Every company is eager to find out as much as they can about the competition.
You likely monitor your rivals’ website, press releases, social media feeds, and more to get real-time information that allows you to counter-strategize. According to the 2019 State of Competitive Intelligence report by Crayon, 80% of firms devote resources to this kind of intelligence-gathering.
But only 42% of companies do regular win/loss interviews — even though talking directly to your buyers is an incredibly valuable way to learn about your competitors. Buyer interviews help you get the full, true story on why you win and lose deals, and how your buyers perceive you versus your rivals.
So how do you build a CI engine that incorporates both candid, in-depth interviews and broad market scanning?
This was the topic of a recent Eigenworks-Crayon webinar, “Why We Win or Lose: Powering Your CI With Win/Loss,” with Alex McDonnell, Client Insight Lead at Eigenworks, and Ellie Mirman, Crayon CMO.
Alex and Ellie talked about how you can use interview insights to inform what you monitor in the market, shape your positioning, equip sales teams, and more.
Win/loss analysis involves using skillful interviewing techniques to get to the heart of what your buyers are thinking and feeling. After about 20 in-depth interviews, reliable themes emerge, which you can use to sharpen your messaging and sales execution.
Using a tool like Crayon, which tracks more than 100 data types across 300 million sources, you can also monitor what your competitors are doing in regard to these specific themes. Crayon will alert you to updates in product forums, customer reviews, SEC filings, team updates, and other changes related to your themes of interest.
The more you align the “deep digging” (buyer interviews) and “broad scanning” (software-powered intelligence-gathering), the more powerful your CI engine becomes.
Above all, effective CI is built around listening, learning, benchmarking, adjusting, and then tracking the impact of your changes. Your CI engine will have greatest traction when it includes ongoing win/loss analysis — even if it’s just talking to a few buyers each month — rather than a one-and-done effort.
“Listening must be part of your culture,” Alex says. “In tech or B2B, we’re very comfortable in asking for KPIs and expecting answers that are quantitative in nature, like usage data or dollar value. I would argue that a well-orchestrated qualitative research program can provide signals that do a better job of indicating performance than any single number can — but this kind of listening and learning has to be part of your culture, part of a thoroughly integrated process, and coming after a good benchmark has been defined.”
“By starting somewhere and then tracking, you will get a ton of value.”