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Competitive Enablement

Competitive Intelligence Is Nothing Without Competitive Enablement; Here’s Why

Why is competitive intelligence important? 

Because your organization needs to have a firm handle on what’s happened, happening and will happen with your competition.

But competitive intelligence is not enough. Not even close.

Collecting information on your competitors is worthless without the ability to draw actionable insights from that information. And failing to enable your teams with those insights is a waste of time.  

That’s why organizations need to evolve past simple competitive intelligence and move into the new competitive paradigm:

Competitive Enablement. 

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Competitive Enablement: A New Way of Winning

Organizations don’t need more information, they need better information. Information that your teams can actually use when they need to use it.

As the digital revolution got underway and we all started living our lives online, the amount of easily-accessible public available information grew exponentially.

Then, as tools and software allowed organizations to collect and store that information at scale, businesses could compete with one another with a sophistication that had been impossible just a decade earlier.

Today, collecting competitive intel has become mere table stakes —  the winners of the future will be those who can:

  • Partner with stakeholders to intimately understand their needs
  • Guide data collection efforts to capture relevant intel
  • Sort through the sea of noise to draw the most impactful insights
  • And then enable their stakeholders with those insights
What is Competitive Intelligence

Chris Agnoli, Competitive Enablement Lead at Juniper Networks explains why the old way of competing is no longer effective: 

“The old way is a one-way conversation. The new way is very much a two-way street, where sellers can feel empowered to bring information back, keeping things current and leveraging crowdsourcing. We don’t just use our technical marketing engineers in our marketing teams to create competitive content. We leverage the experience that our best solutions, architects and salespeople have in the field to help drive and make sure that the content that’s being created is impactful. And that’s the biggest change.”

Chris agnoli why competitive intelligence is important

Encouraging knowledge sharing with your sales and CS reps, leveraging those insights from the field, and thoughtful marketing intelligence all set the table for success. 

And what Competitive Enablement success looks like is partnering with stakeholders to get organizational buy-in and deliver impactful content.

Competitive Enablement gets rid of the noise so you can make sound decisions

Combined, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook hold more than 1.2 billion gigabytes of information.

How much of that information is relevant to your organization’s growing revenue and winning more deals?

Well if you can connect the right dots, quite a bit. But first, you have to triageimportant information to the right stakeholders and get rid of the noise.

Just like with Competitive Intelligence, collection is the first step of the Competitive Enablement process. 

But where Competitive Enablement starts to set itself apart is in sorting through the noise to efficiently deliver the insights your team needs to win. 

Sophisticated machine learning (ML) can do a lot of the work for you, by removing duplicates, and parsing out similar words that are ultimately irrelevant.

That’s why the best Competitive Enablement tools combine sophisticated ML with functionalities allowing users to direct the most valuable information to the right place.

Clara Smyth Why is competitive intelligence important

As such, technology gets the grunt work out of the way and opens up the space and time for compete experts to work their magic, spending their time on the things that matter. 

“That’s where you have to put on your analyst hat or your synthesizer hat (…) I think that’s the secret sauce. It’s the unique insights that you can pull from the people that you work within the market that you’re in today,” said Slack’s Sr. Director of Competitive Intelligence Clara Smyth on an episode of the Competitive Enablement Show. 

For a single individual to triangulate all these disparate data points to paint a coherent picture is a herculean task. But one that is made much easier with a Competitive Enablement platform.

And once you start building a reputation within the organization as the expert that enables stakeholders with the competitive content they need, your competitive enablement program will be impossible to ignore. 

Competitive Enablement moves competitive intelligence from the backroom to the boardroom

Sometimes your most important stakeholders — including leadership — can’t see the light. 

It’s your job to show it to them. 

For too long, organizations relegated competitive intelligence to a back corner of the office, typified by a junior analyst who spat out questionable intel and proceeded to quickly move on to the next task.

But the best modern compete professionals succeed in flipping that perception on its head. 

Salesforce, for example, views its competitive intelligence programs as revenue drivers as opposed to cost centres.

Dan Hamilton Why is Competitive Intelligence important

As Dan Hamilton, VP of Competitive Intelligence at Salesforce said in an interview at SCIP IntelliCon 2022:

“The way we look at it is we try and connect the work we do to outcomes within the company; decisions that are made, product capabilities we introduce. I think you can feel it [when you’re] part of the business. Are we seen as an extension of the leadership team? Or are we in this weird silo and no one ever talks to us and we don’t know why?” 

When reps you’re enabling are winning more deals and driving more revenue and reporting higher levels of competitive confidence through the insights you’re unearthing, Competitive Enablement becomes an invaluable function within your organization. 

Competitive Enablement centralizes competitive intelligence — and brings it to life

Competitive Enablement is about a whole lot more than a repository for static information.

But before you can create a compete program that distills information from the ground up, you need a centralized place to collect and curate that information.

What’s more, you need to make sure that that centralized place is easily accessible and inviting for people to use.

Google Drive is undoubtedly a powerful tool for storing internal documents. However, that information quickly becomes scattered and difficult to find. 

And with each time the end-users you’re enabling feel like they can’t find the intel they need, you harm the credibility of your competitive enablement program. 

Benevity’s Tara Scott witnessed how the power of centralization can impress even the most seasoned veteran employees. As she shared in a recent episode of the Competitive Enablement Show:

“One of our sales reps, he’s been here longer than I have…I suspected he wasn’t even going into Klue because he’s just been here so long and selling against these particular competitors for so long. I was catching up with him, and he said, ‘I got to tell you, I went into Klue because I’m in a deal against this one particular competitor. It’s all there. It’s all there. It used to be scattered all over the place, but it’s just right there. (…) I know that he has his own folder of all these materials, he’s collected forever. But he still finds value in what I’m pulling together in the perspectives that are a part of it.”

If an already well-organized experienced professional appreciates the power of a centralized Competitive Enablement system, there’s no telling how much value newer employees will find in being able to quickly search and find relevant intel themselves.

And, once they start believing in the power and start contributing themselves, your Competitive Enablement program will build unstoppable momentum.

All because “it used to be scattered all over the place” but now “it’s all there.”

Why is Competitive Intelligence important?

Competitive intelligence without Competitive Enablement is like having the body of a car without an engine. 

To be sure, the body is an integral part of your ability to operate the machinery. But without the rest of the pieces that actually make the car move, all you’re left with is a nice-looking frame. 

In other words, collecting competitive intelligence is essential. It’s what lifts your compete program off the ground. 

But collection alone won’t put you in the winner’s circle. You need the car’s engine, transmission and everything else to work together to direct the power of intel. 

And deliver it in a consumable way that your teams use to win more deals. 

So is competitive intelligence important?

Sure it is. 

It’s just not enough. 

Not even close. 

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