I have a folder in Feedreader (yes I am a fat-client Luddite) tagged “CI Heroes”. This is where I have a very few selected CI vendors and practitioners who are pushing the envelope in attaching value and revenue contribution to Intelligence work, be it Market, Competitive or Sales Intelligence.
Primary Intelligence is one of my CI Heroes. Focused on Sales Intelligence, (you know, the part of the business that makes the money and touches the customer every day) Primary Intelligence takes a rather refreshing, here and now view of the competition.
Below you’ll notice a chart from Primary Intelligence’s website showing the various stages of the customer lifecycle as seen through the eyes of the customer and the sales rep.
As a CI professional, there are specific things that you need to show your management to prove the value yourself or your team is bringing to the table.
Utilising a roadmap as the one listed above is an excellent way to do just that.
In your day-to-day business you will often be working around the areas of Market Needs, Purchase decision, Win Loss and getting feedback on the Client Experience. Taking it to the next step can benefit your own practice in the following ways:
- Tagging CI deliverables to a customer opportunity or current customer allows you to attach a dollar figure to your input. While crude, this measure is extremely valuable in showing your CI Team’s reach and influence within the customer life cycle.
- Tagging your CI deliverable for a specific part of the customer life cycle. How often have you produced work that focuses on an audience or usage type, rather than a specific competitor? How often do your sales reps ask for you to provide information tailored to a specific customer event?
- Specialising in a specific aspect of the customer life cycle as your core CI competency. Does your company have an issue with account retention? Can your CI team focus on just the aspect of the customer life cycle that is experiencing the most pain? I know in my day-to-day role I live within the Market Needs and Purchase Decision sections of the life cycle. My CI stakeholders know myself and my team focus specifically in these areas and rarely deviate outside of that unless the customer opportunity or risk is high.
You may also want to take a look at the two blogs that Primary Intelligence hosts. One on Competitive Intelligence and another on Sales Intelligence. I really feel they “get it” with respect to CI’s sweet spot. Having a strong handle on Sales Intelligence and the customer life cycle and the longer term strategy CI work becomes much easier to justify or predict. And at the end of the day, do you want to be known as an influencer or a crystal ball gazer?