Competitive Intelligence: Why and How?

Build a Competitive Intelligence Program that Rocks!

Many executives ask me why they should develop a competitive intelligence program. A major competitive advantage for your company is expeditious internal communication about important events whether they are your company’s initiatives or external events. This communication allows you to be more proactive, and to have systems in place so you can react quickly and wisely to external events or news.

When your company operates in silos, communication is often isolated and hoarded, and you lose. Often competitive intelligence (CI) is part of product development, R&D, sales, marketing, PR, strategic planning, investor relations, human resources and more. Yet these people don’t talk to each other about the competitive marketplace. A CI program brings together the disparate disciplines in a cooperative venture–to keep your company thriving.

 

Why Establish a Competitive Intelligence Program?

competitive intelligenceAn effective CI program focuses everyone’s attention on the company’s most important initiatives and goals. Those who manage it operate like a quarterback providing information and timely analysis on initiatives and topics that the company has identified as strategic.

Two best practices are:

  • Connecting with the company’s strongest networkers and outside sources
  • Listening often and closely to users’ needs

I am also a fan of listening to customers and non-customers, especially through Win Loss interviews.

While digital and social media monitoring of the marketplace is essential, best-in-class intelligence operations have well developed people networks. The best intelligence analysts know how to take information from disparate sources, make sense of it all, and communicate what’s relevant to those who need to know.

 

Jump-starting Your Competitive Intelligence Program

We have helped companies develop CI programs since 1985. We start by interviewing key executives to identify their understanding of and need for competitive intelligence. Then we interview sales, marketing, product development, R&D, legal, media relations and IT. Many executives don’t have a clear understanding of CI. They often feel they know all about the competition since they might play golf together. Since when is the competition the only component of CI–which includes all the components of the competitive marketplace!

We are industrious and help clients identify and organize the knowledge that is resident in your company, as well as from outside sources. Together with you, we’ll identify the gaps, and map out an approach and timeline to go after this information to create a powerful CI operation at your company.

We provide one-on-one coaching once the intelligence program is underway, especially as many companies hire someone new to run it: new to the company and/or new to CI.

Note: we also help companies who want to improve their intelligence program. Our CI unit got shuffled around with every annual reorganization when I worked in the telecommunications industry. These management changes affected our intelligence initiatives while we trained our new boss on the value of having an intelligence program. In some cases they had not a clue what competitive intelligence was, as we were their inherited stepchild.

 

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        Competitive Intelligence Presentation

 

Contact Ellen Naylor

Want help developing your competitive intelligence program?

Please contact us at 720-480-9499

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ellen@ellennaylor.com

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720-480-9499