Mitch Emerson is the Co-Founder, Compelligence, Inc.. Mitch is a 10+ year veteran of the Competitive Sales Enablement & Competitive Intelligence industries working at companies such as Juniper Networks and Cisco Systems. Mitch has helped pioneer a practical approach to data-driven competitive positioning & strategy that delivers measurable returns on investment.
8 May, 2016 | Posted in Competitive Intelligence
Join Compelligence at the 31st Annual SCIP Conference and Exhibition!
What could be more fun than Disneyland and Competitive Intelligence packed together? Come visit us at Booth #16 at the SCIP Conference in Orlando on May 16-19th in Orlando, Florida! We will be demoing our CI software and showing you how you can be more effective in your CI practices.
Let us show you how you can improve your competitive maturity with our proven CI process. Take a look at our dynamic battle card solution, or ask us about our CI-as-a-Service offering. This new offering is a great way to increase the capacity of your CI team without adding any headcount. It’s perfect for the small (or single person!) CI teams, or even for larger, more established teams. With Compelligence, you can:
- Easily create competitor portals and dashboards
- Perform win/loss analysis
- Deliver and track competitive content
- Automatically monitor industry news
- Create compelling newsletters
- Integrate with Salesforce.com
- Manage your entire CI team
- ….much much more!
The Compelligence System is the only CI system that was developed by experienced CI professionals. It is a purpose-built system that will enable you to be a true CI leader in your organization.
Come see for yourself how we can help you win intelligently!
I’ve been asked to discuss my views on how Competitive Intelligence is changing in 2015 with Arik Johnson of AuroraWDC. Many of you know that I am a strong proponent that Competitive Intelligence today must change with the markets. The days of long-drawn out projects based on the traditional CI methodology are over. Today, we need immediate on-demand intelligence solutions. That means utilizing Intelligence based systems to help us.
Join us on the 21st. I’d like to hear what your thoughts are…
Sign up at: http://aurorawdc.com/how-to-transform-salesforce-com-into-a-competitive-sales-analysis-app-using-intelligent-agents-intelcollab-webinar
How to Transform Salesforce.com into a Competitive Sales Analysis App Using Intelligent Agents
The Next IntelCollab Webinar from Aurora WDC
12:00 Noon Eastern /// Wednesday 21 January 2015
~ featuring ~
Ed Allison is Co-Founder and Managing Director at Compelligence Arik Johnson
Arik Johnson is Founder & Chairman at Aurora WDC
How will you compete in and win more deals in 2015?
You could simply work harder… but you probably already work hard enough. You could hire more analysts… but that requires getting requisitions approved and lots of training. You could stop doing less productive work… but those “less-productive” tasks usually are required by your management.
These are the things people typically do when trying to be smarter about competition. But will all of this ensure you deliver intelligence to the entire firm when and where they need it, both strategically and tactically?
The problem is that competition really isn’t just a matter of work, it’s a matter of scale. Consider this: If you have 100 sales people competing against five competitors with 10 opportunities per sales person each quarter, that represents 4,000 opportunities for intelligence delivery and collection per year. Each of those could be 1 of 5^4 (625) strategies. Do you have the tools and know-how to scale to that and deliver quarterly assessments to your strategic planners?
Adding intelligent agents will help you meet these challenges. Learn how you must use tools and systems in 2015 in order to win more deals, learn more from the field, and collect systematic information from the environment.
Understand how systems can conduct and deliver competitive analysis to sales teams at scale.
Learn how to apply machine analysis to environmental scanning increasing the relevancy of news analysis.
Discover how Competitive Intelligence and Analysis techniques are changing based on a changing world of new data management tools.
Working to change the way companies compete and win, Ed Allison is the Managing Director and Co-Founder of Compelligence, Inc., a competitive, market and sales intelligence platform. Ed previously served as a competitive team leader at Cisco Systems, Symbol Technologies, Juniper Networks and Polycom. In his most recent engagement, Ed helped Polycom, the leader in video communications, grow from a $1B to a $1.4B annual sales. Ed brings a history of frontline competitive experience. He’s a practitioner, not a theorist, of competitive, market, and customer intelligence leadership at large, marketing-leading technology companies. Ed developed analysis and strategy techniques as a military officer in the U.S. Army (Signal Corp) and has adopted those techniques to strategic planning and sales effectiveness. Ed Allison speaks regularly at industry events such as Frost & Sullivan Mind eXchange, The Altamont Group executive education series, Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP) and other industry events.
Ed will present 30 minutes on how you must use tools and systems in 2015 in order to win more deals and will be joined by webinar moderator Arik Johnson, Founder & Chairman at Aurora WDC.
The second half of the hour will continue with questions from the online audience and thoughts on what the future holds for helping business leaders make more confident decisions in uncertain times, concluding with a description of the next webinar and other upcoming activities in the Intelligence Collaborative series.
We hope you can join us.
Join our Keynote Presentation at Altamont Group’s Business Forecasting 2014 Summit and Save 50% on Registration
Join Ed Allison from Compelligence at Altamont Group’s Competitive Intelligence Analytics and Insights 2014 Summit!
Ed Allison will be a keynote speaker Altamont Group’s Competitive Intelligence Analytics & Insights 2014. This event is taking place August 18-19th in San Francisco. This summit features two-days of excellent professional level education and networking for practitioners in Competitive Intelligence, Market Research, Business Development, Product Management and Strategic Planning. Case studies, hands-on workshops, and innovative best-practice sessions will be presented by some of the most innovative practitioners, thought leaders and methodologists working in competitive intelligence today. Discussions are made in an intimate, vendor-free setting. Presenters from Compelligence, IBM, McAfee, Hewlett-Packard, Underwriters Laboratories are just a few of the leading organizations that will be sharing their lessons learned and innovative strategies.
Mention Compelligence for a reduced 50% rate!!
Ed Allison from Compelligence will lead two sessions:
11AM-12PM on Monday, August 18th – CI only crowd
Disruptive Thinking in Competitive Strategy
Identify disruptive competition and develop disruptive innovation to gain competitive advantage
– Combine disruptive innovation practices with strategic market intelligence to optimize positioning and differentiation
– Spot changes that will be revolutionary to your business or product strategy
– Leverage existing product or organizational capabilities that have not yet been exploited to enact market change
– Visualize how competitors are changing your marketplace directly or indirectly and develop tactics to take action
9:45-10:45 AM on Tuesday, August 19th – Forecasting only crowd
Evidence-Based Decision Making
Transition data into meaningful strategic and tactical insights for analytics and forecasting excellence
– Utilize the wealth of historical organizational data to make informed decisions
– Optimize the quantity and quality of useful information
– Implement evolving techniques to help drive effective strategy planning and execution
– Leverage technology for improved accuracy, deeper business knowledge and real time decision making
Register or find out more at www.BusinessForecasting2014.com
Why I left a competitive intelligence leadership position in a large corporation to join a CI start-up
23 July, 2014 | Posted in Competitive Intelligence
Hi. My name is Ed Allison and I am proud to join Mitch Emerson and the rest of the team as a managing partner at Compelligence.
People keep asking me, “Ed, why did you leave a great competitive intelligence leadership role in a large corporation to join a CI start-up?”
My response to them usually revolves around the following things
- Because competitive practices are becoming more critical for businesses
- Because traditional techniques for competitive intelligence have failed
- I believe I can help change that
Compelligence is the result of a combined 20 years of practical Competitive Intelligence experience gained not in academia, a consulting firm, or a branch of government, but rather from front-line practical experience building numerous successful Competitive Intelligence teams at multiple firms. This company is a new, unique idea that grew from the hard lessons learned supporting sales teams, product managers & marketeers and executives. We are not about theory, but rather we are about making a real and measurable difference in business.
My own career started in the U.S. Army where I participated in multiple tactical and strategic operations and planning events where I observed the importance of undestanding your advisory. After joining corporate America I learned how corporations apply competitive intelligence techniques. I read the books and blogs, worked with consultants, and attended local and national SCIP events. I saw what was working and what wasn’t.
I’ve applied the techniques that work, and in my last role I more than doubled the size of my competitive team, assisted in over $150M in business, prepared analysis for executive teams and the board of directors, and increased the satisfaction with the competitive team from a negative to positive based on internal surveys.
What I learned through my career at Cisco, Symbol Technologies (now Motorola), Juniper Networks and Polycom and my work with others in the Competitive Intelligence industry is that the traditional Competitive Intelligence techniques that are based on outdated thought processes simply don’t work. We know what does.
So why did I leave?
Because I want to change the competitive industry; I want to help progress a profession; and I love to help companies win.
I’ve changed from taking a competitive intelligence leadership role at a single company, to taking a role that hopefully will influence the competitive intelligence industry.
I welcome your thoughts in the comments below.
22 July, 2014 | Posted in Uncategorized
Compelligence, Inc. welcomes Edward Allison as Managing Director to help customers build competitive sales strategies
Compelligence expands its leadership team to help redefine what it means to deliver dynamic competitive sales strategies
Pismo Beach, CA – July 22, 2014 – Compelligence, Inc. today announced that Ed Allison, who has successfully led competitive teams at Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks, Symbol Technologies and Polycom, has joined the management team in the role of Managing Director working with Mitch Emerson.
Allison will have oversight of the strategic direction, expansion and operation of Compelligence, Inc. in addition to being responsible for client success using the Compelligence system.
“I am looking forward to having Ed on our team,” said Emerson. “He brings a strong passion for competitive intelligence and is an experienced competitive team leader. His experience will help us to further our unique solution and to provide many powerful insights to our clients. We enable our clients to build competitive sales strategies not only through technology, but also by guiding them through the process of establishing competitive best practices”
“I am thrilled to join Compelligence, and very much look forward to working with clients and making it easier for their sales teams to win competitive deals.” said Allison. “Today’s business environment has evolved and companies face competition from many new directions. Traditional competitive intelligence techniques, practices and systems are no longer sufficient. Something needs to change and Compelligence, Inc. has the only solution that delivers on-demand, custom competitive sales strategies that helps team’s win. I’m excited to help take that solution to the next level.”
Allison joins Compelligence, Inc. from Polycom where he rebuilt the competitive team exceeding all business & financial metrics for his organizaiton. Prior to Polycom, Ed led competitive teams at Symbol Technologies, Juniper Networks and Cisco Systems. Allison holds a Master’s Degree from Troy University and Bachelor’s Degree from Shippensburg University.
The Compelligence app enables sales teams to win competitive deals faster by providing them with on-demand, customized sales strategies that are tailored to each deal. Compelligence is currently available as a stand alone cloud solution or on the AppExchange at www.appexchange.com.
- The Compelligence App can be found on the Salesforce.com AppExchange at https://appexchange.salesforce.com/listingDetail?listingId=a0N3000000B3IDvEAN
- Compelligence can be found online at www.compelligence.com or on Twitter @Compelligence
The Compelligence solution allows companies to create on-demand, account-specific competitive sales strategies that improve win rates. It is the first of its kind Competitive Marketing Management System. Compelligence is a privately owned corporation that was founded in 2010.
During our recent Webinar, Ellen Naylor reiterated the importance of the Competitive intelligence (CI) team to be in touch with their sales people and to understand their mindset. “These folks do not make decisions based only on the next sale,” she said. “They also take action to improve their image and that of the company.” Sales people are customer focused. They put themselves in the place of their customers with the purpose of providing long-term satisfaction. The sales team endeavors to provide solutions that enable their customers to reach their goals. The CI team should do the same, treating their colleagues in sales both as partners and customers, and strive to provide solutions that will help sales reps achieve their main goal of increasing sales revenue. To help themselves, the CI team should focus greatly on helping sales. If you research how much companies spend on sales budget as a percentage of revenue, you’ll find a broad range of estimates from 10 – 40%, depending on the industry that the company is in. There are no similar statistics for intelligence spend as a percentage of revenue. The point here is that if CI teams can associate closely with sales teams, they have access to larger budgets. Therefore, it is important for the CI team to get buy in from and to show value to the sales team.
Sales Teams Should be Prepared and Very Adaptable
Sales people ultimately need to be aware of the market that they are selling in. They need to be cognizant of their customers’ interests and need to know how to achieve the best image that is possible in their competitive environment. In its 2014 executive guidance report, CEB notes that:
Most organizations today embrace customer centricity across their operations that affect customers. When it comes to product development, communications, and sales and service, most organizations not only are mindful of customers’ needs but also have deliberately built systems to ensure the customer is the focal point.
Potential customers expect the salesperson to offer better products and terms than their competitors, and they expect top notch service once they have bought into a product. To help meet these expectations, sales people need up-to-date information on their competitors’ products, positioning, and selling points. Sales reps who are able to make the best use of this type of information are those that are best prepared for a meeting with their customer, are highly adaptive, able to interpret a situation more clearly, and better able to adjust their selling approach as is unfolds before them.
Sales Guidance Should Be Easy to Follow
Sales intelligence should provide clear concise guidance, not a lot of information for the rep to mull over. More data means more work for the sales force to review and digest. Therefore, sales intelligence guidance should be easy to use. Sales decks, battle cards, or other sales enablement tools that can be referred to when talking with customers have been known to work well. Sales guidance should not have too much detail, but instead, it should be well structured and easy to follow. Useful sales guidance will help the team work through difficult blind slides and help the team change their sales approach on the fly. In the end, successful sales guidance allows the rep to answer customer questions quickly and seamlessly.
CI Provides Sales Guidance
CI teams provide intelligence that guides the sales team satisfy and delight their customers. Competitive intelligence guidance describes competitors’ products, provides effective competitive positioning, outlines past customer behavior (buying trends, questions, and concerns), gives tips on how to win over customers, and explains what to do and not to do while talking with the customer.
There are several ways to display and provide sales intelligence. Innovative systems such as Compelligence are available to compartmentalize and display information to make it readily available when the sales rep is in front of the customer. The Compelligence system is like an electronic sales deck with information that helps the sales team adapt and prepare for discussions with the customer. With it, CI teams and marketing teams can also provide in-depth competitive product evaluations to help sales reps prepare for discussions and updates on competitor marketing strategies and market positioning.
Communication Between CI and Sales is Crucial for Success
CI professionals should provide their sales colleagues with intelligence that helps to satisfy and delight the customer. Cultivating a rich source of intelligence on competitors’ projects and products, as well as any new market insights, gives the sales team time to be strategic and natural in their response to customer concerns. It is essential that a company’s sales and CI people communicate regularly to come to a common understanding of what type of sales intelligence is needed and how it will be packaged. The CI team should help sales reps by providing concise sales guidance that will help reps prepare for meetings, refine their message, make the sale, and keep the customer satisfied even after the sale has been completed.
You’ve likely heard the slogan “Red Bull gives you wings.” The suggestion is that when a person drinks Red Bull, they are instantly energized to do things they could not do in a non-Red-Bull induced state. Well, the same concept is true with competitive intelligence (CI) teams and sales teams in a company. It’s easy to see how sales people can benefit from having useful competitive intelligence. What is not commonly recognized, though, is that CI teams are also more effective when they are closely allied with their sales teams. For instance, sales people can collect intelligence about the competition’s positioning, selling strategies, product specifics, and selling strategies. They also are well aware of how effective the competitor’s sales tactics are relative to their own strategies. This information is extremely valuable to a well-tuned CI organization and can help that CI organization provide analysis and insight on how to improve a company’s revenues.
Sales Teams are Key to Competitive Intelligence Collection
Successful organizations make information gathering as much a part of their sales process as they do the actual sales activities. During our webinar on April 22, Ellen Naylor noted that sales people come into contact with a wealth of information such as new products to be introduced and new competitors coming into the market. Last year Joël Le Bon wrote that, “The sales force has abundant information about the initiatives and products that your competitors are planning and, therefore, the kinds of choices that your customers will be facing in the near future.” This makes sense. Sales professionals are on the front lines, so to speak, when they meet with customers, visit suppliers and manufacturers, attend conferences, and work at trade shows booths. In each case, valuable information can be gleaned about a competitor’s sales tactics, product lines, model specifications, and market trends. Sales people are sometimes the first to hear about new technologies that competing companies are developing or are about to offer, and sales representatives can learn about service contracts their competitors are providing
Collection Sources and Methods
So, what can sales people do to collect competitor information? The easy answer is to keep their eyes and ears open. When meeting with customers, sales representatives should listen intently about what other companies are pitching; ask the customers about the products and service plans they’ve been offered by the competition; and learn as much as possible about the customer’s needs. At trade shows, sales representatives should visit competitors’ booths and pick-up literature. They can also participate in conversations about the industry and listen to what is being said about companies, products, and new trends. When manning their own booths, reps can elicit information from visitors about competitor’s products. And when they talk with suppliers, vendors and other intermediaries, sales reps can ask about a competitor’s future rollouts, product specifications, models prices, services options, and customer demand for competitor’s products.
Getting Intelligence Back to the CI team is Critical
When reps return to their companies, they need to have an easy way to convey what they learned to the people who can analyze, assimilate, and distribute it. One way to do this is to have a designated point of contact within the CI to communicate their findings. Some companies may develop a specific type of debrief or report format that helps sales reps distribute raw information, and helps the CI department and other organizations within the company use it. An even better way to do this is to use a collection system that can keep track of those designated analysts and which can automatically route intelligence to them.
CI educates the sales teams on intelligence requirements and value
Although sales professionals are indeed those people who make first contact with sources of information that can be useful for strategic purposes, they may not be aware of the importance of that information. When this happens, they may neglect to collect it. Ellen Naylor noted that sales professionals are high-impact people that have strong customer orientation and who are always questioning the benefit of activities they participate in. A CI department that proactively educates sales personnel on the importance of collecting and reporting information will be much more successful. CI professionals can educate the sales field about the types of competitive intelligence that they are likely to encounter and instill a resolve to collect it. It is also important to provide the sales force with feedback on how specific information was used, what decisions were made from it, and what strategies resulted from the collection effort. This feedback helps the sales force better understand their role and contribution to the overall strategic health of the company, and it will motivate sales reps to collect and report more. As I noted earlier, a process that makes it easy for sales teams to report intelligence after customer visits will help elicit information from sales.
CI-Sales Give and Take
It is this give-and-take relationship between CI and sales that allows a company to increase their competitive effectiveness: CI teams provide competitive guidance to sales, sales teams can collect new information and report it back to CI teams, and the CI teams in turn analyze, process, and update the material they provide back to sales. It is critical that the CI team demonstrates that obligation to the sales teams, and that the sales teams reciprocate by providing feedback. And it also helps if your CI teams are well-stocked with Red Bull.
COMING UP NEXT!
In my next entries I’d like to discuss the types and value of competitive intelligence to the sales force. Topics I’ll cover will include:
- How CI teams can help sales people increase their sales effectiveness.
- How sales can verify the efficacy of their company strategy.
22 April, 2014 | Posted in Uncategorized
On April 22nd, 2014 we presented a webinar with Ellen Naylor from The Business Intelligence Source and Dean Davison from Forrester Research. The topics covered included techniques for collecting competitive intelligence from sales teams, methods for communicating competitive guidance to sales, and ideas on how sales teams can better sell to customers.
- A replay of the event can be viewed here.
- You can download a copy of the presentation to review at your leisure.
If you have any questions or comments about the webinar, please do not hesitate to contact us!
Do you know the route from Collecting Competitive Data to Winning Deals?
Getting from “collecting competitive intelligence” to “an effective competitive sales process” can be a bumpy road with many potholes and hazards along the way if you don’t have a good road map. Fortunately there is help for you!
Please join us on Wednesday, April 22nd at 9:00am PDT for a free informative 45-minute webinar on how to turn your competitive intelligence into intelligent sales tools! The panelist of speakers includes Ellen Naylor from The Business Intelligence Source, Mitch Emerson from Compelligence, and Dean Davison from Forrester Research. They will take you down a path that starts with showing you how you can be more effective at collecting competitive intelligence that will help your sales teams win more deals. The next stop on the journey will teach you how to transform that data into competitive sales guidance that your sales teams can customize for each of their unique deals. You’ll finish the trip with ideas on how to reframe your data into customer terms that will add impact your sales discussions.
Spaces are limited for this free event, so register early to guarantee your spot!
Every sales deal today is really a competitive sales engagement. It is tempting to think that a customer is only considering your product or service. But with the ease of finding out information on the Internet, every customer is researching not just your company, but also your competitors. The fact is that sales people have to face competition, one way or another, in every single deal they encounter. So why do many companies make this a difficult process? Sales people frequently do not have the right competitive sales tools or easy access to competitive sales guidance. Most of the time they have to hunt this information down on their own or build it from scratch.
If this sounds familiar in your company, here are four ways you can alleviate the stress of competitive sales.