Recently we discussed the importance of developing a competitive analysis specifically for customer-facing teams. Today, I’m going to provide tips for sharing competitive information with these teams.
Make Use of Existing Training Regimes
You don’t need to create a separate meeting to disperse competitive information. Depending on teams’ geographic distribution, you can make use of planned on-site meetings, conference calls, or other formats favored by your organization.
Small organizations typically rely on face-to-face meetings to cover the competitive landscapes. Large organizations often must rely on other more removed formats. No matter how the information is initially shared, it should be posted behind a firewall protected marketing intranet site. Or, use of another secure central repository. This allows the ongoing training of new team members.
Before anything is shared with employees, have your legal team review the competitive information to minimize legal risk. The truth is, no matter how you guard the information inevitably it will make its way into the market.
Be sure to reinforce to employees that the information shared is for internal use only. It should not be shared with anyone outside the company.
Presenting the Information
It’s wise to co-present competitive information to teams with a cross-functional team member. This person can enhance understanding by sharing anecdotes that give the information value and context.
A Final Word about the Competitive Information
If you are sharing only a point-in-time competitive analysis, make sure this information in your analysis is updated at least annually.
Capturing Near Real-Time Market Info
It is virtually impossible to capture competitive information in real time. However, it is possible to acquire information in near real-time. To do this, you’ll need to develop a cross-functional market intelligence system.
Contact leaders in all company teams that interact with clients directly. Have these individuals agree to a format for sharing intelligence with product management. The format should be short and easy to use by both the team leader and product management.
As information flows in, product management needs to analyze it and share updates with all parties involved. By sharing the information to the group, you reinforce the value of the system. Ultimately, it helps customer-facing teams gain fresh knowledge that can improve results in the field.
Talk to your senior management about establishing an incentive system that will encourage leaders to share information. Once sharing information becomes expected practice, you will be well on your way to gaining a near real-time view of your market.