The SCIP 32nd Annual SCIP Conference & Exhibition was held last week in Atlanta. The theme was Developing & Engaging the Modern Intelligence Workforce. So many great discussions revolved around the future of CI—how it’s changing, why it matters (does it still matter? more than ever!) and how to use emerging tech to build it into the existing sales and martech stack to enable global organizations. It’s always inspiring to spend time with smart people who are doing interesting things—honestly, sometimes the best thing you can do is shut up and listen. That field insight is what makes these events so valuable. Here are some thoughts about the competitive intelligence trends that had people fired up at SCIP:

What’s changed

Companies are spread across the globe with increasingly complex organizational charts. There are security protocols in place that make it difficult to manage access at different levels. And the amount of new data available every minute makes it impossible to catch everything your competitors are doing. A smart competitive intelligence program that scales to large teams and multiple channels, is accessible and kept current (and trusted) can take up to six months to implement. It can cost hundred of thousands of dollars and—at the end of the day—is still little more than a few clunky systems knit together. That’s bananas.

The truth is, a smart CI program can be up and running quickly. A team of thousands can be powered by a team of just a few using the right tool and the right tech. In less than two months, one of our biggest customers set up, trained and rolled out to thousands of direct reps plus more than 150 global partner companies. Their field can now securely access up-to-the-minute battlecards and competitive info from any device. They attribute some really big wins lately to Klue because of that all-hands access and real-time intel.

Show your work

How do you measure the performance of your battlecards and other sales assets? Can you tell what gets used and what wins deals? If not, how do you prove the value of your CI program? Smart competitive intelligence is critical to everything: sales and staffing strategy, onboarding, training, enablement and winning big deals! Your team needn’t be big to deliver big results, but it should have cross-functional inputs and measurements in place.

Our customers rely on Klue to form sales strategy and prepare pitches when up against competitors. They use Klue to track trends and report win-loss analysis. Klue delivers staffing, event and pricing updates in real-time so that every team, every department benefits from the intel. Adding cross-functional engagement to your CI process helps add value across the organization.

Artificial intelligence

AI is going to change the way CI is collected in a big way. Machine-learning is a key driver of a more agile and efficient CI program. Right now, so many organizations are bogged down by lots of heavy tools and outdated intel—and a lot of it is offline or hiding in deep dark wikis! AI automates the collection of smart intel that is more relevant and timely. That saves you time by filtering the copious amounts of alerts that stream in from other not-so-smart sources. Find a CI tool that can integrate intuitively with the channels you already use, like Salesforce and Slack. Don’t weigh your team down with heavy password protocols and numerous data points—let a smart CI platform do the work of connecting the data and free up your resources for deeper analysis on competitors you may be neglecting due to current system limitations.