Battle card series (Part 1): How to create battle cards that work
Battle card series (Part 1): How to create battle cards that work
This article is the first of a three-part video series on developing winning battle cards. We’ll walk you through how to create, update, and drive adoption of your battle cards. In this post, we’ll dive into how you can generate battle cards from scratch and how to tailor them to the right audience and use cases.
What is a battle card and why are they important
Most of you have heard or seen the term battle card. For those of you that are new, a battle card is a tool that salespeople use to win competitive sales deals. These tools are a staple for sales teams. They have become increasingly important as competition across markets and industries becomes tight. Companies that use to stand alone are now competing with direct, indirect, and emerging technologies that are fighting not only for customers but the airspace to talk about their products and services. Battle cards are more than a one-page sheet or pdf with a list of bullet points. They’re a roadmap for how to talk to customers in a variety of situations.
While traditionally battle cards have been used by sales teams, it’s also important to consider other internal teams that might find value in these tools. For instance, product marketers and growth marketers need to be aligned in terms of how they’re approaching prospects. If the sales team is sharing different messages from the demand gen team, the leads from marketing campaigns might not qualify. The disconnect can result in missed sales and marketing goals. As the number of competitors expands or your available solutions evolve, the most effective battle cards will equip sales reps with the information they need to respond to important questions or address customer objections through consistent, proven marketing messages.
How do you create battle cards?
Creating a battle card isn’t always as simple as it looks. There’s a ton of information out there that could be used to win a deal and even more potential formats it could be shared across. However, ask yourself the following three questions before you begin:
- Who is going to be using them?
- How are they going to be used?
- What do you want to get out of them?
The reason for each of these is to help with the direction of your battle cards. If a company has 3-5 competitors, how you create the first one will help speed up the process for the next 2-4. Additionally, depending on your audience, these “battle cards” might contain different aspects of competitor information from various external or internal sources. These sources are the building blocks for how you will build your battle cards and understanding what goes into them.
Keep in mind that the content included in your battle cards is positive or neutral in nature. What we mean by that is that it doesn’t involve tearing down or talking badly about a competitor’s people, products, or services. Focus on highlighting why your product is a better fit for their pain points.
What should you include in your battle cards?
We get this question a lot, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Not all competitor information is created equal either. However, there are some critical pieces of data we recommend including for your sales battle cards.
1. Start by identifying your competitors: You’re going to be investing much time and effort to build out battle cards. First, determine which ones you want to prioritize – direct, indirect, and emerging competitors. These will also help you in part 2 of this series, which focuses on the best practices for keeping your battle cards up to date.
2. Collect the competitor basics: Start with the company description in your own words, founding date, location, funding, key traits, number of employees. This information is straightforward and generally easy to collect on the competitor’s website, or social profiles (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). A general overview can usually be done in a matter of minutes, but don’t be fooled, this information may need to be updated more regularly than assumed.
3. Identify a competitor’s pricing and strategy: This isn’t a section full of numbers. If there are multiple products with a range of pricing – you’ll need to determine if you need a more in-depth pricing analysis. Understand the type of revenue model they have, whether it’s single purchase or subscription based, or something else entirely. Outline if they off promotions regularly. By taking notes on their revenue model you’re able to equip your sales team with the knowledge of whether they’re competing against a one-off or reoccurring event.
4. Outline the products and features: There are three parts to this and will take you considerably more time to complete than the first three sections, but is critical for any set of battle cards. Understanding your competitor’s products inside and out, how they talk about them, and how they compare to your own could make a break in a competitive situation
a. Provide a product overview– Like competitors, not all products are created equal. This section gives you the chance to share how the competition is talking about their product(s).
b. Create an “apples-to-apples” comparison chart – This chart will serve as a quick reference when customers are asking product level questions. Instead of a sales rep having to ask someone else and send a follow-up email. They’ll be able to quickly provide an honest product comparison.
c. Mention proprietary offerings – what does the competition offer that you don’t (yet?). Understand that some of these statements might be unsupported claims, or if they’re currently the only company in the industry.
5. Include an [SW]OT analysis: As an existing or new company in a market, you’ve probably already done a full SWOT analysis. The strengths and weaknesses sections should be included in the battle cards for quick reference. Salespeople and growth marketers need to understand what objections they’re going to be up against. If your team hasn’t done a SWOT or hasn’t updated one recently, now is the time.
6. Highlight kill points: The last step we recommend for your battle cards is to create a list of 3-5 kill points. These bullets are go-to content based on your companies strengths and weaknesses (yes, you read that right). Salespeople need to know that information, if they don’t know or understand their own companies weakness, they can’t speak to the situation, address objections, or explain why. Giving the sales person that information is important if you want them to compete intelligently. Pro top: Develop a sentence your sales team can use to counter each of the competitors strengths.
Our product specialist built a special video to walk you through how to create battle cards and create the top 3 outputs needed to win in competitive deals: Check out the 9-minute video now.
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