The problem with most organizations isn’t that they’re not collecting enough market and competitive intelligence but that it remains siloed in only a few departments and isn’t used by the whole organization as it should be. More than 50% of organizations don’t leverage the competitive intelligence they collect in their strategic decision-making. Such lapses usually occur when an organization lacks a competitive intelligence culture, and thus, there is no practice or process for knowledge sharing in the organization. In the current environment, when innovation and technology are disrupting almost all markets, the lack of competitive intelligence culture can be detrimental to an organization.
This article discusses how organizations can build a competitive intelligence culture and why it is crucial in the present day.
What Does a “Culture of Competitive Intelligence” Mean?
Take a look at global organizations with a robust competitive intelligence culture. You’ll find that they have a proper competitive intelligence department or function with a well-defined competitive intelligence process. The CI department then ensures that the entire organization plays a role in the CI process.
As a result, the entire organization – not just the CI team – tracks and monitors changes in the external environment and seeks to understand the impact and desired response from the organization. Each function, therefore, reaps the benefits of competitive intelligence, be it Sales, Marketing, Product, Strategy, Executive Leadership, or others. The CI department then shares intelligence with each of these teams through newsletters, reports, and alerts, encouraging each employee to seek out intelligence and actively share it within the organization.
CI professionals understand that competitive intelligence is a process that requires the collective effort of the whole organization, and that is what they try to facilitate by creating a competitive intelligence culture. Let us understand the components of a competitive intelligence culture, i.e., what makes up a competitively intelligent organization.
The Components of a Competitive Intelligence Culture
What makes up a competitive intelligence culture in an organization? A process or a methodology, the people or employees of an organization, and an advanced market and competitive intelligence tool or platform.
Another vital factor for the success of a CI culture in an organization is how proactively the leadership is supporting the CI efforts. Without constant support and encouragement from the leadership, developing an organization into a competitively intelligent one can be difficult. Let us discuss these components in a little more detail.
A well-defined CI process
As mentioned before, the common problem with many organizations isn’t the collection of intelligence. It’s the fact that intelligence is gathered across the organization on an individual or functional level only and not shared or deposited in a kind of centralized repository where stakeholders from every function can utilize it as and when needed. Another thing that organizations lack is something that enables sharing, discussion, and activation of intelligence gathered, ideally a CI tool. A CI process should ideally go like this:
- Identifying the competition
- Collecting information
- Assessing the impacts
- Sharing the intelligence
- Activating the intelligence
Out of these five steps, the 4th and 5th steps are often missed, which leads to a fragmented or incomplete competitive intelligence process. To remedy this, coordinated training needs to be provided across the organization to ensure everyone understands the importance of competitive intelligence, its impact, and how each person can contribute to the competitive intelligence process and benefit from it.
A CI tool can decrease manual effort and enable intelligence sharing and activation from the tool itself. It can also help graphically visualize data, which can help identify trends, patterns, and insights and act on them. Following a well-defined CI process or methodology is the first component of building a CI culture in an organization.
Awareness of the Value and Benefits of CI
Another essential component of building a culture of competitive intelligence in an organization is inculcating a sense of responsibility in the organization’s individuals. Let the employees spread across different functions, levels, and geographies of the organization own and drive this cultural shift. The best way to do that is to create awareness among the employees about how a CI culture will help grow the organization and help them on an individual level. Show the key stakeholders how CI can help them win their daily battles.
It’s always better to start with a function most responsive to the CI culture – like Sales – as they understand the importance of intelligence and then move on to other functions. Subsequently, it becomes easier to break down different departmental silos and develop a spirit of collaboration across the organization. Slowly and steadily, you’ll notice departments working together and sharing intelligence like clockwork.
Market and Competitive Intelligence Platform as a Catalyst in Driving Competitive Intelligence Culture
We live in an age of technology, where the arrival of advanced technologies drives most innovation. The field of market and competitive intelligence is no different. A market and competitive intelligence platform like Contify saves a lot of time and effort that would otherwise be spent manually collecting and distributing intelligence.
In addition, it provides a centralized repository to organize intelligence in one place, where stakeholders across different departments can access it on demand. It also acts as a collaboration tool, allowing stakeholders to share information. Due to these benefits, M&CI platforms have emerged as an essential component in building a competitive intelligence culture in an organization these days.
How a CI Culture Benefits All the Stakeholders in an Organization
Once a CI culture is well-established in an organization, you’ll observe an easily visible and positive change in your functional processes. You’ll observe a difference even as you implement the initial steps. Here’s the impact you can expect across different functions:
- Sales teams achieve higher win rates, close more deals, and be more confident as their battle cards are backed by actionable insights.
- Marketing teams will be able to create compelling marketing messaging and create powerful campaigns that differentiate you from the competition and drive a pipeline for sales. Overall, you’ll see a higher marketing performance as each team member is now much more informed than before.
- Product teams will use competitive intelligence to improve decision-making on the product roadmap and build superior products, being better informed of the market and competitive landscape.
- The leadership will be much better informed of any significant market shifts in the future, which will help inform their decision-making when building strategy and providing direction to the organization.
These are just a few examples of how a CI culture will help various functions of an organization. The real possibilities are endless and depend on how well you integrate this culture into your organization.
Building a culture of competitive intelligence in your organization is no easy task. However, it is necessary to sustain your position and growth in these increasingly competitive markets. It does call for a lot of investment of time, effort, and money, but the return is well worth it. Not only that, with more and more organizations adopting the CI culture, its lack could be pretty disadvantageous for you down the road.
Convince the leadership to invest in a proven competitive intelligence process or methodology, get your organization’s employees the training they need to work effectively with CI, and leverage a CI tool or platform to expedite your CI efforts. With these steps, you’ll soon be on your way to building a competitive intelligence culture that provides a lasting competitive advantage to your organization.