Recently I gave a webinar for SCIP chapters in Mercyhurst and Ohio on how to capture competitive intelligence from Sales by using cooperative intelligence skills. I love serving Sales Reps since I can easily translate what I provide into an ROI benefit, namely more sales. Ongoing sales intelligence is the best tactical competitive intelligence, and it’s current.
1. First realize how Sales is motivated: they have a short-term outlook, want to look good, are often in competition with each other, and have a high need for recognition.
2.You need to Give to Sales before they will believe in you. And it better be what they need, not what your corporation wants Sales to have. Likewise if you don’t use what Sales provides, they will stop giving.
3. Gaining cooperation from Sales isn’t tough. It’s in their best interest to collect competitive intelligence to do their job, to win more deals. You just need to convince them that you’re a worthy client.
4. Find out what’s hard for them to get that they value. You have access to so much information. What about those industry analyst or financial analyst reports? How about competitor profiles you’ve developed? They’ll tell you what they need.
5. Make it easy for them to locate what you develop for them. It’s best if you can make it part of a software system that they already use like salesforce.com. Remind them where your nuggets of information reside periodically.
6. Think about ways you can help sales depending on where they are in the sales cycle. What do they already produce that you can build off of?
7. Start slow in Sales and find the right people to service. They can be low in the organization as long as they’ll publicize how great what you provided is. While Sales Reps spend a lot of time out of the office, it’s amazing how connected they can be. As you start producing the right deliverables for Sales, their bosses will find out, and you will be recognized.
8. Insert yourself into Sales events like teleconferences, conferences, webinars or blogs to maintain your visibility.
9. Be easy to find and responsive since many in corporations hide from Sales rather than service them.
10. I enjoy developing win loss analysis programs since I can cooperatively include Sales as I get positioned with their customers and prospects to learn how we can improve win rates, customer service, product features, implementation, tech support, customer testimonials, develop better products and so much more.
11. Involve Sales for Trade Show collection since they’re already at shows with their customers, so put them to work collecting competitive information since most have not a shy bone in their body. They know how to ask the right questions, so you don’t need to train them.
12. A final tip: don’t forget to ask Sales how you’re doing so you continue to deliver the right products to your sales force.
Serve Sales well and you will have job security even in a tough economy since they are the company’s revenue producers!
I have posted the Sales Intelligence presentation in Slideshare.