A lot of the time, competitive intelligence professionals deal with qualitative insights. Why you lose, how you win, what type of threat a competitor poses, is the threat growing or decreasing – questions like these are all incredibly important to track and react to.

However, when you’re asked to justify your decisions and explain what’s behind them, you need to show that they’re based on more than just your gut feeling. Sometimes you need to make these insights quantifiable as actual, number-based data. When you’re in this situation, creating a weighted competitor scorecard framework can really help.

Weighted scorecards are a project management tool commonly used for prioritizing decisions or actions.


Use cases for a competitor scorecard

  • You’re establishing a new CI function and need to understand the threat landscape and prioritize efforts accordingly to create a competitive advantage.
  • You’re managing an existing CI function and need to keep track of the market landscape and evaluate competitors’ rankings periodically and/or over time.
  • A new competitor comes up and you need to rank it against others.
  • You need to report your top competitors to company executives.

Benefits of the competitor scorecard

  • Assigns quantitative value to your qualitative insights.
  • Assists in prioritizing CI efforts and resources.
  • Helps you provide visibility to executives and other stakeholders regarding the competitive landscape.
  • Enables you to observe trends over time (and determine whether the threat is growing/decreasing).

Use a Competitive Gap Analysis to Blast Past Competitors
A competitive gap analysis compares the results you’re actually getting with the results you expected to get, taking into account the overall competitive landscape.

How to create a competitive scorecard

Here’s a step-by-step guide to building your own competitive analysis framework using scorecards.

Step 1: List your competitors

The first thing to do is to make a list of the competitors you want to evaluate and create a competitor profile for each of them.

Step 2: Select relevant criteria for evaluation

Select five to seven criteria that say something about the impact of threat your competitors pose to your organization. This will be the basis for the scoring system. These can be things like:

  • Overlap of features between your product and your competitors.
  • Each competitor’s maturity as a company (their resources and financial strength).
  • Position in analyst reports (Gartner, Forrester).
  • Amount of wins and losses...

…and many more.

Make sure you limit your criteria to seven or eight at a maximum so you have flexibility in assigning weight values according to importance, and so the weights have significance in the total score.

Step 3: Break down each criterion and assign a numerical value of 1 to 5 to qualitative insights

Each criterion needs to be assigned values for the scoring system, but how do you score a company’s maturity or their position in analyst reports? You will first have to “translate” the qualitative insights into numerical values to get a unified scoring system. Break down each criterion into 6 scenarios, representing scores from 0 to 5, and decide on the score for each scenario.

For instance, in order to translate a competitor’s position in analyst reports:

  • If the competitor didn’t get a mention in analyst reports = 0.
  • If the competitor was positioned as Niche = 1.
  • If the competitor was positioned as Visionary = 2.
  • If the competitor was positioned as Challenger = 3.
  • If the competitor was positioned as Leader = 4.
  • If the competitor is a consecutive Leader in these reports = 5.

Wins and losses are a bit easier if you’re looking at the number of opportunities you won or lost. This is a straightforward example, but you might want to consider adjusting the scale according to your sales volume.

  • If you won/lost to the competitor 0 times in the past 30 days = 0.
  • If you won/lost to the competitor 1 time in the past 30 days = 1.
  • If you won/lost to the competitor 2 times in the past 30 days = 2.
  • If you won/lost to the competitor 3 times in the past 30 days = 3.
  • If you won/lost to the competitor 4 times in the past 30 days = 4.
  • If you won/lost to the competitor 5 times in the past 30 days = 5.

Step 4: Assign weight values to your criteria

Not all the criteria you selected carry the same importance in the overall threat score. For instance, it’s more significant when you lose an actual opportunity to a competitor than when a competitor is mentioned in the news.

If the total score is 100%, you need to decide how much each of the criteria is worth in terms of importance out of the entire score, or what its weight is in the total score. For example:

  • Feature overlap: 10%.
  • Position in analyst reports: 15%.
  • Wins: 25% (Note: Wins need to be given a negative value in the table, because they benefit your organization and have a negative impact on the threat level – meaning, they reduce the threat).
  • Losses: 40%.
  • Company maturity: 10%.

Step 5: Create your spreadsheet and calculate the scores

Don’t want to build one of these yourself? Make a copy of our competitor scorecard template here.

Score each criterion with a value of 1 to 5, according to the breakdown you decided on in Step 3.

Feature overlapAnalyst reportsWinsLossesCompany maturity
Competitor 115-434
Competitor 244-153
Competitor 342-345
Competitor 431-332

Now that you’ve scored each competitor, you’ll want to multiply each score by the weight, and then calculate the total score average for each competitor, like this:

Feature overlapAnalyst reportsWinsLossesCompany maturityTotal score(Average * 100)
Competitor 11 * 0.1 = 0.15 * 0.15 = 0.75-4 * 0.25 = -13 * 0.4 = 1.24 * 0.1 = 0.40.29 * 100 = 29
Competitor 24 * 0.1 = 0.44 * 0.15 = 0.6-1 * 0.25 = -0.255 * 0.4 = 23 * 0.1 = 0.30.61 * 100 = 61
Competitor 34 * 0.1 = 0.42 * 0.15 = 0.3-3 * 0.25 = -0.754 * 0.4 = 1.65 * 0.1 = 0.50.41 * 100 = 41
Competitor 43 * 0.1 = 0.31 * 0.15 = 0.15-3 * 0.25 = -0.753 * 0.4 = 1.22 * 0.1 = 0.20.22 * 100 = 22

After you’ve completed the calculations, you’ll be able to see the ranking of competitors. In this case, Competitor 3 got the highest score, therefore it is the top competitor. The ranking would be:

  1. Competitor 2 - biggest threat.
  2. Competitor 3.
  3. Competitor 1.
  4. Competitor 4.

What’s great about these scorecards is the numbers-based methodology for ranking and analyzing your competitors, rather than relying on verbal insights or your gut. Now you can put any new competitor into this framework and rank their threat level against others’.

Do this evaluation once a month for a recurring snapshot and trend over time, and keep track of the trailing 12-month score for a more complete picture.

Good luck!


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