A common misconception surrounding competitive intelligence (CI) is that its main benefit is for sales teams. While it’s extremely important for sales reps to be prepared, knowledgeable, and armed with competitive battlecards, the benefits of CI stretch far beyond your sales organization. In fact, the benefits of CI expand across your entire organization, helping all of your team members in different ways.
The main reason that the benefits for CI are so expansive is that there are countless pieces of intel which make up your competitors’ digital footprints. Here’s a high-level look at how different insights can benefit all of the teams within your organization.
Marketing teams need to have an eye on everything your competitors are doing so that they are able to effectively market your product, provide value to prospects and customers, and drive leads to the sales team. Some of the key insights that benefit marketing are content, social media, video, discussions on websites such as Quora, and more.
It’s great to know what your competitors are producing, but also how they are promoting it. You can see how they are interacting with consumers and use their content marketing efforts to benefit your own. Here are some ways your marketing organization can leverage competitive insights:
- Take note of the content your competitors publish. It can give you insight into which content resonates most with their audience, and where they are investing the most resources.
- Use their most common keywords to do a keyword analysis and see what information they are failing to expand on. You can create content to fill in the missing pieces and offer something your competitors aren’t.
- Take note of timing and quantity of posting. It’s common practice that a company will ramp up on posting about a certain product leading up to a big launch.
- Benchmark your own activity and engagement on social media alongside your competitors’ activity. This is another opportunity to fill in the whitespace.
- Keeping a pulse on online forums is a great way to position yourself in front of current customers as well as potential customers. Engage in conversation and offer your expertise to differentiate yourself from your competition.
- Monitor where your competitors are getting published to build your own target media and comarketing lists. Note key themes that get them coverage to identify which trends to jump on and which unique themes can differentiate your company.
- Analyze your competitors’ messaging and positioning to craft content that stands apart in the market.
Your product team has your customers in mind when they’re iterating on your products, always to deliver the best product to the market. Tracking product updates benefits your product team, but can cross-over to other teams. For product marketers, it’s great to be able to see how competitors are positioning themselves and how to adjust your own positioning.
Watching the product updates that are being released can show your organization where the gaps are in the market that you could fill. You can also get a better understanding of where other products are going in comparison to your own to see where to enhance each of your product lines. Here are some specific ways your organization can use information from product insights:
- Utilize competitive matrices to evaluate where you stand in the market in regards to factors like innovation, focus area, and customer satisfaction.
- Leverage competitor product reviews to help your sales team close deals, and identify the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors’ products.
- Product marketing can gather the intel to create a competitive comparison sheet, which can benefit strategy for both the product team and the sales team.
- Analyze the pricing and packaging of your competitors products to see how you compare and why there are differences between each solution.
Team and Culture Insights
There are a few key insights that can benefit your recruiting and human resource departments. Generally, keeping an eye on which job listings are added or removed can give you key insight into what your competitors are doing. It can show you where they are looking to expand or put more resources toward that building out a team or product.
Some other important insights to look at are employee, or ex-employee, reviews. This can give away a lot about a company's culture or compensation packages, which is highly beneficial for hiring and retaining top talent for your team.
- Analyze which areas of your competitor’s business are expanding based on job listings to better plan your own growth plans.
- Take information, such as employee happiness and perks, from company reviews to help your team effectively hire the best employees.
- Leverage competitor weaknesses during your hiring process and highlight the benefits of your own culture.
- Track the rate of employee turnover, and level of positions with high turnover, to get insight into the changes on that team / the company overall.
Insights for Your C-Suite
Essentially, every competitive insight can benefit your c-suite in some way, but that’s a lot of information to comb through. The key pieces that are particularly beneficial for executives are funding announcements, partnerships, key competitor moves, and overall market standing. This can help your organization as a whole stay sharp and truly innovate to stay ahead of the competition.
- Analyze your complete competitive landscape and benchmark yourself alongside your competitors to show you who the leaders are within your market, and where you stand.
- Look at added or removed partnerships from the website to get insight into what’s working and what’s not. If a partnership is removed, it gives your team the potential opportunity to reach out.
- Watch for key product announcements - but also product removals - and pricing changes that are subtle but revealing.
- Leadership changes from your competitors can give you insight into the company’s direction. Reviewing the new executives background can give you a lot of information about why they hired the executive, and where they are planning to expand.
Turn These Insights Into Action
While these aren’t all of the potential insights you can gather about your competitors, they show a wide range of value for your organization. All of the data you collect while exploring your competitive landscape can drive informed action across every area of the business. Be sure to distribute these insights and collaborate with your team to ensure you’re getting the most value from your CI analysis. Each insight has its own unique action that will help you leverage the data to benefit your organization.