In times of globalisation and dynamic markets, it is difficult for medium-sized companies to keep track of the market environment. The trump is held by those who know their competitors, prospects and customers equally well.
Whether you want to win a specific order, strategically market a product or expand into new markets – the knowledge that companies have about their competitors is the basis for sound strategic and operational decisions. The goal of Competitive Intelligence (CI) – systematic and practical observation of the competition – is to build it up.
In the USA, competition analysis has long been one of the essentials of strategic corporate management. The situation is different in Germany: according to relevant studies, many companies are still too little informed about their competitors. The knowledge about the competition resides in a few heads and is – if at all – only insufficiently documented and rarely systematically evaluated. The advantages of consistent observation of the competition are obvious: decision-makers can react more quickly to market changes, better assess the behaviour of the competition, identify new sales markets more easily, give their sales team a decisive knowledge advantage and expand and secure their market position with less risk.
CI is a complex process that extends from the analysis of information requirements to the procurement and processing of data and decisions. Practical software solutions make this process much easier. For example, modern CRM systems support the systematic collection of competitive information with a special module. These solutions record the data in a structured manner in an individually configurable competitor profile. In addition, competitors can be classified according to market share, sales territory, strategic orientation, sales development, etc. A central knowledge base accessible to all relevant departments stores the results and allows systematic evaluation.
The sales department in particular benefits from the possibility to record competitor data directly on current business opportunities and offers. This allows a practice-oriented competitor analysis to be carried out.
and presentation of competitive situations by the individual CRM user. The direct comparison of strength and weakness profiles of e.g. known competitor products, prices or the stored experiences from past competitive situations help to derive targeted sales strategies.
CRM software with integrated CI functions ideally offers the user automatically generated, daily updated reports and graphical evaluations. The 360° view of the competitor thus gained provides management, sales, marketing and product management with valuable information that can make a decisive contribution to success.