I was thinking today on what I would recommend someone entering into a career in CI. (This applies equally to myself, as I wouldn’t hold myself up to guru status just yet!)
There’s plenty of detail one could focus on. For me though it boils down to three key skills areas that will ensure any CI practitioners success.
- Getting people’s attention
- Being right (or accurate)
- Being memorable
So in order to be memorable I’ve taken these and rolled them into the three A’s below. My “Three A’s of Competitive Intelligence”. Memorable already?
1. Analysis: You’re being employed to be accurate. To spot trends, to know what your competitors are doing and saying in the market. For this reason alone it pays to continually update your arsenal of competitive (and non-competitive) analysis tools. If I see another SWOT analysis in an internal document, I may just scream.I’m sure your audiences feel the same. Mix things up and go for deeper, more insightful analytic tools to craft your message.
2. Articulate: Speaking of messages, what you say and write will be THE key differentiator you will have over all of the other armchair or part time CI specialists in your company. You know, the ones who see an announcement from a competitor first and just fire it out over email or post to an internal forum. Usually these are accompanied by “we must do something!” Your ability to take analysis and craft it into something that is understood, remembered and can drive action is what differentiates you from the rabble.
3. Attitude: Attitude is that X factor that you don’t have to be born with. When you present to an audience or send an email – particularly in a sales focused CI role – your audience wants you to be as passionate about helping them win deals as they are about making their numbers. Your enthusiasm, empathy and responsiveness is what creates a memorable experience and increases your authority.
I plan to write more in the coming weeks regarding these hard and soft skills. In particular, some of the resources you can use to increase your exposure and competency in new skills. In all honesty I think they can be applied to almost any job requiring opinion and data. I’ll put more of a CI spin on them, however, and try to add some anecdotal evidence as to why I believe these three A’s are the solid foundation that great CI is based on.