Taking Stock of your Intelligence Program

Intelligence Program

17 June, 2016 | Posted in Competitive Intelligence, Competitive methodology, Competitive Sales, Sales Enablement

A few weeks ago I posted an article on my thoughts on SCIP 2016 and the options that practitioners have available to them to support their intelligence program.  Those options came primarily in two forms (and I am generalizing).

  1. Analytics & Discovery Platforms – These are dashboards that try to scan the internet for new information or to find that ‘secret’ that is not yet known.
  2. Services Providers – Those firms that you hire to do projects for you.  This can range from a Win-Loss analysis project to other custom research.

What was missing in my opinion (well, except for Compelligence) was an Intelligence Platform.

So what is an Intelligence Platform and how does it support an Intelligence Program?

The easiest way to think of a platform is that it supports your business processes and integrates with other enterprise applications.  It should be multi-user and support a virtual team business process of intelligence.  And it should enable each and every user in the company to participate in the Intelligence process.

Where do we see this in other areas?

Sales & Sales Operations has Salesforce.com.  Each and everyday they use this application to improve their operations and be more efficient.  (Many sales people may disagree with this statement!)

Marketing has applications like Marketo, and Hubspot.

What does the Competitive Intelligence or the Market Intelligence team have? What software supports the Intelligence Program?

  • Do you have a platform that helps your team with work-flows such as project management, objective-management, and key intelligence topic management?
  • Do you have a platform that has both portals and dashboards, but also can autonomously identify news, events and trends?
  • Do you have a platform that can help not only the intelligence team, but other teams like Sales and Marketing?
  • Do you have a platform that integrates with other enterprise applications like your SSO & identity management systems.

Competitive Intelligence Business Process – what makes us different.

What makes Compelligence different is that the partners were actual practitioners for a combined 30 plus years before becoming vendors.  We simply didn’t find some technology and think that it applied.  We knew what was necessary to build a platform for practitioners, built by practitioners.

In support of this function Compelligence is announcing a new user interface to support those functions in that latter part of June.  Look forward to our announcement soon… and in the meantime I ask you this.

What is your strategy for people, process and technology?  And for technology do you have a point product or a full blown platform?

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Ed Allison to present at Predictive Analytics & Business Insight 2015

Screen-Shot-2013-12-11-at-9.42.55-AM

4 February, 2015 | Posted in Competitive Intelligence, Competitive methodology, Competitive Sales

Predictive Analytics & Business Insights 2015
I’m honored to be asked by my friends at Altamont-Group to speak on the topic of Competitive Analytics

Utilize competitive data to help analyze future scenarios to make more accurate assumptionsScreen-Shot-2013-12-11-at-9.42.55-AM

Planning and Forecasting is often based on quantitative analysis comparing scenarios based on assumptions of business forces in your future environment.  The largest unknown is the future and how your competition will play in that future.  What if we could use data to help analyze those future scenarios to make more accurate assumptions.  Using technology we can analyze competitive trends in the market place, track sales feedback via win/loss analysis and compare offers in a more analytical manner to eliminate uncertainty for planning.

Contact me for a special guest pricing on Feb 9th and 10th in San Francisco.

Ed.

About Predictive Analytics and Business Insights 2015Predictive Analytics & Business Insights 2015 is a vendor-neutral event featuring learning sessions and case studies from some of the leading thought leaders working in analytics and business intelligence today. In today’s marketplace, good analytics are the key differentiator for smarter decision making and gaining competitive advantage. An organization’s ability to harness and leverage the wealth of available organizational data is a key factor in effective, strategic and tactical planning.Predictive Analytics & Business Insights 2015 is a comprehensive learning and networking opportunity designed specifically for business professionals from across functional backgrounds who use analytics in their planning and forecasting process. This comprehensive event combines technical, strategy sessions as well as case studies to display practical usages of predictive and business analytics.

Predictive Analytics & Business Insights 2015 is a unique opportunity for those looking to expand their ability to effectively leverage analytics to predict future events relative to their business. Attendees will instantly realize the difference between this forum and other conferences. Learning sessions are vendor agnostic and there are NO sales pitches. Presentations will be conducted by the most talented corporate experts and thought leaders, both regionally and nationally.

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How to Transform Salesforce.com into a Competitive Sales Analysis App Using Intelligent Agents

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

8 January, 2015 | Posted in Competitive Intelligence, Competitive methodology, Competitive Sales, Positioning, Sales Enablement, Sales Guidance, Uncategorized

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.

Learning objectives:

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.

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Join our Keynote Presentation at Altamont Group’s Business Forecasting 2014 Summit and Save 50% on Registration

altamontgroup

11 August, 2014 | Posted in Competitive Intelligence, Competitive methodology

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

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Webinar: From Competitive Intelligence to Intelligent Sales Enablement

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

1 April, 2014 | Posted in Competitive methodology, Competitive Sales, Sales Enablement

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!

 

 

 

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Why Comparison Makes All The Difference

9 July, 2013 | Posted in Competitive methodology

You might have already read our blog post on Dynamic Comparison and learned how much time and money you can save by allowing our software to do the tedious work of comparing what you already know about your industry and competition.

Well, there are even more benefits to be had by allowing Compelligence to handle this heavy lifting.

Read more →

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Corporate Maturity and Quality Pizza

31 May, 2013 | Posted in Competitive methodology, Competitive Sales

For lunch yesterday, I had a slice of Domino’s pizza. I haven’t had Domino’s in a while so I was pleasantly surprised to be reminded of how much better their pizza is than it was a few years ago. That little reminder got me thinking about marketing routines. I know what you’re probably thinking; what does pizza have to do with marketing?

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Like Selling Ice to an Eskimo: The Trouble With Information

14 May, 2013 | Posted in Competitive Intelligence, Competitive methodology

You know the old saying about trying to sell ice to Eskimos. Common sense notwithstanding, it still happens all the time. What’s worse is that you’ve probably been on the receiving end of it.

If you’re reading this, you probably already know that you need better information to make sure that sales happen as efficiently as possible in your company. But choosing the perfect schema for your company’s competitive intelligence needs can be daunting.

There are many services that compile, sort, or assess massive amounts of information from across the Internet. These service providers will tell you that you don’t know enough about the market or the competition, or that you cannot adequately use information without some kind of automated searching tool. They say you need more information in order to be more informed. They want to sell you ice.

We have a revolutionary idea here at Compelligence: you don’t need more information; you just need better access to the information you already have.

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What is an industry?

25 April, 2013 | Posted in Competitive methodology

You might be familiar with the traditional, financial definition of an ‘industry’ as something like, “a specific branch of manufacture and trade.” For many applications, this perspective is perfectly adequate. However, we have good reason to believe that for the purposes of competitive intelligence, this approach is non-effective and limiting.

When a customer sets out to make a purchase, they do so to meet a specific need in their life. Their search will be framed in terms of how well any product fills this hole and, moreover, they are more than likely taking into account variety of ways to meet that need.

Let me say it this way: customers are considering solutions from everyone, not just you or your traditional competitors.

Looking at just your own ‘industry’ keeps you from seeing all the competitors.

First, it is important to remember that every one of your products is a solution to some customer’s problem, and second, keep in mind that other companies might solve that same problem in a very different way.

For example, a company that sells car-mounted GPS units might be well prepared to market their product against other car-mounted GPS units. However, when forced to compare their products against a GPS application for a smart phone, the company may be at a loss because it has only ever considered ‘dedicated GPS units’ as their industry and completely ignored a wide range of indirect competition.

Companies that have defined themselves and their industry in these standard terms will miss opportunities and limit their reach by putting themselves in a box.

We propose instead that an ‘industry’ should be defined as a set of potential solutions to a customer’s problem.

For example, someone may want a good tool for mobile computing. Many would be inclined to say that this is an opportunity for a laptop company to make a sale. However, this perspective fails to take into account the many ways that this particular need can be met. A tablet or smart phone might be even better suited to the specific needs of a customer and if a sales person is asked how their laptop compares against industry-leading smart phones, they may be caught woefully ill-equipped.

Stepping back to look at multiple solutions to a customer problem allows a company to take advantage of every possible market and sale. Moreover, a firm customer-centric understanding of how products and services meet needs helps maintain focus when positioning or developing new efforts.

Based on this principle, the Compelligence system guides users to assess and re-frame their competitive industries. This enables better sales guidance and marketing strategy, and allows companies to win more competitive deals, faster.

Our tools and best practices will transform your competitive intelligence efforts into a highly directed, interactive, and efficient system that lets you assess information once and then share and update it efficiently and collaboratively. More importantly, it will allow you to truly focus not only on what your product does, but also on how it compares to your competition from your customer’s point of view. And that is what will allow you to win their business.

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Win deals faster with Dynamic Comparison

11 March, 2013 | Posted in Competitive methodology, Competitive Sales

Wouldn’t it be great if …

…sales teams never had to wait for analysis and guidance when a competitor launches a new product?

…marketing, sales, and competitive teams could always identify silver bullets to use against the competitor?

…your marketing and CI teams could instill confidence in everyone that they know where your company stands against every competitor and their products at all times?

Now you can, with Dynamic Comparison by Compelligence.

Consider this example:  Your competitor comes out with a new product or service, and what happens at your company?  If you are like most companies, the story probably goes something like this:

A salesperson sends a frantic e-mail to an internal distribution list that says “Help! My customer is considering the new Widget3000XR-10 from our competition. Does anyone know about this thing???”  That e-mail eventually makes its way up through sales management and over to the product and marketing teams, where it gets assigned as a critical project.  Multiple people scramble to get data sheets and information on the new product and try to figure out a way to position against it.  It can take days at best, perhaps weeks in some cases to create and distribute collateral to your sales teams to tell them how to sell against this new threat.  In the mean time, the sales person is stuck trying to find a way to respond to the customer, while the competitor is in the customer’s office showing off their shiny new gadget.

Sound familiar?   I’ll admit, it is challenging to contextualize a new competitive offering:  how does it compare to your existing products or services? What are its strengths or weaknesses?  Where does it fit in the industry? How do you create new collateral to educate your sales teams on this product?

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Now you can quickly analyze new competitor products and win deals faster.

At Compelligence, we just released a powerful new feature called Dynamic Comparison that eases this process.   It allows CI teams or marketing teams to simply enter the capabilities of a new competitor offering, and Compelligence in return will analyze that new product. It will highlight its strengths and weaknesses, and make that information available to sales teams immediately.  It can help product marketing teams identify better strategies for positioning against the new threat.  It can tell you how that new product stacks up not only against your offering, but also how it compares to the rest of the industry.  And it can reduce the scramble to create new content.  Rather than creating hundreds of panicked e-mail threads and confusion, Compelligence enables you to maintain focus in a changing competitive environment.

So change the story at your company.  Don’t leave your sales teams waiting for guidance on new products while your competitor is closing the deal.   Ask us for a demo of how Dynamic Comparison can help  your sales teams win deals faster, and how Compelligence can keep your company in front of your competitors.

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