Last week, I shared a summary of “5 Tactics to Research Your Marketplace using Competitive Intelligence Skills” originally published by Adam Sutton of MarketingSherpa. As promised, I am focusing on the first one, Conduct win loss analysis. Win loss interviews and the ensuing analysis are one of my favorite cooperative intelligence tools, since it’s a win/win. Your company receives valuable information from your customers and prospects, and you make them feel important since you care enough to query them and give them an opportunity to provide honest, candid feedback on what they like and don’t like about you, and what they like about the competition, for example.
I am reading Seena Sharp’s book Competitive Intelligence Advantage. In the spirit of cooperative intelligence, I am sharing what I liked about the introduction and the first two chapters in this blog. Stay tuned: I will continue my review as I read further!
In competitive intelligence and research, many of us don’t have any reporting people and report into another functional area of the company. Thus cooperative and purposeful leadership skills are all the more crucial when you rely on other people to give you great information or intelligence who don’t report to you, and your boss perhaps views you as an outlier since competitive intelligence doesn’t quite fit into anyone’s area. My most purposeful leadership was with Sales while I was at Verizon. I knew I needed to be cooperative in order to gain sales intelligence and customer’s input to be successful in competitive intelligence.
I am amazed at how quickly librarians can build off their information expertise and applied it to analytics. Here’s an example of how they dove into win loss analysis. This article discusses an approach to conducting win loss analysis including start-up issues and questions we would pose to customers depending on if we won or lost the sale.
While win loss analysis will give you ideas for product development and competitive intelligence, it’s often too late to regain your customer’s lost business. Consider interviewing wins, and also interview your customers at various intervals in the account planning and post-sales process to boost customer retention!
Teach Sales elicitation skills: they don’t get it anywhere else and it will help them close more deals and collect information to help your company develop better products. Some of the best elicitors are more introverted since they are likely to be more thorough in their preparation for elicitation interviews. Introverted people are often better listeners than extroverts, so are often more skilled at getting the other guy to talk!
Do you ever get that feeling that someone is lying to you, but you’re not quite sure, and you don’t want to ask them. We are surrounded by lies in our society, and it’s good to identify when you’re being lied to. As a competitive intelligence professional, it is imperative to be attuned as to whether the person you’re talking to is telling you the truth or not. Important decisions are being affected by the information and analysis we develop.
This post continues my story from the BCG Matrix Share discussion where we set the stage for an acquisition with a share of market visual. However, share of market by itself was not compelling enough for management. We created a company comparison based on 7 key customer buying criteria, and decided it would be more credible if we represented the comparisons from a customer’s point of view, casting aside our blind spots and biases.
One tool that been very popular with Sales forces over the years is “Switching Cost Analysis.” The goal is to help retain your customers! Identify all the hidden costs of the competitor’s solution which might make it more expensive for the customer to switch. Find enough omitted costs and the customer might wonder what else the competitor is not telling them!
Win loss analysis is my favorite tactical cooperative intelligence practice as it offers the best ROI of any sales intelligence tool. As a competitive intelligence professional, you will be more successful in capturing competitive data from sales if you have an understanding and empathy for the challenges and joys of their job. You will most certainly gain this by reading the book Rain Making. You might even be giving your company’s sales and PR folks some tippers from this book.