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Before implementing a dedicated CI program, Salsify’s competitive intelligence function was an inconsistent and largely ad hoc process in need of a solution to help streamline competitor tracking and improve sales enablement.
With Crayon as a resource, Salsify saw a 22% increase in competitive win rates in the first year, with 78% of all competitive revenue influenced by their battlecard program.
"The Competitive Center of Excellence is an invaluable resource to our sales team. Knowing we have people and software continuously analyzing the competitive landscape enables our team to sell with confidence, and provides us with the right intel, for the right situation, at the right time."
VP of Sales, Salsify
Nathan Teplow understands the power of a strong feedback loop. As the Competitive Intelligence Director at Salsify, he is a team of one that influences every area of the business — from enabling sellers with competitive battlecards and providing insights that influence the product roadmap, to helping the customer success team navigate conversations about competitors.
And while Nathan is leading the charge of a thriving CI program today, competitive intelligence at Salsify wasn’t always this way. In fact, when Nathan arrived at Salsify there wasn’t even a dedicated CI role.
"Before Crayon, CI was spread out across team members without a dedicated home. So we'd lose a deal to a competitor and put together a strike team to figure out some messaging and action items and training, but then we'd move on to the next thing,” explained Nathan.
Ultimately, ad hoc competitive intelligence is only as sustainable as your market landscape is consistent. After a wave of industry funding, Salsify saw an influx of new competitors popping up and converging around similar messaging. Nathan realized that if Salsify wanted to defend its position in the market, Salsify would need a dedicated competitive program to stay proactive and ahead of competitive threats.
“Doing nothing or doing ad-hoc work doesn’t cut it and is purely reactionary, so the cost of doing nothing becomes expensive. Instead, an impactful CI program starts with the right intel, being able to clearly identify who you're tracking, consistently track their movement, how to organize it and absorb it and tweak it. We felt like Crayon gave us the best opportunity to track at scale and even more critically — to help us transfer our intel to exceptional enablement, training, and battlecard initiatives and programs.”
“We knew we needed a strong backbone that we could build our CI program around, and that's when we started looking at different CI vendors," said Nathan. “We wanted something that gave us a really strong intel foundation — being able not just to capture intel, but to organize it and filter it in a very cohesive way. And then enabling teams across Salsify with that intel to ultimately win more deals. That's why we chose Crayon.”
With Crayon in his toolbox, Nathan set his sights on scaling his CI program swiftly and efficiently, by generating engagement of and enthusiasm for competitive insights — and laying the groundwork for a healthy CI feedback loop along the way.
Nathan started by creating a Slack channel where the engagement wasn’t just driven by his own contributions, but was a curation of intel and thoughts from around Salsify.
“We have a highly-active Slack channel where a lot of engagement comes from our co-founders and executives,” said Nathan. “They're in tune with what's going on, and they'll chime in on that channel with their own perspective, as people with years of experience in this industry. And over half of the entire company is actively seeing and learning from this.”
The best part? Slack is integrated with Crayon so all the engagement and intel sharing that happens within Salsify’s Slack channels is seamlessly captured in Crayon and more specifically in Crayon deliverables, like battlecards.
“I'll use Crayon to keep an eye on industry trends. Like if I see a competitor is blogging more about certain topics, or if they are pushing towards more G2 reviews. Anyone can read a blog post or track social media, but Crayon allows you to read between the lines of what competitors are doing and quickly implement that into your enablement motion.”
When it comes to generating adoption for your CI deliverables, “if you build it, they will come” is not always enough — you also have to establish a reputation for your program of being a trusted, impactful source of information. And according to Nathan, the difference between having that trust or not comes down to how your program values teamwork.
“Driving ongoing adoption comes down to winning and losing together. I've heard of CI programs where people are hesitant to share wins and losses because they think we'll uncover something that will get them in trouble, but that isn't the point of the program,” said Nathan. “We're all trying to win. So, we win together and lose together. Any debriefs or feedback that comes from a loss just helps us to get better as an organization.”
Nathan used that healthy team mindset as a jumping off point to create that invaluable feedback loop his CI program needed to scale to enabling the entire company.
“To keep competitive intelligence an open and ongoing conversation I try to push the team to share info back to me, because the more eyes and ears we have out there, the better the CI program is,” said Nathan. “One of the sections of our newsletter is field intel, which is collected via Crayon’s email and Slack features. I highlight and promote the people sharing info back to give visibility to valuable insights shared by the field, and to encourage others to take part.”
Feedback loops need positive reinforcement to flourish. Nathan found that the easiest way to generate field intel was to shine a light on what was already being submitted with genuine recognition — and thanks to Crayon’s Slack integration, sharing and reinforcing intel was as easy as clicking a button.
That genuine competitive intelligence feedback loop did the trick, with 78% of Competitive Revenue in 2022 being influenced by Crayon, according Crayon’s influenced revenue integration — the result of a 22% increase in competitive win rate for the year and incredibly-high battlecard engagement across the team.
“Just like any initiative, if it doesn't deliver value then it isn't sustainable. So, it's about making sure every touch point, every interaction, every piece of collateral and intel we share is providing value and it's all created from the perspective of 'how is this going to help them sell better, win more, or gain greater awareness of the landscape?' That's how I frame the enablement content I create and how we push competitive deals across the line."
Now that the foundation of CI has been laid at Salsify, Nathan is looking to the future.
“We have the system in place to track the right competitors, so now it's about finding CI impacting more areas of the business,” said Nathan. “When it comes to Crayon — the more we use it, the more value we get out of it.”
“It's no longer about just how we drive up the win rate of this quarter. Our partnership with Crayon allows us to look at the long term and keep a strategic lens on the business and market at large.”
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