When to Outsource Competitive Enablement

8 Warning Signs That Will Tell You It's Time

Ah, the Competitive Enablement game—it's like a 24/7 MMA fight but with more data and fewer head kicks. If you’re into research stats and whitepapers, this one says that 90% of Fortune 500 companies are using competitive intelligence.

Why? Simple—it helps their teams consistently close more deals.

But it’s common to run into some significant hurdles. Some companies choose to hire and run Competitive Enablement programs in-house, others hire outside help.

As a co-founder of Grow and Scale, an agency that collects, analyzes, and designs Competitive Enablement programs, these are the 8 most-common pain points I hear from clients:

1. There’s No Program In Place

"Competitive Enablement?” Just another corporate buzzword, right?

Yes and no—it's a relatively new department and companies are realizing that it’s valuable to have in place. Getting it started and setting it up properly might mean dedicating a person or a team. What follows are usually questions around budget and responsibilities.

And because Competitive Enablement can have such a high impact on revenue, companies are wanting to get it addressed sooner rather than later—so they look for an outside team to help.

2. Overworked Product Marketing Managers

Companies that add this to the plates of already-exhausted Product Marketing Managers (PMMs) will realize that the task is too big for a partial responsibility.

PMMs are busy with researching the market, launching products, interviewing customers, adjusting and studying future roadmaps, discovering what new features to implement and why… the list goes on and on.

Adding on a time-intensive task like Competitive Enablement is just too much.

3. Lacking Collateral Bandwidth

Collecting data is easy. There’s more data that you can process, and in many cases you can do it for free with scrapers, social listening tools, or Google alerts.

The bigger cognitive and resource load is turning the data into useful insights and creating effective collateral.

We haven’t met with a client that hasn’t had a bandwidth problem.

If it’s just creating competitive battlecards, that’s relatively easy to solve. But in many cases, enablement insights have to be directly transformed into collateral (either internal or external).

These can be slide decks, narrative stories, or account-based marketing (ABM) pitch decks, ICP reports, conference reports, product teardowns, etc.

The data by itself are just smaller Lego blocks. If you want to build a castle out of it, you have to put them together in a logical way with a plan and specific goal.

4. Outdated Intel

Stale competitive intel is the business equivalent of eating a week-old sushi.

Relying on outdated intel leads to diminishing returns. And if salespeople work with 6-month old materials, it’s only a matter of time before they stumble on inaccurate information, and lose confidence as well as their prospect’s trust.

Companies come to us because they want to always work with fresh ingredients—either through competitive newsletters or regularly updated materials.

5. Analysis Paralysis

With a myriad of competitive tools, tactics, and frameworks available, companies often freeze up and get caught in analysis paralysis. They get stuck with new information coming in and are unable to turn it into effective materials.

Combine that with already-overworked teams and shiny new tools to test out—it gets hard to maintain a Competitive Enablement program.

6. Knowledge Gaps

PMMs have PHDs in their own products, and are typically great at understanding their competitors. But building an enablement program requires additional skills.

You have to decipher which data is important, pick and track relevant metrics, and package it up so that teams want to consume it.

Well-funded, in-house CI departments do this really well. For those that are running Competitive Enablement in a part-time capacity, this is where we see things get scattered. And it’s hard to get consistent results.

7. Over-Reliance on AI

AI has found its way to nearly every tech organization. There’s no doubt that it saves a lot of time for summarizing intel. The one thing it can’t do is make predictions based on the captured knowledge or put it into context.

Proper competitive intel fits the company's narrative, values, and has been fact-checked by people who have the expertise in the field already. And AI can’t be trusted at this level of depth (yet).

8. No Budget

Last but not least, a dedicated and skilled team is oftentimes more affordable than hiring a single full-time employee (FTE).

In 2023, we’ve seen frozen budgets and, unfortunately, a slew of layoffs.

From Healthy Competition and Klue’s Salary Transparency Report, the average cost of a PMM and Compete is $136,700. This is the base pay without bonuses, perks, and other rewards for a job well done. And that’s for just one person.

The cost of a team of experts that does the collection, analysis, tracking, and producing of on-brand content for immediate use is around that price mark, or even lower.

That’s a manager, analyst, researcher, copywriter and a designer that spends more hours on a competitor, can watch more webinars and product launches, and prepare and deliver more insights than a single person.

Dejan Gajsek is a Co-Founder at Grow and Scale, a Competitive Enablement service for B2B tech companies who want to win more deals through tailored competitive enablement programs

P.S. If you liked this, consider listening to the Healthy Competition podcast or joining the community!