Compelligence recently introduced the Compelligence App which is the only competitive and market intelligence software that integrates seamlessly within Salesforce.com. It builds off the strengths of Salesforce.com in that it helps sales close more deals since it extends the reach of Salesforce.com to include data from the competitive marketplace. Armed with this information at their fingertips, account reps have even more time to sell.
Why is it that companies don’t want to disclose who they are in win loss interviews? Is it fear? Many feel if they don’t identify who they are, they’ll get a more objective interview. They are also afraid if they let the customer know who they are—especially when they lost the business—the customer won’t take the interview or if they do, they won’t tell much. A third common reason is they don’t want their sales force to know that they’re conducting these interviews since some of the questions assess the effectiveness and quality of the sales force.
I have found that transparency is a win/win for customers and the company in win loss analysis interviewing. It’s the ultimate in cooperative intelligence and promotes sharing.
A week ago I delivered an IntelCollab webinar on win loss analysis, and have now posted my win loss analysis slides on my Slideshare account. At the conclusion we had time for a goodly number of questions, which I have recapped below. For those who are unfamiliar with win loss analysis, it is the process of interviewing customers and non customers, usually over the telephone, as to why they chose to do business with you or another service provider. You tally up the results of these telephone interviews, and provide quantitative and qualitative analysis based on what you learned from the interviews. It is my favorite tactical competitive intelligence practice since you learn so much from these short interviews, much of which you can take action on almost immediately.
Join us, Arik Johnson and me, Ellen Naylor, for an informative webinar on the how to behind win loss analysis. Win/loss interviews and analysis, are still one of my favorite tactical collection techniques. This is a low cost form of primary collection which always provides a high return for improving your company’s bottom line. Who better than your customers and those who decided on a competitor to tell you what you are doing well and what you need to change?
While competitive intelligence is not a kind business function, it is a necessary one, and we can be kind people when we bring cooperative intelligence practices into our work. Cooperative intelligence is kindness: you give without an expectation of something in return. People realize that you genuinely want to help them in their work. After all, competitive intelligence is a support function. You need to keep giving, and eventually those in your network of contacts will support you by sharing great tidbits on the competitive environment since your giving is infectious, and they just can’t help themselves. People are attracted to you by your good example of producing the goods they need and your giving attitude.
Many are too focused on what they can find from “big data,” the Internet and social media–which anyone can have access to who has time and money. If you want to learn what’s really happening, you need to talk to human beings on a regular basis, not just for competitive intelligence, but for anything in life that you care about.
Conversation will always be a key to sprouting creativity. We need fellow human beings to help us develop our creative seeds. They also remind us about the marketplace of products, services and ideas that are out there–keep us from being blindsided. We all have biases and blinders. It’s human nature.
Companies have business blind spots, and since they’re run by people: we also have blind spots. Two common blindspots are:
Assuming that others see what you see, feel what you feel, and think what you think
Thinking you understand and remember what others say, when you really only remember what you think about what they’ve said
One way to loosen up those blind spots is to engage in dialog with other people and listen, truly listen to what they’re saying. That’s behind many a successful marriage, business relationships, effective interviewers and successful researchers.
I have been using elicitation techniques for many years, but not quite in the military intelligence way, which seems like using the other person in a more negative way. These techniques take advantage of human tendencies to complain, gossip, correct and inform, which certainly works. However, I like to capture the human desire to be happy.
A recent HBR blog post, “Just Call Someone Already,” focused on when to use the phone versus email, often used instead of the phone. I resonated with the author, Dan Pallota in his comment, “Much worse than the inefficiency of using email to set up phone calls are the missed opportunities and unnecessary misunderstandings that come when we use email instead of phone calls.” A best cooperative intelligence practice is to think about how the individual you want to reach likes to be communicated with, even if it’s not your preference. Another cooperative best practice is only send communication to those who will value it.