Whew, I just finished creating two presentations for SCIP’s (Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals) Annual Conference in Chicago from April 21 – 24. The first talk is “Build a Sustainable Early Warning Process through Cooperative Connection” and the second is “Capture Competitive Intelligence from Sales and Customers for Lucrative Product Development.”
Early Warning is one of the key processes behind a successful competitive intelligence operation. I notice that it is often developed almost “robotically,” and the importance of connecting with individuals is underestimated in favor of the easy way out through electronic monitoring, which while essential will never replace the information exchange and connection you will gain from people in dialog!
The talk on capturing CI from sales and customers to develop better products comes from a case study with a European client. Product developers were going nuts as they read sales reps’ customer reports because they could just see that the customer would have been willing to share so much information with sales, but somehow sales hadn’t asked for it. Sales had no idea what key information product developers were looking for. In fact I found that product developers had a hard time getting me to understand their precise information needs. I put together a workshop to teach sales and marketing people competitive intelligence skills like elicitation and reading body language. We had a discussion to clarify the product developer’s 10 key questions, and to consider how a customer might be motivated to answer these questions. Participants role played around each of these questions to test drive their newly developed elicitation skills. Sales is great at elicitation since they are spontaneous, own the customer relationship, and can be flexible if a customer doesn’t respond in the way sales had hoped they would. In addition to learning how to collect competitive information, Sales also benefited by improving their industry expertise and closing more deals!
In the spirit of cooperative intelligence, here are some more details on SCIP’s annual conference in Chicago from April 21 – 24. It takes place at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers.
The educational sessions are organized into the following 5 tracks:
– CI Offense/Defense
– Professional Effectiveness
– Critical Skills
– Innovation in CI
– Active Dialog
Learn more about competitive intelligence
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