As a Product Marketing Manager responsible for competitive intelligence for your team, how much time should you spend on it and how can you find time...
Real-Time Competitive Intelligence: When Timing is Everything
Some things can’t wait. Feel the thrill as you uncover real-time competitor intelligence. Here’s what you need to know immediately, plus how to find it.
Competitive intelligence is vital to any business. It provides a window into what your competitors are doing so that you can shift your own strategy to keep pace.
How quickly after your competitor makes a move do you need to know about it? Often it’s never too soon.
Real-time competitive intelligence can provide your business with the ability to take quick action to make sure you’re coming out on top.
Read on to find out about the areas of competitive intelligence where timeliness matters most. We’ll cover the types of competitive intelligence for both sales and marketing, where to find the most insights, and how to gather them in real time.
What Can You Accomplish with Real-Time Competitive Intelligence?
To illustrate the importance of real-time competitive intelligence, let’s imagine this common scenario.
Your company provides project management software, typically to tech startups. A common pain point for your clients is that managing projects involving multiple teams can be a real nightmare. Needless to say, this is a problem your product team is working hard to solve.
Next thing you know, your main competitor launches a nifty new feature called Multi-Team Collaboration Dashboard. It allows users to have a unified view of all to-dos, deadlines, and resources across teams, so that coordinating complex projects becomes a stroll in the park.
What are your options in this situation? That all depends on when you find out about it.
Armed with real-time competitive intelligence tools, you can react instantly.
You could start by sending an email campaign to your leads as well as to your existing client base.
The emails provide an overview of your multi-team collaboration features; include a direct comparison with your competitor’s new feature, and point out why your solution is better. You can even offer a free demo or webinar on how to make the most of your product for seamless multi-team collaboration.
Hot on your competitor’s heels, you’ll have time to update your website content, product brochures, or other marketing assets to better highlight your platform’s multi-team coordination potential.
That’s the importance of real-time competitive intelligence. If you’re not in the loop, by the time you’re reacting to your competitors, it might be too late.
The Top 5 Types of Real-Time Competitive Intelligence for Sales Enablement
Not all information about your competition is necessarily urgent. But some of it surely is. In order to help your sales team drive more revenue, aim to have to these five key types of insights about your competitors’ moves instantly available:
Product Releases and Updates
Accurate, timely knowledge of your rivals’ latest offerings can help you position your own product so as to close any gaps for your leads.
If, as in the example above, a competitor comes up with a new feature that addresses a well-known pain point in your industry, real-time competitive intelligence allows you to reboot your sales pitches and marketing efforts in a flash.
This way, you can win over prospects before they can even consider the rival product.
Pricing Plans and Packages
It pays to monitor your competitors’ pricing strategies closely. Real-time awareness of any changes in their pricing models, discounts, or bundling enables you to respond with your own pricing adjustments or promotions in order to retain clients or win prospects who might be swayed by a rival’s offer.
Customer Reviews and Feedback
What a difference a day makes when it comes to customer reviews of the competition! Real-time insights into customer satisfaction, or rather, the lack of it, can pinpoint areas where your product can shine. And you can act on these insights instantly to make sure no disgruntled customer of your rival is left behind.
For example, if a sudden surge in negative reviews for a competing product reveals a recent software bug, you can proactively address any concerns about similar issues with your own product, or highlight its superior reliability. Win more deals while also demonstrating your commitment to quality.
Client Wins and Losses
Keep tabs on your competitors’ client wins and losses as they happen. If a rival loses a key client, sussing it out instantly gives your sales team the opportunity to pounce with a killer pitch, and convert the client into one of your own.
Or, if your competitor secures a lucrative account, learning about it gives you time to analyze why they won the deal, and to adapt your sales strategy, messaging, or product positioning accordingly, so you can haul in similar high-profile clients in the future.
Partnerships and Integrations
In the SaaS industry as elsewhere, partnerships and alliances are in constant flux. It makes sense to follow them closely, so you don’t miss an opportunity for collaboration or integrations that could enhance your product’s appeal.
Your rival’s productivity platform now integrates with X calendar app, Y whiteboard tool, and Z AI assistant? Hop on the bandwagon quickly, or find alternative power-ups to stay in the game!
The Top 3 Types of Real-Time Competitive Intelligence for Marketers
Sales Enablement isn’t the only area of your business to benefit from real-time competitive intelligence. For Product Marketing Managers, a variety of Competitive Intelligence insights can help boost your marketing team’s efficiency. Here’s the shortlist of three types of intel where time is of the essence.
Competitor Content and Messaging
Your competitors’ content marketing strategy, brand messaging, and product positioning may change overnight (possibly based on their own real-time CI, but that’s another story).
Closely monitoring these changes, whether major overhauls or tiny adjustments, helps your marketing team to understand how competitors address customer pain points.
Real-time competitive insights into your rivals’ marketing efforts can inform your content creation on the fly. They can help you finetune your brand voice so it resonates with the audience you share, while also maintaining your unique style.
Ad Campaign Performance
Keep track of your competitors’ online ad campaigns to see which keywords, channels, and ad creatives work best for them. Timely information on ad performance enables your marketing team to quickly adjust their own ad strategies and allocate budgets more effectively.
For instance, if an ad campaign for a competing SaaS solution is getting heaps of clicks on a popular industry news site, you can adjust your ad creatives and bid for similar placements on the same website, in order to maximize your campaign’s visibility and reach.
Social Media Activity
How are your rivals faring on social media? Which platforms, tools, formats work best for them? Watch them closely, and never miss an opportunity to cash in on your intel.
Let’s say you specialize in mental health and well-being. You sell an app that helps neurodiverse professionals cope with workplace stress. Your closest competitor creates a video campaign on Instagram titled “Stories of Resilience.” It’s short, powerful testimonials of professionals who’ve overcome mental health challenges using their software. Thanks to the profound emotional impact of the videos, the campaign goes viral overnight.
Real-time competitive intelligence about the viral content enables your marketing team to analyze the factors of its success, and come up with their own take on this form of storytelling—fast. By emulating the competitor’s choice of platform, format, and timing, your campaign has every chance of driving similar engagement while the topic is trending.
Where to Find Competitive Intelligence Insights
For staying up to date in the CI categories listed above, these are your go-to sources of information:
- This might seem like a no-brainer: follow your competitors’ LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook accounts for news about their latest releases, client wins, partnerships, and integrations. The LinkedIn profiles of key employees may be particularly valuable sources of such information.
- Track your rivals’ engagement metrics on the social media platforms themselves, or using social media monitoring tools like Semrush Social Media.
- Join LinkedIn or Facebook groups in your industry to take away key insights about market trends and news.
- Monitor user groups and forums relevant to your industry on LinkedIn or Reddit, where customers discuss their experiences of using competitors’ products and share feedback or reviews.
Competitor Websites and Newsletters
- Check your main competitors’ websites for product updates or feature release notes.
- Subscribe to their newsletters and add their blogs to your RSS feed to be familiar with their content strategy and messaging.
- Watch the Pricing page (if applicable). Stay aware of any changes in their pricing strategy like limited offers or seasonal promotions.
- Browse the News section for press releases about partnerships, integrations, or collaborations.
Industry Blogs and News Sites
Industry publications can be treasure troves of competitive intelligence, provided that you find the most relevant ones. Start with the big hubs like TechCrunch or SaaStr, then narrow your search to focus on your niche. Look for:
- Breaking news in the industry as well as in-depth analysis of emerging market trends
- Reviews of competitors’ product updates
- Reports on major client shifts in the industry
- Partnership announcements within the SaaS space.
Forums, Communities, Discussion Boards
Some SaaS companies maintain support communities where users report issues and share feedback. Your competitors may be among them. Be sure to check these forums for true nuggets of competitive intelligence on customer satisfaction, any pain points, and how they are addressed.
Look to industry-specific discussion boards for authentic customer insights on competitors’ products, pricing, and promotions.
Platforms like G2, Capterra, TrustRadius, and GetApp are valuable sources of competitive intelligence. Check them for user reviews and recommendations. See what users are saying about your competitors’ products, and whether they mention switching from one product to another.
Online Ad Platforms
Use Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and LinkedIn Ads to compare your competitors’ ad creatives and performance to your own campaigns.
How to Gather and Share Competitive Intelligence In Real Time
Regularly checking the above sources of information for relevant CI insights and sharing them with your sales and marketing teams via reports or other assets is important for your company’s success. But it can also be labor-intensive and time-consuming. Make sure your approach is quick enough to identify opportunities and threats as soon as they arise.
Gathering CI manually is not your only option. Thanks to AI, the whole process can be automated. Competitive intelligence software like Kompyte monitors your competitors’ activities and updates across a range of sources, and keeps your Battlecards automatically up to date—all in real-time.
Kompyte, for one, can detect, filter, and curate your competitors’ every move as they happen. You can set up alerts and updates for Slack, Teams, or email – wherever they’ll reach you first.
Reports and Battlecards are refreshed instantly, so your sales and marketing people can hit the ground running. And if you want to tweak anything manually, the change takes effect immediately across all relevant assets.
Using real-time competitive intelligence tools, you can save hours every day to focus on your highest points of contribution and ensure you’ll never miss another opportunity to close deals and drive more revenue.