Competitive battle cards are content pieces designed to help you win in competitive deals. And, let’s face it, most sales are competitive.
Why should you care?
If your sales team is speaking to prospects, you can be confident that your competitors are talking to them too.
Your biggest competitors may be feeding your prospects incorrect information about your product or solution. They may be highlighting product features where you are weak and feeding prospects important information that they hope they will ask you to keep you out of the deal.
In this article, we will share with you:
- Components of competitive battlecards
- Thoughts on how to research information for these cards
- A list of software tools you may want to review
Components of a standard competitive battle card
A battle card typically includes information about your service or product, pricing, competitive intelligence, unique selling points, answers to possible objections, key differentiators, and much more.
A battle card needs to include enough information about various topics to allow your sales reps to have helpful and productive conversations with potential buyers.
It’s about knowing the customer’s objections before they object. It’s also about knowing what and how that particular customer will benefit from the product or service.
The best battle cards will use the following components :
Know the market, and know the demand for your product.
Understanding the market size and demand you’re working in will help improve your sales calls’ success.
Target markets, customers, and opportunities
Know your customer, their pain points, and how your product solves them. Use this information to identify opportunities to upsell or cross-sell.
Also: learn as much about the buyer’s journal as possible. You want to identify where and when the best way to meet people on that journey occurs.
Features of the product/service
Be as specific as possible about what you’re offering. Vague sales pitches do not inspire confidence. Competitive battle cards should provide as much detail as possible about the product or service—without being overwhelming.
A salesperson may not necessarily need all the information for every call, but having it on the battle card will improve the pitch and help manage possible objections.
Tip – While we always advocate selling value over features, having access to easy-to-understand comparison charts will help your teams be more successful.
Competitive landscape, analysis, and competitive insights
This section should be a lightweight competitor overview.
- What are your competitors selling?
- How much is it?
- What’s the warranty?
- What do their products do?
This component isn’t necessarily a compare and contrast exercise. You want to gather as much information as possible and analyze it for holes you can use to arm the team with sales-ready responses.
Specific value propositions
Don’t be vague.
Consider the specific value proposition that will convince customers to buy your product or service. Remember, they have plenty of options—what value does your product provide them that they can’t get elsewhere?
Objection handling. Always a favorite for sellers.
Consider objections from people who, in the past, have gone with your competition. What was it about your competitor’s product (or service) that made the person choose your competitor?
What are the common questions that you have to be able to handle to mitigate these concerns?
Or was there somewhere in your sales process that stopped people buying from you?
Understanding objections and why they cost you business can be a great way to preempt them in the next sales call.
Pro tip: Ensure you have a feedback loop to feed these insights back to others in the organization (i.e., product leaders, sales operations and sales leaders, product marketers, etc.).
Also referred to as golden questions. Ask open-ended questions to:
- Fully uncover the needs of potential customers
- Surface hesitations and potential roadblocks in the buying process
- Identify that you are in a competitive situation and who those competitors are
- Build a game plan to educate the prospect on how you can help them overcome their challenges better than the competition
Asking these questions helps establish trust, shows the potential customer that the salesperson cares, and allows the salesperson to figure out the best product.
Benefits of the product/success story
Knowing your product has helped others can be a deciding factor in converting a new customer.
Consider what’s important to customers and incorporate case studies, potentially introduce them to existing customers who can use their own words to explain why they chose you and why it was the right decision.
Prospects want social proof, and you need to be prepared to provide it.
Differentiators may be product features, experiences that only your teams have, an amazing customer service department, or any other factors that make you different from your competitors.
What makes you unique?
Can you guide prospects to requiring those differentiators and set land mines for your competitors?
Any information not included in the first eight components
The first eight components are essential, but every sales situation is different.
What are some resources a sales rep should look to improve their win rate?
These 9 nine components provide a framework for competitive battle cards. But keep in mind that battle cards are not static. The more information and data you acquire, the more you will adapt and update your battle cards to match that latest industry data.
And it is the data that should determine what should go into your battle cards.
How do you do the research to create competitive battle cards?
Researching to create battle cards starts with knowing what you want them to contain. For this reason, knowing the nine components is the ideal place to start.
Once you have the initial battle card layout framework, you need to research your competitors and target customers thoroughly. This research will involve a lot of time digging through databases, analyst reports, reading blogs, and listening to podcasts and webinars.
It requires speaking with engineering teams, tech executives, product managers, and anyone else in the company who can help put together a comprehensive, killer battle card.
Look at using deal reviews to dig into specific opportunities you have won, lost, and understand the impact of various competitors in those situations. Where were they strong? Where were they weak?
Software for competitive battle cards
In today’s fast-paced world, static battle cards are not viable. There is a range of software options available to help you create, manage, analyze, and update dynamic competitive battle cards.
Software applications can help with the research, development, and upkeep of battle cards. Most applications have templates for different types of battle cards that create and maintain up-to-the-minute battle cards easy, practical, and scalable.
Some software applications like ones offered by CompeteIQ, Crayon, or Kompyte help with everything from the competitor analysis to streamlined research and ways to quickly notify salespeople of new information and data.
Most battle card software applications will integrate with CRMs to better flow analytics, database information, and other data to help create killer dynamic battle cards.
A key for each of them is that they:
- Provide a central location for your customer-facing teams to locate them
- They make it easy to constantly update these cards with the latest intel on a competitor’s product and solutions
- They simplify your research by making you aware of a new feature, enabling your teammates to share new intel, can pull in social media posts and updates to competitor websites, and so forth.
Competitive battle cards are critical sales tools; are you arming your teams with them?
Note, review this article to learn more about other types of enablement content.
Living Enablement as a practitioner and as a leader. I’ve seen the confusion and frustration that many practitioners live. From working in other areas of the business, I’ve also seen the genuine need for the capabilities that enablement provides.