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KPIs for Competitive Intelligence: What to Measure & How to Drive Impact

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Alicia Thomas on Fri, Jan 24, 2020

One of the hardest problems for many competitive intelligence (CI) professionals is how to measure the impact of programs that they put into place. In fact, less than half (44%) of CI teams have defined KPIs, which is interestingly a decrease from the previous year. 

State of Competitive Intelligence Crayon

So why the decrease in measurement for CI KPIs? With the rapid adoption of CI across all types of businesses, it makes sense that a surge in newcomers in the infantile stage of measurement and development would alter the results of a cohort. 

But these KPIs are critically important, especially when there isn’t a clear silver bullet for measuring the success of CI efforts. Setting and measuring KPIs for CI can solidify the fact that CI is in fact driving impact for an organization. 

In our most recent report, the 2020 State of Competitive Intelligence, we had the opportunity to take a closer look at the KPIs survey respondents shared and how they can help you drive impact for CI.

Which KPIs CI Pros are Measuring Today

In the report, we saw that the majority of those using KPIs for CI today are using both qualitative and quantitative measures to get a complete view of the impact CI has on their business. 

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

State of Competitive Intelligence Crayon

Many survey respondents shared that they looked at a mix of KPIs that ranged from sales results to qualitative feedback to engagement on CI resources. 

From the report, here are the most commonly named KPIs:

  1. Revenue or sales results, including revenue won, revenue increases, sales influenced
  2. Qualitative feedback, via surveys or individually
  3. Engagement on CI outputs, such as views and downloads
  4. Market share or related metrics such as share of voice, share of wallet, brand awareness vs. competitors
  5. Customer retention or customer satisfaction/NPS
  6. Accuracy of intelligence and predicting competitive movements
  7. Win rate, or competitive win rate specifically
  8. Decisions influenced and how competitive insights drive company strategies 
  9. Quantity of outputs and/or requests, showing desire for more CI and effectiveness of executing on these requests
  10. Awareness/understanding of changes in the market landscape

By combining a variety of different qualitative and quantitative KPIs, you’ll be able to get a more accurate look at how your CI efforts are performing. 

Revenue is the Ultimate KPI

Money matters, and that means, for CI KPIs, revenue impact is top dog. When we dug into the data, we found that 52% of businesses have seen an increase in revenue as a result of CI. This is a slight increase over last year's survey results.

Clint Eastwood can be quoted as saying, “what you put into life is what you get out of it,” and the same could be said for competitive intelligence efforts. Businesses that invested in people, time, and budget were more likely to report revenue increases. The most noticeable correlation between input and outcomes can be seen in revenue impact vs. CI team size. It’s clear that the more dedicated CI employees, the higher the return (up to teams of 11+ employees, when things begin to level off).  Revenue impact also trends higher with an increase in spend but has some levels of variation. But given that this data set is all correlated, it could mean that the companies that saw revenue impact who were the ones that invested more in people and budget.

State of Competitive Intelligence Crayon

State of Competitive Intelligence Crayon

But before you say to yourself, “great— now I just need a ton of money and more headcount,” it’s a bit more calculated than that. The data shows that creating a strong foundation is key to truly driving CI’s impact on revenue. To be more precise, activities, like defining KPIs, as well as regularly updating and circulating new information, are also key to driving impact from CI. 

State of Competitive Intelligence Crayon

State of Competitive Intelligence Crayon

The data around CI KPIs and impact on revenue make a few points very clear. Most notable, committing to KPIs is challenging, if not a confusing subject for many, with 56% of CI orgs having no tracked KPIs. Second, that the time, effort, and budget put into CI really does have an impact, and lastly, that all of that doesn’t matter quite that much if there isn’t a plan in place to measure those efforts. 

If you’re a part of the 56% of CI pros who fall into the no tracked KPIs camp, there’s no time like the present to take a crack at tracking your CI KPIs. Creating KPIs will allow you to assess how your CI efforts are working and be able to use that information to inform and adjust your future strategy.

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Topics: Competitive Intelligence

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