In order to build a competitive enablement program in the new year that wins, it requires enabling the entire organization with competitive insights. But what do all of these stakeholders really want?
Instead of guessing, Klue decided to ask them. We talked to over 500 CI professionals and stakeholders across 18 industries in the first-ever Competitive Enablement report. The report will be live soon, but in the meantime we wanted to share some results exclusively with the PMC community.
There were plenty of findings from the report, but three in particular stood out to us. Nearly four out of five employees that consume competitive intelligence responded that they do their own competitive research, even if there’s a CI program in their company. Employees said that they are doing their own research because they can’t access the competitive intel they need quickly enough, or the intel provided isn’t relevant to them. Finally, when asked how competitive intelligence should help the business, the results indicate that CI teams and the rest of the organization are not on the same page.
79% of end-users do their own competitive intelligence research, even when there’s a CI function in their org.
Although it’s the role of competitive enablement teams to manage competitive intel, nearly four out of five stakeholders mentioned that they conduct their own independent competitive research. Barely 20% of respondents feel sufficiently supported by competitive intelligence. Yikes.
First, over 40% of stakeholders stated that they are primarily responsible for competitive intelligence within their own region or business unit. This is an unfortunate reality for competitive enablement teams that don’t possess the headcount or technology to be a centralized group that serves every region or business unit across the organization. Instead, competitive insights are locked away in different pockets of the company.
Even more concerning is that 34% of stakeholders are doing their own competitive intelligence research to augment the findings provided by their CI teams. Simply put, the insights they receive aren’t sufficient enough to enable stakeholders in their roles.
These results show that there’s an inefficiency in how many competitive programs currently operate. CI teams are investing time to collect information on competitors, yet often employees are doing the same work. It is a redundant process in which employees and CI teams are working independently from one another.
Call us curious, but we wanted to know… why exactly do stakeholders feel the need to go deeper beyond the insights they’re currently being provided?
Employees are doing their own research because they aren’t getting the competitive insights they need. Or if they do, they have trouble finding them.
When we asked stakeholders why they conducted their own competitive research, two clear reasons stood out:
Competitive intel received isn’t helpful
The intel that stakeholders are receiving isn’t helpful enough for many reasons.First, insights aren’t relevant to their specific role (18%), and therefore can’t be used. Competitive enablement teams simply dumping all of the insights onto the table and expecting stakeholders to be able to find the competitive intel they specifically need to be successful isn’t an effective method. And stakeholders are frustrated; another problem they highlighted was that there aren't useful recommendations (9%) attached to the insights provided. If competitive intel has context attached to it - who is it relevant to, and how they can use it - then the barrier to using this information becomes significantly smaller.
Another area in which stakeholders felt the insights weren’t helpful was because it needed deeper analysis (14%). Jenna Dorman, VP of Strategic Accounts at Alida, expressed that this a common occurrence for salespeople:
“There’s always going to be that basic information as you see a competitor more frequently in the field and grow your learnings on that competitor. How do you capture that information and make it more rich? Oftentimes the information that is presented is the bare minimum.”
Existing competitive intel is hard to access
The other main reason that stakeholders took competitive research into their own hands is that the existing intel is too hard to find. Many expressed that without self-service access to a central repository (14%), it became far too time-consuming to find the insights they needed in the moment. Instead, information is spread across various docs, slides, and Slack threads, collecting dust.
Similarly, stakeholders struggled to access insights because they need faster responses to their questions (12%). Information is shared too sporadically and competitive enablement teams aren’t replying quickly enough to specific requests.
In this case the core issue of the competitive program is distribution. This a common operational hurdle to overcome; competitive enablement teams are doing the groundwork to provide the competitive insights that employees need, but struggle to make their insights more visible through a self-service or easy-to-navigate central repository.
We asked both employees and CI professionals what they thought was the greatest benefit that competitive intelligence brings to the business. The results show that they aren’t really on the same page.
Employees would prefer competitive intelligence to focus on revenue enablement goals such as improving sales performance (18%) and customer retention (14%), but CI professionals perceive improving executive strategy and alignment (17%) as their most important contribution. Ironically, executives agreed with the rest of the organization that CI teams shouldn’t focus on serving them with tactical insights, but instead improving those aforementioned revenue enablement goals.
Although they are misaligned in their responses, the relatively even spread of answers from both sets of respondents may also indicate something else: competitive intelligence is valuable across nearly every area of the business.
However, the strategic ‘big picture’ competitive insights CI professionals are focused on that are provided for executives aren’t as applicable to other departments. Its utility to the rest of the organization is more limited than tactical insights that enable the sales team to proactively lay a landmine on a competitor, or the messaging and value propositions that need to be shared with an at-risk customer that’s determining whether or not to renew.
Our full report has various interviews with industry leaders and even more insights that dive into the defining features of developing and mature competitive programs, and how high-growth companies are approaching competitive intelligence. Find out everything you need to know to reimagine how your competitive enablement program can succeed in the new year by signing up for the full report here.
Visit https://klue.com/ to learn more.