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Competitive Enablement

How to Improve the Maturity of Your Competitive Enablement Program

4 min

The battle for business is growing, and it’s never been more important for competitive enablement programs to help drive revenue.

But what exactly does a great competitive enablement program look like? 

What makes them repeatable, scalable, and impactful to the bottom line?

In our recent report, Klue spoke with 500+ competitive program leaders, product marketers, execs, and sales leaders to find out. One of the biggest takeaways we heard is that a program’s maturity is crucial to its long-term success.

What does ‘maturity’ look like?

Only 18% of respondents say that they have a mature competitive program in place. 

Meanwhile, nearly half feel that their program is ad-hoc, reactive and not yet a foundational part of the organization. Unsurprisingly, of those, only 14% are satisfied with this level of maturity.

So, there’s a lot of room to grow for competitive programs.

We dug into these results with customers and competitive intelligence experts to get a clearer idea of what different levels of maturity actually looks like for competitive programs. These are the five different stages that programs often find themselves in:

Five stages of competitive enablement maturity

(For clarity – in our report research respondents only defined themselves as either ‘adopting’, ‘optimizing’, and ‘mature’.)

There’s a lot of factors that determine the maturity of your competitive program. Here’s four of the most important indicators to help you identify where your own program currently sits.

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1. Defining Key Performance Indicators

Your competitive enablement program is only as good as the output that you can attribute to it. Currently, nearly half of adopting competitive programs aren’t defining KPIs nor reporting metrics at all.

Adopting competitive enablement programs don't have KPIs or reporting metrics in place

This is a recipe for frustration. The absence of coherent reporting metrics makes it impossible to measure your competitive program’s impact on the business.

Meanwhile, two out of three mature competitive programs have their KPIs defined and are consistently measuring their success in achieving these targets. 

These programs are tracking how competitive enablement is impacting metrics such as win-rates, deal cycle length, and churn rate to assess their program’s influence on revenue.

Mature programs are also using KPIs and reporting metrics to identify what competitors are disrupting them the most and how much potential revenue they’re impacting. These metrics provide a clearer picture for who your competitive enablement efforts should focus on.

2. Earning executive trust and buy-in

Another area where adopting competitive programs struggle to make inroads is in getting visibility and trust with their executive teams. 

This visibility, and ultimately earning greater buy-in from decision makers, is a critical part of your program getting early traction amongst the organization and earning the resources needed to be successful and prioritized in the business.

However, only 2% of adopting competitive programs are currently getting full executive buy-in.

Adopting competitive enablement programs struggled to get visibility with executives

Meanwhile, our data shows that 65% of mature competitive programs are either getting full executive buy-in or executive sponsorship. It’s the competitive programs that frequently measure the KPIs that matter to execs that earned increased visibility.

3. Standardizing processes and using technology

In order to mature and support the entire company effectively, competitive programs need to make their processes as efficient as possible.

Currently, six out of ten adopting programs aren’t using CI technology nor standardizing their competitive processes. Competitive research is reactive when needed, and there isn’t visibility into everyone’s competitive activities.

Adopting competitive enablement programs don't have KPIs or reporting metrics in place

Whereas mature programs near unanimously have some form of standardization. 

There’s a process attached to turning intel into competitive content, for gauging the needs of departments across the organization, and a systematic approach to tracking known and emerging competitors.

4. Getting other departments involved in your competitive approach

The most important competitive intel that can be sourced tends to be internal information. That’s why it’s critical to have team members across all departments that are regularly involved in your competitive process.

It’s the best way to make sure that information isn’t getting stored in the minds of a few people. The most common approach that mature competitive programs use is to bring in various departments on an ongoing basis. 

Mature competitive enablement programs bring various departments into their competitive approach

Collaborating with teams across the company on a regular basis allows for more cohesion between departments, and gives you a better pulse on how you currently stack up against competitors.

However, adopting competitive programs are instead three times more likely to rely on ad hoc projects than mature programs. These projects are reactive, and inherently puts your team on the defensive.

Adopting competitive enablement programs rely on ad hoc projects in their competitive approach

Build a competitive enablement program that scales

The most successful competitive programs are the ones that are repeatable, scalable, and impact revenue. 

Based on our report data and collaboration with experts, we’ve found that the four areas mentioned are some of the most critical in understanding and improving the maturity of your competitive enablement program. 

Follow along as we build out this maturity model to help you identify where your program currently stands, and the next steps that you need to take in order to strengthen your competitive efforts.

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