In the increasingly competitive field of B2B sales, being one step ahead of your adversary is crucial. Having a deep understanding of your competitors’ offerings, strategies, and weaknesses can make the difference between winning and losing a deal. This is where sales competitive intelligence comes into play.
Competitive intelligence (CI) is the systematic gathering, analysis, and dissemination of information about the economic environment, the market, competitors, and technological advances, with the objective of exploiting the relevant facts for competitive advantage. It allows your business to make informed decisions that can help you gain a competitive edge.
In this article, we'll break down what competitive intelligence is, why it's important for your sales team, how to gather it, and how tools like Aomni can facilitate the process.
Although CI has been typically used for strategic planning, it’s equally essential in sales. The increasingly competitive marketplace, coupled with the explosion of information made available by digital technologies, underpins the importance of CI in sales.
Behind every successful sale lies the seller's awareness of their competitors' strengths, their understanding of the prospect's needs and wants, and the insight to match all these elements together. Sales teams need to clearly understand what sets your product or service apart from competitors, and be able to relay that unique offering back to the potential customer.
CI informs win themes, shapes baselines for negotiations, and can even influence which accounts your team should focus on. It helps anticipate competitor moves, exploit weaknesses, and essentially craft a compelling narrative that resonates with your target audience.
Sales CI is derived from a breadth of sources and channels including:
Public Documents: Annual reports, press releases, and website copy are invaluable for understanding a competitor’s strategic direction and latest products.
News and Media: Stay current with industry news, trends, and updates and ensure you not only look at articles where your competitors are directly mentioned, but also those where their customers, partners, or industry at large are discussed.
Events and Tradeshows: Companies often introduce new offerings at industry events or trade shows, attended by customers, analysts, and partners. These could be great sources of information.
Customer Feedback: Your customers will likely have evaluated your competition before deciding on your solution. Their feedback can provide critical insights.
Third Party Platforms: User review and comparison websites can yield a wealth of CI through customer reviews, ratings, and side-by-side comparisons.
Social Networks: Follow your competitors on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks – you'll be surprised how much information is disclosed on these platforms.
Sales Tools and CRM: Build competitive collections directly into your core tools like Salesforce, Hubspot etc., where it’s easily accessible to your sales team.
While the process of gathering sales CI can be time-consuming, tools like Aomni can simplify and expedite this task. It allows sales teams to access relevant company research, analyze competitive insights, and serve up personalized sales content in 15-minutes or less with zero effort required.
The AI platform can be fed various inputs to generate actionable insights on the competition. It helps sales teams understand the target market, aggregate account data in real-time, and synthesize competitor information into coherent insights – all while continually updating itself based on human feedback.
It essentially presents a synthesized view instead of unprocessed data, giving your sales team quick, easy, and efficient access to strategic CI.
CI isn't just about knowing what your competitors are upto, it's about turning that knowledge into actionable information for your sales team with the ultimate goal of winning deals. It's about understanding the strengths and vulnerabilities of the competition, finding strategic gaps in the market, tailoring your pitch to highlight your unique selling points, and closing the deal.
Implementing a strong CI practice takes you beyond just keeping apace with your direct competitors - it enables you to navigate vast market landscapes, anticipate market trends, make informed strategic moves, and ultimately take your business to new heights.
Remember – it’s not the job of sales reps to harvest CI or keep it up to date – it’s their job to use it to win. The correct competitive intelligence tool can ease the process, keep the pipeline updated and ensure your sales team is one step ahead in the deal negotiation.
In summary, as the business landscape grows increasingly competitive, sales CI has become a vital component for sales teams. It’s the key to accurately assess your position in the competitive environment, anticipate competitor actions, and track market trends to stay ahead. The result? Better decision-making, more competitive strategies, and ultimately, increased sales.