In today’s cutthroat B2B market, competition is fierce. Businesses are constantly looking for ways to gain an edge.
This is especially true for sales. Teams are always on the lookout for ways to better understand their competition, and how to position their products or services to stand out. In saturated markets, this isn’t always easy – particularly if you’re a fledgling startup or SMB. The solution? Sales battlecards.
A battlecard is an incredibly powerful weapon for the modern salesperson. It equips sellers with broad, readily available information on how to handle objections, perform effective outreach, and dwarf their competition.
In fact, 71% of businesses that use them say they’ve increased their win rates as a result.
In this blog, we’ll explain what sales battlecards are, how to create them, and how they can be key deciders for your win rates.
What is a sales battlecard?
A sales battlecard is a visual aid used to compare your company’s offering with other competitors operating in the same industry. A battlecard needs to give you all the information you require in the quickest and clearest way, documenting how your company measures up in key areas such as price, performance, features, and time to delivery.
It is essentially a quick resource to help sales representatives understand how to position their offering in a competitive market. It helps you to know what weak points to strike when a prospect is considering which company to do business with.
Sales battlecards typically contain information about the following:
The competitor’s products or services: This includes a description of what the competitor offers and how it compares to your offering.
The competitor’s pricing strategy: Information on the competitor’s pricing structure, and any discounts or promotions they offer.
The competitor’s strengths and weaknesses: Assessment of their key disadvantages, such as their market position, brand awareness and customer relations.
Key value points: The key differentiators that your company has over its competitors.
Objection handling: This includes information on how to respond to common objections that prospects may raise over your products or services.
Why do I need a sales battlecard?
When used in the right way, a sales battlecard can help sales reps close deals more effectively and win against the competition. Without one, you’ll be left scrambling for a response to questions during your sales outreach. This can be a particular concern when engaging in a phone or video call.
The last thing any salesperson wants is to give false information or make up facts and numbers on the spot. This can lead to edgy customers who require more effort to manage, decreasing their lifetime value. It will likely lead to negative reviews too, as well as lost referral business and a higher churn rate.
Your battlecard will also include information on your competitors. This will allow you to demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of your industry. These typically come into play during the consideration stage of the sales pipeline – once prospects have searched for a solution to their business challenges. It’s likely they already know what they want, though they may be looking for a better idea of the price and features available from different companies.
How do I create a sales battlecard?
Creating a battlecard doesn’t have to be complicated. However, it can take some time to put together. Be prepared for this reality, especially if you want to compare what your company has to offer with that of others in your sphere.
What competitive details should you include in your battlecards? Over time, you’ll begin to learn which companies to keep tabs on — namely, the ones you have lost business to. It’s likely you’ll develop a habit of doing this, but you should also review the data your inside sales team collects, to help identify competitors. Once you’ve established a real-working battlecard for one prospect, you’ll be able to build a series of battlecard templates for yourself and others on the frontline.
Battlecards will appear differently depending on what they are intended for. If you want a battlecard that gives in-depth details and statistics on one competitor, make sure it has certain value points: How long have they been around? What’s their location? What’s the size of their company? Answer these basics, as well as an estimate on their annual revenue and number of customers.
The products and services
Product battlecards will focus on competitors’ top products and services, as well as detailing their pricing model. This overview will help you know your competition: How they solve customer pains, and how these stack up to your own. It’s also important to keep an eye on recent news and updates about these companies from their marketing team: whether they’ve announced new products, changed their corporate alignment, formed partnerships and so forth.
Competitor strengths & weaknesses
The most crucial part of any battlecard is its list of your rivals’ strengths and failings. Research their products carefully, look for technical comparisons with your own products, and read reviews. Are there issues with quality, production or function? Is their product missing features? Identify these vantage points clearly.
Being able to identify a rival’s advantages and drawbacks is only useful if you have a way to combat them. Be sure to tailor your sales messaging to shine a light on your own benefits, in relation to theirs. Calling out a faulty competitor product only works when you can present the solution.
You’ll also need to have a response ready for when a target customer brings up a peer who has a known advantage. In addition, when pointing out the weakness of a competitor, make sure you have the facts to back up these claims. We advise using relevant case studies as well as customer reviews.
I’ve created my battlecards. What’s next?
Like ideal customer profiles and buyer personas, building battlecards isn’t a one-and-done process. They need to be updated regularly to reflect changes in the market. A new competitor may spring up, or one of your rivals may revise features on their key products. This could seriously impact your sales pitch if you try to target a part of their offering that is no longer relevant.
To make sure your battlecards are up to date, they should be reviewed every month. It’s best practice to subscribe to any target company insights. Make sure you’ve researched the bullet points on your cards before engaging with any of your prospects.
Equally, your inside sales team should work to collect and share competitive intelligence that you can then use to hone your battlecards. Keep track of industry news, read reviews and gauge opinion via social media mentions. Speak to your customer support and customer success teams to understand the key features giving your product that additional edge in the market right now. What are buyers saying? How is your offering influencing their routines, efficiencies and behaviors?
Ready for battle?
Persuasion is a salesperson’s weapon of choice — but nothing sharpens its edge better than a well-crafted battlecard.
In other words: Invest the time to perform competitor analyses. You’ll reap the rewards by arming yourself with the facts needed to explain your advantages over your rivals. As a result, you can steer your prospects closer to closing a deal and drive your next sales success stories.
Anthony is an exceptionally talented Account Manager with a history of working in the computer software and technology industries, and experience at Director level. Anthony describes himself as an innovator who is always looking to make tomorrow’s dreams possible today. He specialises in sales testing and methodologies.