72% …this is the percentage of analysis projects found to be utilising competitive intelligence.
Beyond a simple craze, this figure reflects a major challenge for organizations. In a world of increasing and constant changes in competition, how can we detect new entrants and anticipate the new strategic orientations of competitors? The answer is increasing performance, and this is where the mission grows more complex.
We commonly find the following error: companies exclusively monitoring the ‘known’.
Judging by the display and appearance, competitive intelligence seems to be the easiest tool to set up.
Let’s take a simple and very telling example: many of you are conducting surveillance on the page of your competitors’ press releases. You are however, limited to what the company agrees to communicate. In this instance, how do you find innovative ways to follow the strategic movements of your competitors?
Start with precise mapping
Before we begin, we recommend that you map your entire competitive ecosystem horizontally, in a comprehensive list:
– The last purchases made by your competitors
To exclusively monitor headquarters puts you at risk of missing valuable information.
Solicit your sales forces
By monitoring the sites of your competitors, including the product / service sections, and some specialized sites (think of the different marketplaces), you will be able to provide your sales and marketing forces with a complete product & pricing watch to help them understand and improve positioning.
Also think about soliciting your sales field. They have regular access to ‘offline’ information through their customer interactions and their participation in specialized events. For example, with Digimind’s EasyTrack, an email is sent directly to the Digimind Intelligence platform to facilitate field feedback.
Monitor suppliers … to feed competitive intelligence
By mapping the providers of your competitors, you can:
- Allow your purchasing department to potentially identify new suppliers
- Monitor the actions of the latter
Imagine the following scenario: thanks to a surveillance of the commercial courts, you detect that a principal supplier is in cessation of payment. Like so, you have valuable information in your hands: you know that your competitor will be impacted (it could potentially be out of stock on some products). So you have a head start and can therefore adjust your distribution policy.
Job offers: a precious mine of information!
Get valuable information on upcoming strategic diversification among your competitors through job postings:
- New geographic locations
- Team expansions (your competitor decides to heavily recruit commercial positions or decides to increase his staff in a certain country, thus giving you a valuable indication of his strategic intentions)
- New skills that can lead to guessing future product developments (the type of developer specialized in artificial intelligence)
Go further by detecting new competitors through a market analysis
By focusing solely on existing competitors, you take the risk of missing out on new players! This could result in the failure of your prospective analysis mission. It is for this reason, that we also recommend that you monitor your market. Our vision is for your market analysis to complement your competitive intelligence.
Economic and specialized press websites as well as professional magazines, expert blogs etc… will help you gain momentum and anticipate the arrival of new entrants in your markets.
Another good practice that we recommend to our clients is to put RFPs under supervision. It’s another way to understand where the market is heading, judge the maturity of your business, adapt to new market trends and demands, and spot potential new competitors.