Challenges in Competitive Intelligence and Best Practices to overcome them

Every task comes with its own set of challenges. Creating a competitive intelligence (CI) plan can be daunting, even for experienced CI professionals. In Crayon’s SCIP report, it was found that 95% of CI professionals struggled with at least one of the following areas –

  • Gathering all the competitive data you need on time
  • Measuring results of CI efforts
  • Separating the signal from the noise to find competitive insights
  • Driving actions across the business with CI
  • Centralizing and organizing competitive data

The most common challenge, affecting 52% of CI professionals was in gathering competitive data. Measuring CI efforts and separating signal from noise were also among the most common challenges being faced by the professionals.

Here’s a deep-dive into these challenges and how you can overcome them.

Gathering competitive data on time

With the competitive landscape constantly changing, it is imperative to stay on top as the market shifts can happen at unexpected times. Gathering CI data is a time-consuming task, but it need not be done manually. If you happen to leverage an automated tool, your CI data engine can be integrated with real-time intelligence outputs like battlecards, competitor profiles, and customized email alerts.

Measuring results of CI efforts

Around 47% of the professionals felt that measuring results of CI efforts is also one of the most common challenges among CI professionals. The SCIP report found that less than 44% of CI teams have defined key performance indicators (KPIs), while 22% do not have any defined goals or plans to set them. However, 35% said that they are in the process of setting KPIs so that they can accurately measure their efforts.

While 22% of them use qualitative KPIs and 18% use quantitative KPIs, 60% used both to keep a track of their CI efforts. Here are some of KPIs that CI professionals use –

  • Revenue or sales results, including revenue won, revenue increases, and sales influenced
  • Qualitative feedback from surveys or individually
  • Engagement on CI outputs like views and downloads
  • Market share or related metrics such as share of voice, the share of wallet, brand awareness vs. competitors
  • Customer retention or customer satisfaction
  • Accuracy of intelligence and predicting competitor’s movements
  • Win rate, or competitive win rate specifically
  • Decisions influenced and how competitive insights drive company strategies
  • Quantity of outputs and/or requests, showing the desire for more CI and effectiveness of executing on these requests
  • Awareness/understanding of changes in the market landscape

Based on your company goals, one or multiple KPIs can be chosen to measure the impact that your CI program has. However, a combination of metrics will give you a better picture of the impact of CI than one KPI alone.

Separating the signal from the noise to find competitive insights

With a sea of data available these days, it is important to differentiate what is important and what is not. So, how do you focus more on ‘signal’ rather than spending too much time focusing on the ‘noise’?

Not all changes taking place may be of importance to you. To differentiate signals from the noise of your competitor’s data, you must focus on keywords or specific insights that most useful to you. It will also be beneficial to leverage a machine learning-based or AI-based CI platform to help you automatically sort and prioritize the sea of insights that you’ve gathered regarding your competitors.

Driving action across the business with CI

One of the common challenges faced by CI professionals is that they find it difficult to drive action outside of their teams. This mostly happens as a result of not knowing how to apply competitive intelligence regularly. If you’ve recently started incorporating CI to your business, your stakeholders may not know what is to be done with the data that you’re providing them.

It is important to highlight your key findings and provide actionable steps to take when you deliver your intel to your team. After in-depth research, it is necessary to gauge how your team can apply it to their jobs. Finally, it is necessary to ensure that these insights reach the right audiences on time so that the company can accordingly act upon your findings. When the intel will be delivered to your stakeholders, you should be prepared to answer questions and help them apply those key findings to their strategies. Not only your team but also your entire organization can reap the benefits from the data that you provide to your stakeholders.

Centralizing and organizing CI data

If your team is not able to find the competitive intelligence data that you’ve worked upon, how will they leverage it? Centralizing and organizing the CI data is one of the common challenges across all organizations. It is not only important to organize your data but also storing it at one central location is crucial. It helps you connect the dots between CI data and saves time by avoiding duplication of efforts.

The key here is to one central location to host all your data for your team to access it. Be it a CRM or a third-party platform, it will help you work around the huge volume of data that you may have.


Facing a few challenges in any journey is inevitable. These were the most common challenges, but you can ease the impact by setting goals and KPIs, gathering the latest and relevant data, creating a centralized location to store data, and last but not the least, making sure your that your team is equipped with actionable insights from the CI data.

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