What is a surefire way to throw your strategic plan off track? Poorly executed market intelligence. Not having a defined plan, analysis and outcome can derail your corporate strategic initiatives. Not having a dedicated resource to own these efforts creates a disjointed view of market needs and competitive threats.

As CEO, you are responsible for driving your corporate strategic direction:

 

  • You identify objectives and goals, initiatives and timelines.
  • You identify budget allocations and expected ROIs.
  • You set revenue targets both short and long term.

     

You are placing a big bet on being a market leader with your products, services and most importantly, your people.

 

But did your market intelligence help define your strategic direction?

 

Download the Competitor Response Tool to identify at-risk revenue streams and how to respond to competitors.

 

The Right Resources and Tools Matter

 

If you answered “no” to the above, you are not alone. As the CEO, you must enable the right resources to conduct the research and analysis that help drive the strategy. You are responsible for defining the objectives of the program.

 

Some questions to consider:

 

  • Do you have the right people in the right places? Specifically, do you have the resources in place to conduct the upstream and downstream market and competitive intelligence?
  • Are these resources enabled to ensure that your strategic goals are met?
  • What do these resources need to be “enabled”?
  • What is the hypothesis for your strategic direction?
  • What needs to be validated or refuted?

     

The market intelligence resources need information beyond what you can share. They need to gather intelligence from the leadership team, the field, current and prior customers in order to validate your strategy.

 

In addition, these resources require a dedicated budget to operate against. Their research will require them to seek information externally to ensure an outward-in diagnostic.

 

They will conduct discovery and monitor intelligence in five areas:

 

  • Market: current trends that are influencing buyer’s behavior
  • Customer: buyer-first business mindset (outward-in perspective); how are they educating themselves? what are their needs?
  • Competition: market position and messaging working against your company
  • Field: how is your team messaging against competition and towards buyer’s preferences
  • Corporate: strengths and weaknesses

     

 

Listen to first-hand experience on the importance of Market Intelligence. In this episode of SBI TV, Matt Sharrers and CEO of Aberdeen, Mark Osofsky, discuss measuring performance and KPIs.

 

Activating the Intelligence

 

A Market Intelligence Program has discrete goals and objectives. This program focuses resources on efforts that matter to your strategy. This program constantly monitors competitors, customers and market needs. But what do you get out of it?

 

Below is an example of a Win/Loss analysis and output that you will inform your strategic direction:

 

 

Don’t Underestimate the Value

 

As CEO, you need to be at the forefront of market conditions and what is occurring both inside and outside your company. Market intelligence provides data that inform critical decision making and board communications. A feedback loop is required to ensure that the program is constantly improving. The Program needs to define what is working well and new gaps identified.

 

Stale information, misinformation or no information can be catastrophic to an organization. Conducting intelligence as an ad hoc function or having a resource part-time dedicated is dangerous. You only need to look at BlockBuster to see the ramifications of poor intelligence enablement and activation.

 

You want to have a strategic advantage? Gathering intelligence is a full-time job. It’s a daily practice.

 

And the data cannot be hoarded. Not only does intelligence require constant monitoring to improve and refine strategic direction, it requires activation. Among many.

 

Nine Steps to Establish the Program

 

Below is the best practice outline of the 9-step process to establish or expand your Market Intelligence Program.

  1. Launch Program / Capability
  2. Define Framework
  3. Determine Sources
  4. Formalize Assessment Capability
  5. Assess Analytics Capabilities
  6. Produce Results
  7. Generation Action
  8. Create Measurement Framework
  9. Launch Advanced Features

     

Bottom-line: Enable a dedicated team to the Market Intelligence Program. Provide them with the budget, direction and voice to validate and support your strategic plan. Empower them to review market, competitive and customer data consistently. Provide them an audience with you and the entire organization to share insights. Adjust strategic direction as needed.

 

Download the Competitor Response Tool to identify at-risk revenue streams and how to respond to competitors.

 

 

Additional Content

 

Schedule a working session at SBI’s Studio.

 

Located in Dallas, TX, our facility offers state-of-the-art meeting rooms, lounge, full-service bar, and a studio used to tape our TV shows. SBI provides the location and facilitators, all at a compelling price point.

 

As a guest of The Studio, you’ll get unlimited access to SBI’s CEO, Partners, and a handpicked team of experts.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Julie Murphy

Accelerating revenue growth through improved productivity and designing marketing strategies that develop quality prospects who become loyal customers.

Julie is a change agent. She has repeatedly proven she can build successful business development and sales organizations. Sales excellence is her passion. Across multiple organizations, Julie has instituted best practices, deployed key performance indicators, and developed strategic growth initiatives. Her specialties include: revenue generation, short and long-term business strategies, sales operations, sales enablement, business development, marketing automation, and operational excellence.

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