What is Competitive Intelligence?
Competitive intelligence is defined as data-driven insight into the competitive landscape of your target market. Consequently, it breaks down where your competitors are and where they’re headed. Furthermore, it’s an essential skill for product professionals to develop to position a product effectively.
Broadly, competitive intelligence is used to assess trends in the target market, identify competitors, and evaluate their products and positioning. However, this analysis provides a key opportunity to gain an edge in an already crowded market.
Why do you need competitive intelligence?
Competitive intelligence, in essence, builds the core foundation in positioning your product. Consequently, it shapes how you view your products by assessing competitors’ capabilities, roadmap, and positioning.
Without competitive intelligence, you lack the insight to understand your target market and, in turn, align your product appropriately.
Understanding your competitors helps you assess your product’s strengths and weaknesses. It gives product managers and teams the insight you need to focus on the most valuable aspects of product development.
- “Knowing your enemy” is a powerful positioning tool.
- Identifying market trends keeps you ahead of the curve.
- Competitor weakness is your strength.
What are some key competitive intelligence metrics?
Let’s get into the specifics. Typically, you’ll assess a competitor using as much quantifiable data as possible. Data can be collected from a wide range of sources – like competitor websites, Google, and CrunchBase. Gathering the right information and conducting an effective competitor analysis is crucial.
There are several core areas where your product team should focus your efforts. These are the most valuable metrics to assess the competitive landscape and develop a deep understanding of your competitors’ capabilities.
Product Function & Roadmap
Assessing your competitors’ product capabilities provides a clear opportunity to target weak points. Moreover, it also allows you to formulate a game plan based on your competitors’ upcoming product releases and future development.
If you can assess competitor successes and failures – current and projected – you’ll stay ahead of the curve in developing your own products. You’ll be able to prioritize features or services that outperform your competitors.
Gathering competitive intelligence on pricing is also key. You want to ensure that your pricing is aligned with the industry standard and that it accounts for any additional features or edge your product might have over others.
Financial Statements & Revenue
Painting a clear portrait of your competitor’s revenue model and financial wellness is paramount. Therefore, assessing competitors’ financials can help you clarify their products’ success (and potential).
Insight into your competitors’ funding is also crucial. When was their last round of funding? How much did they raise? Are they gearing up for another round? Furthermore, assessing funding, current revenue, and financial models will give you clear insight into how well your competitors are doing.
Customer Success & Use Cases
Gathering intelligence on existing customers of your competitors can be exceptionally useful. How are competitors’ customers utilizing the product? What areas are they succeeding in? Are there any areas where your competitors’ solutions may not match a customer’s needs?
What are some questions you can ask?
As crucial as analyzing competing products, analyzing your own product should be a deep dive into your value propositions against your competitors. For example, a few key questions you should ask yourself when assessing the value of your product and your placement in the market:
- What sets our product apart from competitors? What is our unique value proposition?
- Where is our product lacking, compared to competitors?
- Is there a pain point in the market that no existing company addresses? Can my team implement a solution?
Above all, asking yourself these questions ensures that you cover all your bases. You’ll have a better sense of where your product sits compared to your competitors, what your strong points are, and where you see opportunities to improve.
Utilizing Competitive Intelligence to Drive Sales
To conclude, the key takeaway from building competitive intelligence is utilizing data to understand your target market and ultimately model a better product that drives more sales. For example, to best improve drive sales, ensure that alongside your analysis, you:
- Search for gaps in the market.
- Position your products to stand out against the crowd.
- Refine and reassess your products.
Lastly, this provides your product team with the best opportunities to position your product and drive sales.