Ed Allison to present at Predictive Analytics & Business Insight 2015

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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Four Ways to Improve Competitive Sales

1 February, 2014 | Posted in Competitive Intelligence, Competitive Sales

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.

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3 Ways to Make Your Sales Pitch More Compelling

27 December, 2013 | Posted in Competitive Sales

You’ve just make a sales pitch to a customer and left their building or hung up the phone with them.  Why are they going to remember what you said, and how is it going to encourage them to buy what you are selling?  There are of course thousands of different ways to influence a buyer, but they all boil down to having a compelling sales pitch.  So how can you make sure that your sales pitch persuades your customer to make a purchase?  Keep the three items listed below in mind as you build your pitch, and you will be one step closer to having a more convincing sales pitch.

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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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Build sales battle systems, not battle cards.

5 September, 2012 | Posted in Competitive Sales

“What should we put on our battle cards?”  That’s a question I commonly hear from CI professionals.   My advice: forget the battle cards.

Sure, battle cards are a great thing to have if you want to help a few of your sales people in some deals.  If you work at a large company with multiple competitors, they are also a great thing to make if you get paid by the hour since you likely will spend a lot of time customizing them for each sales person that undoubtedly will complain that the battle card isn’t “just right” for his or her situation.

In most circumstances, battle cards don’t provide good return for the effort that goes into creating them.  Here are the problems I see with creating battle cards:

  1. Battle cards cannot be created to suit each particular deal.  They end up being either too specific in scope or too general.  A specific battle card is great for one or two deals, but you will always be customizing it for each sales person’s needs.  A generic one will be useless to your sales teams or will put them at a disadvantage in a competitive situation.
  2. Version control is challenging.  Like any document, once you create a battle card and publish it on a website or on a Sharepoint site, your sales teams typically will download it and store it on their personal device.  They may not frequently check for updates, or they will modify it for their own uses and the rest of your sales people will miss out on shared intelligence.
  3. Battle cards do not scale well, particularly in highly competitive industries.  If your company has as few as 10 competitors, each with as few as 3 products that can compete in multiple industries, you are creating a lot of battle cards.  Now go and manage and maintain them.
  4. There is no built-in feedback mechanism on battle cards.  A sales person cannot easily attach feedback or new information to a battle card.  Sure, they can e-mail the person who created the card, but that e-mail is difficult to track to ensure that the battle card is updated and shared with the rest of the sale field.

What you need instead is a battle system. A battle system is something that allows sales teams to get customized information based on the particular competitors or products that they are facing in each different deal they are handling.  It allows them to see what information has been useful to other sales people and to have attached discussions, feedback, and expansion points on the data.  It allows them to be sure that they are getting the latest information, from a single easy-to-find location.  Perhaps it even delivers all their competitive information right inside Salesforce.com.  It also allows the content creators to track usage of their content and to know which pieces of it are working and which are not.  A battle system replaces a battle card which typically is limited to the information that fits on a single slide, and provides a set of complete competitive data that can be viewed in a single screen—competitive profiles, product and service overviews, sales strategy, pricing, and dynamic product comparisons–all linked to other resources and ways to get help.

This is one of the reasons why we developed the Compelligence System.   In our experience working with sales teams and competitive teams, we saw lots of hours spent on customizing battle cards, competitive playbooks, product comparisons, and other content.  It’s an inefficient way to work, so we built something better:  a battle system that enables companies to compete more effectively and to win deals faster.

So next time you are making or reading a battle card, a how-to-sell document, a product comparison, or something like that—ask your self if there’s a better way to do your job, a more effective way to make it work, or a smoother way to scale your solution.  Then feel free to contact us and let us show you a better way!

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