I have to admit to liking the idea of Software as a Service (SaaS) quite a bit. It’s one of those things that does make a lot of sense, particularly for smaller companies and departments that don’t want a large IT overhead to stall growth.
I also think the idea of modular software (hell, modular anything! I was a bit of a Lego freak when I was young) is something we’ll continue to see more and more of as individuals seek to leverage ubiquitous data sources.
Salesforce.com’s Appexchange offers users a plethora of add-ons that leverage traditional CRM data. All the facets of the sales and marketing (and even HR) are represented. However there is a glaring omission currently and one that I believe would make an awesome add-on for any lone-wolf or small team CI practitioners.
A Competitive Intelligence module!
Now there is sales intelligence modules that capture or rather tie together company information to the leads process. That’s all well and good and gives sales reps plenty to digest before going into an account. But what about good account planning and competitive insight? Things I would love to see, and would use and promote to the field.
- Competitor press and analyst activity tied to lead generation or install base information. (This is the baseline, “what’s going on stuff”).
- A section for sales reps (with the help of the CI team/individual) to fill out competitive IT/Services footprint. (If you know what else is in the account, CI can stop doing head-to head attacks – start thinking about flanking strategies).
- Some funky tracking tools (dare I say a dashboard) to measure competitive activity seen within prospective leads/install base. (Hey why is competitor X all of a sudden being more aggressive, less aggressive – what can be investigated)
- Rudimentary Win-Loss. (I say rudimentary as Win-Loss analysis is a much more complex beast and can go to the heart of your sales procedures, rather than price or features).
- All the content/collaboration tools you could throw a stick at. (A sales rep flags competitor X in an account, flags you to make you aware or automatically generates an email covering your “best practices” regarding competing against that vendor).
All these components currently exist in the Appexchange universe. Maybe it’s time to quit my day job and learn how to code!
Seriously though, I would appreciate any reader’s comments regarding the software they use on a day to day basis to capture and analyse competitive inputs. I’ll write a much longer piece on the various tools I use regularly to crunch trends or get the message out to the masses.
But here’s a teaser… I dislike the use of any monolithic, stand-alone software that can only be used by me or a CI practitioner. Free the data and the analysis and let your users dictate how they will consume it.