5 Questions with Craft Ventures COO Brian Murray

Partner and COO Brian Murray of Craft Ventures joined the Competitive Enablement Show to answer five burning questions about what it takes to compete and win in an economic downturn

Executives don’t have a good enough handle on the competition — it’s a huge problem

“Competitors don’t come up enough in board meetings. I think they should be coming up in every single board meeting.

Proudly claiming that you’re only focused on being successful and not the competition might make for a good soundbite — but it’s no way to run a business.

All too often companies pretending like they’re not paying attention to the competition are either too lazy to keep tabs on it or too arrogant in believing their product is unmatched.

For Brian, every successful board meeting must include an analysis of the competitive landscape and where you, and your competitors, fit within it.

Key elements of a good board meeting according to Brian Murray

Executives need to make sure that they can speak in depth about the realities that exist within their market.

Building a fleshed-out compete function, where competitive intel is continually being analyzed, curated, and deployed is one way to do this.

In fact, Brian having to manually run his competitive intelligence program in a previous role — and dealing with the inefficiencies thereof — is part of what led him towards investing in Klue.

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Competitive intel helps you respond to competitor volatility

“Your competitors can do some crazy stuff in these moments. It’s more important than ever to understand your competitive landscape. “

Brian’s seen firsthand how an uncertain economic climate sparks erratic behaviour from the competition.

With courting venture capital becoming increasingly difficult, some competitors will scramble to grab cash and close deals wherever they can.

Erratic behaviour like slashing your prices by half to stay competitive.

Instead of going tit-for-tat, your compete program can help you respond to erratic behaviour instead of reacting to it.

“Rather than stooping to that level, you might take a pause and think critically about what’s going on in this market and learning into your own competitive intelligence to figure it out.”

The right intel and competitive enablement can help you paint a picture of what your competitors are doing in deals and why they’re doing it.

The former lets you respond directly to prospects and even lay proactive landmines in your favour.

The latter can help you position your company as a stable, long-lasting force. While your competitor is grasping at straws just to stay afloat.

Which one would you rather do business with?

‍♂️ Be tech optimistic not tech skeptical ‍♂️

“The irony is that the tech sector exists to create efficiencies, but those same technologists are skeptical of new technology.”

Find ways to generate more revenue or be more efficient with what you already have.

This is the mandate of every startup on the planet, big or small.

And there’s one industry whose entire reason for being is to create efficiencies, it’s tech.

“Every piece of technology creates efficiencies that allow you do to more with less. The point of the industry is that we create code that does the same job other people do at a fraction of the cost.”

Yet Brian finds that sometimes it’s people in tech sector that are most hesitant about taking a chance on new technology.

As budgets tighten, and your tech stack gets shorter, it’s everyone’s job to cut costs while maintaining output.

The right technology does exactly that.

So maybe we should all be a bit more tech optimistic than tech skeptical.

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