Competitive Enablement

The 10 Biggest Takeaways from the 2021 Competitive Enablement Report

4 min

 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 competitive intelligence 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.

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Nearly 80% of stakeholders are doing their own competitive research

Four out of five stakeholders doing their own competitive intelligence 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.

Four out of five stakeholders do their own independent competitive 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 CI aren’t getting the competitive insights that they want, when they want it.

Stakeholders do their own competitive intelligence research because they can't find intel or it isn't useful to their role

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

Uh oh, a misalignment you say? Competitive teams rated supporting executive strategy as their most important contribution to the organization… 

Competitive enablement teams believe they should support executive strategy

…while stakeholders feel that competitive intelligence should primarily support sales performance. They also drastically differed on the importance of customer retention, as it didn’t even crack the competitive team’s five most important benefits.

The whole company expects competitive intelligence to improve sales performance

Executives expect their competitive program to improve customer retention

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

Adopting competitive functions have little to no CI technology in place

Six out of ten ‘adopting’ competitive programs have little to no CI technology or standardized processes. On the other hand, this is one of the defining features of ‘mature’ competitive programs, 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. 

Adopting competitive enablement programs don't have technology or standardized processes

Mature competitive functions bring in different departments to collaborate

Mature competitive functions are bringing in various departments to collaborate in the competitive process. They primarily use an ongoing, cross-functional approach (48%).

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, adopting functions are mainly relying on ad hoc projects (28%).

Adopting competitive functions struggle to get executive support

Less than 2% of adopting 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.

Adopting competitive enablement programs struggled to get visibility with executives

High-growth companies are overwhelmingly supporting sales first

Competitive enablement programs 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.

High growth companies support sales with competitive intelligence

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

The greatest problem stakeholders at high-growth companies face are 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 competitive intelligence

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

High growth companies are increasing their investment 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.

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

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