What are competitive battle cards?

What is a battle card?

Competitive battle cards are content pieces designed to help you win competitive deals — And, let’s face it, most sales are competitive. The battlecard can be the difference between success and failure.

Your battle card, or Competitive battle cards can be the difference between success and failure.Your biggest competitors may be feeding your prospects incorrect or outdated information about your product or solution.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.

If you are not providing your sales people the necessary information, you are setting them up to fail.

In this article, we will share with you:

  • Components of an effective sales battlecard
  • Thoughts on how to research information for these battlecards
  • 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, etc.

A battlecard needs to include enough information to allow your sales reps to have helpful and productive conversations with potential buyers; while also knowing enough competitive information to avoid traps other vendors may set for you.

In a perfect world, you will know:

  • The customer’s objections before they raise them
  • The customer’s challenges and how they will benefit from the product or service
  • Pricing comparisons — while the sales should not devolve into a pricing battle, you want to know how you compare
  • Special abilities you, or your competitors, have that are relevant to this prospect

The best battle cards will use the following components:

Marketplace conditions

Before your sales teams have a single conversation, they need to have up-to-date information about your market.

  • Do conditions vary across geographic regions?
  • Are specific industries show more demand for your product than others?
  • Has the level of interest changed due to economic, social, environmental, or medical changes (e.g., covid)?

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 battlecards should provide as much detail 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 is the best way to 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.

  • Include a link to the competitor’s website.
  • What competitive sales tactics are they known to employ?
  • What are your competitors selling?
  • How much is it?
  • What’s the warranty?
  • What do their products do?
  • Why do we win against them? Do you have win stories you can include or reference?
  • Why do we lose against them? Do you have loss stories you can include or reference?

This section 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.

Unsure how to gather competitive intelligence?

Specific value propositions

Be specific, not vague, in this section of the battlecard.

What specific challenges are they trying to overcome?

How can you solve this challenge with your own product, delivering the user experience they require?

Consider the specific value proposition that will convince customers to buy your product or service for each use case and include that on your battlecard.

Remember, they have plenty of options—what value does your product provide them that they can’t get elsewhere?

Mange objections

Objection handling – a key component of your competitive battlecards.

Consider objections from people who, in the past, have gone with your competition (review those win-loss analyses). What about your competitor’s product (or service) led the person to 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., the product team and product leaders, sales enablement teams, sales operations, customer support, and sales leaders, product marketers, etc.).

Discovery questions

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 lets the salesperson figure out the best product.

Note: Are you using a framework like MEDDIC or BANT? Consider doing so if you have no such framework in place.

Benefits of the product/success story

Knowing your product has helped others can decide when converting a new customer.

Consider what’s important to customers, incorporate case studies, and 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.

Key differentiators

Differentiators may be product features, experiences that only your teams have, an excellent customer service department, or any other factors that differentiate you 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 sections

The sections above are essential for a great battlecard. But, every business operates in its own environment and may need additional information.

What resources should a sales rep look for to improve their win rate?

Remember that you must update your competitive battle cards regularly.

You will learn more from sales calls, competitors’ product releases, and your market size and overall environment change.

As you receive more data and insights, ensure you update your competitive battlecards to include the information your teams need to support prospects and customers and win in the process.

How do you research to create competitive battlecards?

Researching to create a battlecard starts with knowing what you want each to contain.

This requirement is why you want to create your battle card template based upon the sections outlined above.

Once you have the initial battle card template, you need to research your competitors and target customers thoroughly. This research will involve 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.

Software for competitive battlecards 

In today’s fast-paced world, static battle cards are not viable. A range of software options is available to help you create, manage, analyze, and update dynamic competitive battlecards.

Software applications can help with the research, development, and upkeep of battle cards. Most applications can set up a battle card template for different types of battle cards that create and maintain up-to-the-minute battle cards easy, practical, and scalable.  

Some software applications like CompeteIQCrayon, or Kompyte help with everything from competitor analysis to streamlined research and 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, pull in social media posts and updates to competitor websites, etc.

Competitive battle cards are critical sales tools; are you arming your teams with them?

A Summary

What are the components of a sales battle card?

  1. Marketplace conditions

  2. Target markets, customers, and opportunities

  3. Features of the product/service

  4. Competitive landscape, analysis, and competitive insights

  5. Specific value propositions

  6. Mange objections

  7. Discovery questions

  8. Benefits of the product/success story

  9. Key differentiators

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