The best competitive intelligence strategies are built on a solid foundation that includes three levels: 1) the plan, 2) tactics and 3) actions that will help you achieve your objective. But to do that you’ll need to focus on the right things at each step in the process. Below we explore what each level will require from your competitive intelligence team:
Level 1 – The Plan
As you begin building your competitive intelligence strategy, you need to create a map or plan that includes your objectives and challenges. But to get there, you’ll first need the right data.
Challenges – The first bit of data you’ll need is information about the unique challenges your law firm faces in the marketplace. What specific obstacles are harming you or preventing your firm from reaching your objectives? Take a bird’s-eye-view of the legal industry using competitive intelligence tools such as Leopard Hot Spot and get an overview of challenges and problems on the horizon. Now try to ascertain which of these obstacles pose a real threat to you.
Advantages/Disadvantages – The second piece of information you’ll need is data about how your law firm is uniquely positioned in the marketplace to overcome (or be overcome by) these current marketplace challenges. Are you the only player in the marketplace with this dilemma or advantage? How are you competitors positioned? Use competitive intelligence tools such as Leopard Firmscape to investigate your most important competitors and find out how they’re handling the current challenges in the industry.
Solutions – Using data on competitors and the overall state of the legal industry, try to determine what solutions are most viable for you. If competing law firms are using specific tools to overcome problems, is it plausible that you can emulate them successfully? If so, you may have exactly what you need to begin crafting a smart strategy that will help you reach your goals.
Level 2 – Tactics
After determining your destination, you’ll need to develop effective tactics than can get you there. Using competitive intelligence tools such as Law Firm Profiles, take a look at the law firms who are reaching similar goals and try to determine how they’re doing it. Are they using tactics that are well-suited for your law firm’s capabilities? If so, you might consider integrating those tactics into your own arsenal.
As you develop your tactics, remember that you’ll need to determine their real world effectiveness. To do that, set aside a specific period of time for testing the tactics and develop standards that you can measure effectiveness against. For example, if increasing revenue is one of the objectives you developed in the level 1 process you might pick a specific dollar amount as the measurement of how effective your revenue increasing tactics are in the real world.
Level 3 – Actions
Determining the effectiveness of your competitive intelligence strategy will require that you take data gathered and tactics developed and employ them in the real world. Once you reach the ‘action’ phase, all your tactics should work on concert to help you achieve your objectives. For example, if your objective is to increase revenue and establish yourself as an expert in your legal niche, your best tactics should achieve both goals. And if you’re not getting the results you want, don’t be afraid to tweak tactics and strategy at this point.