Companies have begun to realize the importance of tapping external data sources for customer intelligence, competitive intelligence, and market intelligence purposes. Intellizence, a leading AI platform that delivers timely and relevant intelligence from external data sources, identifies the top 7 external data sources listed below.
News is the primary source of information to find intelligence about customers and competitors and industry trends and issues. Specifically, business newspapers are better sources than general newspapers regarding signal quality and coverage. Some popular business newspapers are Bloomberg, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, The Business Journals, and Financial Times. Some of the news sources are industry sector-specific like Techcrunch focuses on the technology sector, and some of them are geography-specific, like The Globe and Mail in Canada. Typically, newspapers cover news about popular companies, significant events like mergers & acquisitions (M&A), funding, and trending topics. News is the best source for negative news, risk signals, and adverse events like layoffs and cost-cutting.
Companies often make critical announcements through press releases – some through press wires and some on the company websites under the ‘press releases,’ ‘newsroom’ section. Press Releases are the best source for signals like a partnership, business expansion, C-level changes, and customer acquisition. Companies rarely publish press releases for adverse events.
Regulatory filings by customers and competitors are a valuable source for customer and competitive intelligence. Companies periodically file information about their businesses with various federal and state regulatory agencies. These are available in the public domain and can be accessed by anyone. Sometimes payment or subscription is required to access the filings. These filings provide valuable information like financials, shareholding changes, patent filings, and regulatory investigations. Some of the popular regulatory filings sites where you can find the intelligence about customers and competitors are:
- SEC filing for US public companies
- SEDAR for Canadian public companies
- WARN filings for major layoffs and plant closures
- USPTO for patent and trademark filings
- US FDA for Drug, Vaccines, and Medical Devices approvals and
- Recall Databases
Blogs are typically written for SEO marketing purposes and are more often noise than signal. However, the blogs published by engineering and product teams are an excellent source of signals like product launches as they announce new product features and releases through blogs. The blogs posted by competitors can provide valuable insight into the business focus areas.
Suggesting to Read: Why Sales & Customer Success Teams Need Better Customer Intelligence
Social media is an excellent source of information to gather intelligence about customers, competitors, and industry trends. Companies often broadcast information about their strategies through posts that include links to their press releases, blogs, news coverage, and thought leadership content.
Earnings Call & Transcripts
Earning calls and transcripts of the recordings are excellent sources of information for customer intelligence and competitor intelligence, especially if the customers or competitors are public companies. The top leadership team of companies typically discusses forecasts and outlook, tailwinds, and headwinds for the next quarter that would impact their business. A lot of valuable intelligence, like areas of expansion, restructuring, and growing business divisions, can be discovered from such earnings calls and transcripts of the call recordings.
Companies’ job postings are an excellent source of customer intelligence and competitive intelligence. Analysis of job postings would provide valuable information like the type of roles the customers and competitors are hiring, expansion locations, technology focus, and many more.
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While there are different types of external data sources available, often, they are unstructured and scattered. Discovering relevant intelligence ( signals from noise) takes significant manual effort and time, resulting in lost revenue opportunities and increased risk.
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