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The 10 Biggest Takeaways from the 2021 Competitive Enablement Report

January 26, 2021 by Adam McQueen

 Wouldn’t it be nice to know exactly what your stakeholders wanted from your competitive enablement program? A little truth serum, perhaps?

Well, we decided to take out the guesswork and ask them in our 2021 Competitive Enablement Report, the first-ever report on competitive enablement. 

We’ve gathered data from over 300 stakeholders and 200 CI & Product Marketing leaders from across the globe in order to identify what stakeholders (and the C-Suite) want from your competitive enablement program. There are also firsthand insights on how competitive enablement drives value to some of the leading high-growth companies like Slack, Salesforce, and Hootsuite.

Despite CI professionals and stakeholders near unanimously (99%) saying that competitive intelligence is important to their company, our report found that nearly 80% of stakeholders are having to conduct their own independent competitive research outside of the function. Quite frankly, that’s way more than we expected. In this report, we’ll dive further into WHY this is happening, and what opportunities this presents for your competitive enablement program.

Here are the ten biggest takeaways from the 2021 Competitive Enablement Report.

Klue's 2021 Competitive Enablement Report

Nearly 80% of stakeholders are doing their own competitive research

Four out of five stakeholders doing their own competitive research independently is not a good sign for the effectiveness of the competitive function in their company. Although 44% responded that they are primarily responsible for competitive intelligence, another 34% felt that they need to go beyond the intel that they were being provided.

Departments across the organization are doing their own competitive intelligence research

Stakeholders aren’t accessing the competitive intel they need most

The two primary reasons that stakeholders conduct their own competitive research is because current competitive intel isn’t helpful (18%) or it is too hard to access (14%). Consumers of competitive content aren’t getting the competitive insights that they want, when they want it.

The biggest competitive intelligence problems stakeholders face

CI teams and stakeholders don’t agree on how CI should support the business

Uh oh, a misalignment you say? Competitive intelligence teams rated supporting executive strategy as their most important contribution to the organization, while stakeholders feel that CI should primarily support sales performance. They also drastically differed on the importance of customer retention.

What benefits do CI teams believe competitive intelligence should bring to the business

What benefits do stakeholders believe competitive intelligence should bring to the business

Executives expect CI to improve customer retention

C-level executives rank customer retention as the greatest benefit that they expect to see from investment in CI, followed by improved sales performance and product strategy. Ironically, decision-makers prefer competitive intelligence to serve revenue teams above helping themselves with strategic insights.

Developing competitive functions have little to no CI technology in place

Six out of ten ‘developing’ CI functions have little to no CI technology. On the other hand, this is one of the defining features of ‘mature’ CI functions, who nearly unanimously (96%) have some level of standardization. Not having this process nor technology established makes it difficult to build a scalable and repeatable competitive function. 

Mature competitive functions bring in different departments to collaborate

Mature competitive functions are bringing in various departments to collaborate in the CI process. They primarily use an ongoing, cross-functional approach (48%) to CI. This engages multiple teams in the collection of intel, but also having a SWOT team of stakeholders across various teams ensures that the intel will also provide organized deliverables for all departments. In contrast, developing functions are mainly relying on ad hoc projects (28%).

Developing competitive functions struggle to get executive support

Less than 2% of developing competitive functions have full executive buy-in. They may be visible in the company, but they don’t have a seat at the table. Whereas two out of three mature competitive functions are either receiving executive sponsorship or full executive buy-in with their program.

High-growth companies are overwhelmingly supporting sales first

Competitive functions in high-growth companies are overwhelmingly supporting sales teams (68%) first, before any other department. They’re also using revenue-based KPIs to demonstrate ROI of CI activities. On the other hand, only 31% of slower-growth companies say that sales are their main priority.

Competitive intelligence is scattered across the organization at high-growth companies

The greatest problem stakeholders at high-growth companies face is that their competitive intel is scattered across the organization (19%). This was noted twice as much as the next biggest problem – intel being shared irregularly (9%). 

High-growth companies are increasing their investment in CI

84% of high-growth companies are planning to increase their investment in CI in 2021. Nearly 50% will invest in headcount and technology, however, 22% still don’t know where their money will go.

Where are high-growth companies investing in competitive intelligence

Psst… there’s even more insights waiting for you

These ten takeaways are just the tip of the iceberg. but there’s plenty more in the full 2021 Competitive Enablement Report. Insights, interviews, and a whole lot of data. Get everything you need to arm your competitive program in 2021 right here.

Klue's 2021 Competitive Enablement Report

The 2021 Competitive Enablement Report was developed in partnership with our friends at SCIP.