Thursday, October 6, 2011

Five Tips to Trump the Competition

Everyday Corporate Intelligence Tricks:

  1. Shift that Paradigm: Typically the sales department and marketing team view competition with a degree of contempt. Fear and ignorance lead to bad decision making. Digging for dirt and trying to discredit the competition often (almost always) leads to a myopic view and bad intelligence. Step back and have a look at your competition from the perspective of a new client. View them through the eyes of a prospect, a regular player in the market with generally positive expectations. Ask what they do well. Where do they excel? How could they solve my problems? You might be surprised to learn that the competition is actually better at some things than you are. Know your competition, don’t just sling mud.

  1. Read: Set up an RSS feed that provides you with any stories in the media about your competition. Are stories being written about them? Are they being quoted as experts? Learn what they have to say. Google Alerts is an easy way to do this. Pay close attention to help-wanted ads. If you’ve been paying attention for some time, you’ll start to notice when the competition is staffing up for a huge new project.

  1. Gather Web Intelligence: Scour their corporate web site, read every bit. Download pages. Study the material. What products do they sell? What services do they provide? We actually set up a notebook for each company we’re tracking. There are several sections to these three ring binders, but the first and easiest to get is the entire content from the competition’s own web site. Review the competitions web site as if you were a new customer (see No. 1).

  1. Build a Network of Human Intelligence: This will take some finesse and will definitely take an investment in time, but countless people come through your office on a daily basis who can provide you with valuable, valuable information. Talk to them. UPS, FedEx, the guy who services copy machines, even the water delivery service, all fantastic sources of information. Build rapport, engage, and over time slip in some comments and questions about the competition. You’ll be surprised how much the water guy knows.

  1. Ask: How about this for a crazy idea: Ask the competition directly. Simple really.

Next week we’ll dig a little deeper into some more ideas for gathering intelligence on the competition. 

No comments:

Post a Comment