Enabling Product Teams With Competitive Intelligence and Earning a Strategic Voice at the Leadership Table | Fiona Finn, Unbounce

The Sparknotes

Product teams are hungry for competitive intelligence

“I did a bit of a search to see who are the most engaged viewers in the organization. Of the seven most engaged individuals, I think five were within our product management team”

Sales is the gateway to competitive enablement success because of the opportunities to strike a quick, tangible win.

But every single function in the organization can benefit from competitive intelligence. Fiona Finn, Director of Product Marketing at jane.app, has seen first hand how product teams crave competitive intelligence.

Product teams need insightful competitive intelligence to help differentiate from the competition.

With the intel, product teams can start to think about their differentiation strategy in the ideation and discovery phases.

Early engagement in the process is essential, Fiona adds. Her team is “embedded from the start.”

There’s nothing worse than fumbling your differentiation strategy when you’re already 60-70% of the way through building a product.

Mapping competitive intelligence priorities to broader organizational goals increases leadership buy-in

A really good exercise I’ve done a few times is to survey your leadership team on their top priorities in relation to the competitive landscape…and then with those findings, prioritizing your program to start checking off those priorities one by one. So that they are bought into it.”

In a perfect world, your senior leadership team would intimately understand the value of your competitive program, and resource it accordingly. 

In reality, it will take some serious proof, strategizing and persistence to not only get a seat at the table but keep it as well. 

Fiona recommends creating easy-to-consume matrix and landscape views of what the competitive landscape looks like. Then, build of off that by highlighting two or three really clear differentiation possibilities based on your findings.

You should also consider that each member of the leadership team has slightly different needs and priorities. You’ll need to address as many priorities as possible to get broad organizational buy-in:

 Make real connections with stakeholders to boost organizational buy-in beyond leadership

“I like to start on the ground by talking to people who are going to benefit most…make real connections and have some one-on-ones with trusted sales reps, people in revenue who look at churn metrics or win-loss every day and get a sense of where they need your help.” 

Whether you’re building a competitive enablement program from scratch or picking up where someone left off, you should always be working on developing strategic relationships with colleagues.

Even in organizations where competitive culture is already ingrained, the more you can demonstrate your value to cross-functional partners, the easier your life will be.

Engaging with these partners lets you truly understand the nuances of their pain points. It will also allow you to plan your program roll-out accordingly.

And once you start delivering on your promises and providing that great competitive enablement, these partners will want your help again and again.

This creates a positive feedback loop that will serve to strengthen your competitive program and the organization at large.

Listen to the episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts

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