Many companies use CI software to both collect and disseminate intelligence. As a CI professional, I look for a solution that will free up my time to be a critical thinker, to do the analysis, prepare persuasive communication from what I can deduce, and connection with my users and providers of CI–in some cases maintaining that relationship in others finding and building relationships. here are some practical questions you want to ask a prospective CI software service provider.
Here are a few takeaways from today’s AIIP webinar, “Going Local: Techniques & Strategies for Finding
Local Business Information,” presented by Marcy Phelps, CEO of Phelps Research and author of recently published “Research on Main Street.” This includes many valuable links to sources for local US sources, and how to buy “Research on Main Street.” If you’re an Independent running a research, private eye, library or competitive intelligence practice, AIIP is the place to get invaluable advice and resources to help you start and run your business successfully!
The Competitive Intelligence Division (CID) of Special Libraries Association (SLA) has a great line-up of presentations and fun events at this year’s annual conference in Philadelphia from June 12-15. In the spirit of cooperative intelligence, I have listed the competitive intelligence (CI) events below in chronological order by date with book signings at the end. Look under Twitter #slacid for Tweets!
Competitive Intelligence has historically focused on strategic and tactical forms of intelligence. While CI is an important input to strategic planning, and companies benefit from scenario planning, many companies miss the boat by not conducting and communicating CI in real-time.
Being ready when a crisis hits is a huge competitive advantage! Scenario planning is a great exercise to flesh out which crises you should be prepared for. If you wait until the crisis hits, it’s too late, especially in today’s real-time world! While the more sensational story was around NCBA’s involvement in the Oprah Winfrey show in 1996, I more appreciated how NCBA implemented its risk management strategy when Mad Cow entered the US on Dec 23, 2003, and believe they reacted in a way that reflects cooperative intelligence principles.
Research on Main Street is a must read for anyone seeking the right local information to make strategic decisions. Follow the advice in this book by author Marcy Phelps to boost your knowledge about local and regional events that may trigger change, such as a major layoff, a change in leadership, deregulation, new regulation or a technical breakthrough. The blend of case studies and expert interviews breathe life into the dry business of information gathering and analysis to support specific local strategic business initiatives.
I am enjoying David Meerman Scott’s book, Real-Time Marketing & PR. He explains the competitive advantage to companies and individuals of being responsive to events that affect them in real-time. No longer can you just monitor the news: you have to take action! So many companies are stuck in the past and the future and forget that we operate in the NOW!
Preparation, even for cold calling, or should I say especially for cold calling, is essential since the other person has no incentive to talk to you. The first thing I do when I get a collection assignment is to learn the language and jargon of the industry I am targeting. I find if I am thorough in my preparation, I am more relaxed, and can listen fully since I am not panicking about what I should ask next.
“From a Good Sales Call to a Great Sales Call” focuses on improving Sales’ post-decision debrief process with prospects, referred to as win loss analysis in the competitive intelligence world. I like how the author, Richard Schroder, adds ‘post-decision debrief’ as the 7th element of the sales process. Apparently only 18% of US companies have a formal win loss program. Thus, in most new business situations, sales people don’t have a complete and accurate understanding of why they won or lost sales. If armed with such data, Sales can make behavioral changes to improve close rates by 15%.
Many competitive intelligence, marketing, research and product developers complain about poor communication from their sales force, who has a direct conduit to your customers—one of the best sources of knowledge about what your company is doing right and wrong as well as ideas for new products, services and tweaks to your existing products that can be revenue generating!
So how do you encourage cooperative communication from Sales?