI professionals split their time almost evenly between competitive research, analysis, and communication. But that research component has been shrinking year over year - and the potential to shrink even more - by leveraging new automation that exists today. As you determine where you’ll spend your time, consider down to the different channels you’ll be tracking to capture your competitors’ activities. You can’t communicate insights that you haven’t yet analyzed, and you can’t analyze intelligence that you haven’t yet researched. CI is a process that builds on itself, so you’ll need to think about how to establish each of these building blocks.

Crayon competitive intelligence program


Crayon competitive intelligence program

Identify Your Stakeholders

CI has no impact unless it gets in the hands of everyone in the organization so that they can act on your insights. If you’re just starting out, you may want to focus on a single stakeholder or two, such as executive leadership and sales. Regardless of how many stakeholders you focus on, identify those who you will support with your CI program, and learn what deliverables they’re looking for. Then, determine how often they’d like to receive them and via which mediums.

Crayon competitive intelligence program

With the resources, goals, processes, and stakeholders established, you’ll be able to flesh out a brand new CI program that will have a meaningful impact on your business. 

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Topics: Competitive Intelligence

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