Keeping an eye on the dynamic competitive landscape enables a company to excel. Competitive intelligence services are helpful because they give companies an understanding of their rivals, enabling them to learn from others’ mistakes, identify tactics that work and plan their strategies accordingly. Competitive intelligence also helps a company design its pricing strategy by considering what competitors are charging. 

Competitive intelligence (CI) is worth the investment and effort, as it helps drive successful strategies and shape decisions at the organisational level. However, companies face unique challenges in gathering and implementing intelligence:

1. Establishing reliability and accuracy of data sources

Many companies find it difficult to establish the reliability and accuracy of data sources when analysing and sharing data with team members. Consistent collection of accurate data is challenging for CI teams, as it requires them to stay updated with the latest market activities and handle the collected information responsibly. 

Solution: One way to tackle this challenge is to track competitors’ offline and online digital footprints. The team may leverage the latest technology to automatically gather, prioritise and organise the updates to stay focused on the latest changes that could have an impact.

2. Getting the data in time

Collecting new data and keeping it fresh is a significant challenge. Often, the data has changed by the time the CI team receives it in their database. Sometimes, they do not get enough data in real time, while others receive only small pieces of it, making it harder to communicate it in time. 

Solution: Instead of manually collecting data, CI teams must use automated technology and real-time intelligence systems to capture competitor actions as and when they happen. Email alerts, competitor profiling and battle cards are efficient CI deliverables that help in this regard.

3. Apprehensive internal acceptance

While CI teams work hard to collect the required data, they find obtaining acceptance of colleagues in the CI programme challenging. Gaining the acceptance of the entire organisation is also a challenge most CI teams face, in addition to integrating the data into the CI services programme. Since competitive intelligence is conducted in a siloed environment, complete inclusion is often a significant challenge. Having each team member on the same page is crucial for ensuring proper use of the data gathered.

Solution: Set CI programme goals with the help of all team members. This ensures their acceptance from the very beginning and helps align the programme with each department’s priorities. Next, build a brand and incentivise the team members for their efforts.

4. Difficult data distribution

Once the company collects the relevant data in time and the team members accept it, the next challenge is distributing the data among the stakeholders. Distribution of information and engagement are challenges, and many stakeholders struggle with not having enough visibility on the company. Specifically, sharing competitive insights is a significant challenge related to distributing intel. 

Solution: The company must make its CI resources living and breathing assets and connect them with real-time data so that updating resources does not become a hassle. Besides that, the company must tailor its deliverables to the audience to ensure consumption of resources. Finally, share the data early and more frequently to see the revenue increases from CI efforts.

5. Driving action

CI services do not stop with collecting and distributing data. The company must comprehend its implications and drive the necessary action. Taking action on the data is the ultimate goal of CI, but  CI teams often struggle with this. 

Solution: After getting access to the data, the company must focus on why it is essential, what it means to its business and how the stakeholders should respond to it. Does it need to change strategy or re-evaluate the product roadmap? Finally, ensure the data reaches the right people at the right time so the team members can act on their findings appropriately.

Whether a company is starting its CI initiative or has an established CI practice, it is likely to face these challenges. Hire professional and experienced CI service providers to help you overcome these challenges and follow best practices to gain a competitive edge.

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