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This is an introduction to competitive intelligence, which includes definition, 5 flavors of competitive intelligence, some analytic tools like SWOT, STEEP, BCG, The Radar Screen, and Win Loss Analysis. Also includes some competitive intelligence books for those beginning in the field.
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As library professionals, you are the experts in research, also in how to conduct an informational interview. A great springboard to conduct CI. Proprietary to Ellen Naylor, Belinda Nelson, and SSI
It is not spying and can be done totally legally, although it isn’t always. It’s good to know what your company’s ethical guidelines are around CI, especially around collection. One company who wanted to hire me wouldn’t allow me to call the competitor directly. I decided not to pursue this opportunity: that is like putting handcuffs on my research, and I couldn’t guarantee that I could get all their answers with out talking to their competitors, while they would not be my only calls. You never know until you get into a project, exactly how it will go, especially when you start talking to people.
Notice competitor isn’t most of this chart.
1. And 2 and what you already do as librarians when you take on a research project. What might be different is 3, since you will want to share you findings somehow with those in your company who need to know and not with those who you don’t want to know. 4. You already are masters at collection, but perhaps not primary collection, that is talking to people to get what you are looking for. However, not everyone in CI talks to people. But someone needs to be good at this. 5. Analysis & production – Very impt to process what we learn & explain what we think is important and/or not important in a way that our audience will understand. I think asking about communication is just as important as “why do you want to learn this and what will you use it for and who else cares about this?” 6. Dissemination of what you produce. Think who else, other than who asked for it, can use what you have dug up and analyzed and re-purpose it. Often marketing and sales are interested in the same stuff, but you need to communicate it to them differently.
Rungs of stairs. Always start at PubINT, then to Social/blogs, etc, From both you find great people to talk to. Up and down these stairs. Sometimes a person you thought would be a pivotal and reliable source, isn’t so you’re back to the drawing board. Or after you talk to a source, that article you thought was irrelevant, become relevant and you find more sources there to interview.
Internal sources great, also Use 3 rd parties to get connected to external sources We have so many sources today to keep our networks up to date electronically that many of us have huge networks. One of my favs is LI for external. For the inner circle, I like to stay in touch via phone calls, if they’re remote and emails/Twitter/LI or our CI Ning. Locally, meetings and phone calls. I also use SKYPE both locally and globally, since I live 40 miles from Denver, so don’t feel like making that drive too often.
Here are 5 flavors of CI.
They might also ask you to identify the acquisition merger candidates as well as select which one(s) are the best fit. Sometimes no one is. Tell the cementious story depending on time. Sometimes the answer is NO. Exec personality profiling, pretty easy for larger companies. Nice when they are into social media. Sometimes I call chambers of commerce. LI sure can help, but sometimes can be a big time sink.
SWOT and Win/loss will go into more later in the presentation.
Mention Brad’s book: Keeping Abreast of Science and Technology: Technical Intelligence for Business by Bradford Ashton & Richard Klavans, Also SCIP’s book on CTI.
What assets, resources & information should be protected? (e.g., new technologies, patents, new products/services) How can you safeguard what might be penetrated? Part of your competitive intelligence program? What Happens When the Competition Learns Might recruit key people with proprietary info. In “it’s not the BIG that eat the SMALL…it’s the FAST that eat the SLOW…all fast-to-market companies (AOL, Hotmail, H&M, Schwab, Telepizza etc.), have demonstrated their collective ability to keep their mouths shut, while creating and perfecting new products in total secrecy. Operating in Stealth increasing difficult Companies often tout their news to the Press Wall Street and the Equity community’s insatiable thirst People are collecting against you to reduce their time to market Instant communication: the web, email, file attachments, social networks, blogs, txt msg
Collaborative effort, mutual benefit of all companies involved Active participation of line personnel who perform the function being benchmarked Why? Significant improvement , Competitiveness
Actually cooperative intelligence is 1 person at a time. Don’t lump all of sales together, etc. HUMOR is a good thing and your positive attitude, which might be a challenge is something to come back to in the midst of a stressful environment. ?How to you ground yourself in the midst of chaos? Do you have certain times of the day when you calm down? Help them solve their problems so over time they grow How do you show respect for your internal customers of your service? Clear communication sure helps.
Know your audience . Deliver in a way they can understand clearly. Whether an email, phone call, presentation, memo. Speak Straight : Be direct, clear and honest in your communication. When you have something difficult to share…acknowledge your discomfort, awkwardness…often opens up the other person to listen and accept your message…e.g., in CI we have to go to someone who thinks they have a novel idea and after our research we find out that 5 other companies already are there. Deal with it delicately, but don’t cloak the finding. The quality of your answers …: What do you need to know about your clients business problems to come up with a good approach and solution. We’re often in such a hurry (STRESS) or aiming to PLEASE, that we don’t stand back and ask those necessary questions that will save everyone so much time and aggravation….CI is so misunderstood that this is really KEY. People don’t know what we really do, and that we might have ethics. Give them a stake in the outcome …if they’re not involved in the process, they are hardly likely to approve the product. Eg. In CI when Product Mgmt asks for CI support, engage them to tell you all about the product in detail with their vision about where it’s going. ETC. Even more important when starting a CI process..responsibility sharing right from the beginning…I need your help too, once you find out their expertise Ask for Expectations: We judge situations not only by WHAT happens, but by how it compares to what we had EXPECTED to happened. Create mutually understood expectations in every situation. (timeframes, deliverable, length, how) Take responsibility: Don’t be a victim. Ask for what you need, rather than waiting to be given what we need. Describe how you want to be treated rather than complaining you’re not being respected. Follow-up: Don’t keep people guessing as to your progress on projects. People count on us for results, not effort. If you’re a CI supervisor, this is really important to make sure your people are delivering or your consultants…
For Your company…this can be used tactically also with a sales ream
This COMPANY was the clear market leader in belt cleaners in particular, although also in air cannons and vibrators where it doesn’t compete with competitor F. COMPANY offers a more robust transfer point product line than competitor F. COMPANY has strong brand ID with great advertising, strong performing products and identified orange as the color for its products. The company is responsive to customers, especially technical and sales support. In this tough economy, we realize that many of COMPANY’s products are not essential to operating a plant. It makes the plant safer and cleaner, but in hard times, this is less important than staying in business. In past years, COMPANY gave distributors exclusivity and had no direct sales force. Then COMPANY hired its own sales force, and introduced the certain program and distributors no longer had exclusivity. This made the distributor network more of a ‘free for all’ and there were fewer distributors for the COMPANY’s products. Now the COMPANY is developing a hybrid channel for distribution keeping its direct sales force in certain territories and going back to its previous distributors to re-establish relationships in areas where there is no direct COMPANY sales person. While the distributors said YES, some are leery due to the bad taste left by the previous distribution program. Whereas others a key longterm disctributor never missed a beat.
While the COMPANY created this space, there is a consensus among Direct Sales & Distributors that competitors are catching up. The COMPANY has a chance to leapfrog again with some of the new technologies it’s developing, but needs to get good training programs in place with urgency so the channel can sell! Competitor F is penetrating the COMPANY’s stronger industries such as mines and power plants, especially in this weak economy where everyone is more price sensitive. On the other hand, a distributor in WY and a direct sales person in TX are displacing competitor F, since the COMPANY’s products are better; however, competitor F was there first. Others in the COMPANY’s Direct Sales have reported similar displacement where competitor F got to the customer first. Another competitor with a cash rich parent company, has a penetration strategy to be in distributing across N. America and plans to buy conveyor companies, manufacturing companies and belting companies—and has deep pockets, Fortune 500 scale. A competitor’s position could be bolstered almost overnight. However, they could also approach the COMPANY as an alliance partner or acquisition target. Patents need to be tracked closely and royalties collected from competitors who develop products using the COMPANY’s patented technology. This is a big business at IBM: could be a steady source of cash flow at the COMPANY depending on findings.
First step in an acquisition preso. Share of market. We distributed NEC and Intecom, both small players at the time and were losing share since NEC was make in Japan, at a time when this was not popular in the US, especially with the federal government, our biggest client at Bell Atlantic. Intecom was the most expensive system, also not popular with the price sensitive government clients. So it was the big 3. AT&T was not for sale, but Nortel and Rolm (now Siemens) were. This one visual covered a lot of territory and let us set the stage for our acquisition recommendation.
This is my favorite tactical analytical tool. It’s so insightful if conducted quarterly, and over time an incredible mining opportunity. It can be added to Salesforce.com or whatever other software that Sales is already using. Proprietary to Ellen Naylor, Belinda Nelson, and SSI
Interview in person or over phone Proprietary to Ellen Naylor, Belinda Nelson, and SSI
Strategic? $ Value Political Proprietary to Ellen Naylor, Belinda Nelson, and SSI
From this we might conclude that features are not such an important decision-making criteria presently, and that our superior positioning and delivery are more important than customer service. That could also be that higher level decision makers are less aware of customer service since they don’t deal with the product. As you observe these trends, you can tweak the questions to probe more deeply to find out what features they have that we don’t or perhaps AND why they are willing to pay more when our features and customer service are weaker.
We also had recommendations that were competitor specific, and others that were more longterm to implement. But these were the quick ones to implement
Note focusing on people is so important in almost all the steps in this process. 4. Some ideas you have might be great, but not a good fit for your culture. 5. Where is CI already happening: strategic planning, sales, marketing, product development, R&D, finance. Build off of this. 6. Internal and external networks. Librarians are great at this since people often come to you for help. 7. Take a lead on communication, think cooperative intelligence 8. Build off of what you already have. For example, for win/loss does your company already use Salesforce.com? 9. But don’t survey them. It’s better to do this informally, and gives you chance to listen to what might be on the way. 10. Easy to go off track. Just as with any research project. Once people find out you do CI well, you will be in demand. Also others will ask you to do their work that isn’t CI, since they are either lazy or don’t understand what CI is and isn’t.
Craig and Babette have published 2 other books together, more involved and pricey on ci tools and techniques. I have both and use them as reference material. Also give me an idea of tools to use as I try to express findings from research projects in a more provocative or persuasive way.
I will post this presentation on Slideshare later this afternoon, if this is OK with METRO. ???
Thorough collection and brilliant analysis are
worthless without communication
• Monthly summaries
• Intranet site
• White papers
• Ad-hoc reports
• Comprehensive studies
• Special presentations
• CI Road Shows
Standing client requirements
Client or self-initiated
Role of SWOT Analysis
In Crafting a Better Strategy
Develop a clear understanding of a company’s
- Resource Strengths
- Resource Weaknesses
- Best Opportunities
- External Threats
Drawing conclusions about how best to deploy resources in
light of the company’s internal and external situation
Thinking strategically about how to strengthen the
company’s resource base for the future
Bensoussan and Fleisher, SCIP 2002
Bensoussan and Fleisher, SCIP 2002
How to Capture and Keep the Business You Want
Published: July 2016
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Competitive Intelligence Books
• Competitive Intelligence: How to Gather, Analyze, and Use Information to
Move Your Business to the Top by Larry Kahaner
• Competitive Intelligence Advantage by Seena Sharp
• Starting a Competitive Intelligence Function by SCIP edited by Bonnie Hohhof
and Ken Sawka
• Analysis without Paralysis: 12 Tools to Make Better Strategic Decisions, 2nd
Edition by Craig Fleisher and Babette Bensoussan
• Business and Competitive Analysis: Effective Application of New and Classic
Methods, 2nd Edition by Craig Fleisher and Babette Bensoussan
• Win/Loss Reviews: A New Knowledge Model for Competitive Intelligence by
• Win/Loss Analysis: How to Capture and Keep the Business You Want by Ellen
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