Research is an essential part of any inside sales role. To boost your chances of engaging prospects, delivering your messaging, booking appointments, and closing sales… you need to know who you are selling to.
It’s about knowing the industry they work in, their role, their marketing strategy, and all the other factors that will impact their behavior. Because their behavior will affect the outcome of your sales strategy. Not doing research is one of the biggest traps sales reps fall into.
So how do we prevent this? One of the best tools for boosting your chances of sales success is “competitor battle cards”.
These cards equip you with broad, readily available information to aid you in your sales outreach. They tell you exactly the parts of your offering to highlight when a key competitor gets name-dropped. This will help better convey the benefits of your product or service. They are a vital asset that will evolve and keep providing value over time.
In this blog, we’ll explain what sales battle cards are, how to create them, and why they can be key deciders for your win rates.
Stepping into the ring.
There’s a reason why the term battlecard sounds adverse. This is your weapon to help triumph over competitors. It helps you know which weak points to strike when a prospect is considering which company to do business with. It’s important to remember that battlecards don’t replace your call scripts – they serve as a companion.
Your battlecard should be a one-page resource. It should 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 possible. It should let you see how your company measures up in key areas such as price, performance, features, and time to deliver.
Without a battlecard, you’ll be left scrambling for a response to questions during your sales outreach. This can be a particular worry when engaging in a phone or video call.
The last thing you want is to give false information or make up facts and numbers on the spot. This is poor sales practice and will only lead to confusion over what you can actually offer buyers. It 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 show 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 know what they want. Though might want a better idea of the price and features available from different companies.
Sales battlecards can be adapted for a number of purposes. They don’t always need to be used just for prospect-facing interactions. Battle cards also serve as a great resource for reps to learn the competitive advantages of your company’s offering. They can also also be adjusted in scope, narrowed down to focus on two companies, or broadened to give you a view of the competitive landscape.
How to create a battlecard
Creating battlecards 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 a tab on. Namely, the ones you have lost business to. It’s likely you’ll develop a knack for this. But you should also review the data your inside sales team collects to help identify competitors.
Battlecards will look different depending on what they are intended for. If you want one that gives in-depth details and statistics on one competitor, make sure it has certain key 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 & services.
Product battle cards will focus on their top products and services, as well as looking at their pricing model. This overview will help you know your competition. Especially, how they can help with customer pain points, their solutions and how these compare to your own. It’s also important to keep an eye on recent news and updates about these companies. Whether they’ve announced new products, changed their corporate alignment, formed partnerships etc.
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, read reviews etc. Are there issues with quality or function? Is their product missing features? List these pros and cons on your battlecard.
Don’t stop there. Being able to identify a rival’s pros and cons is only useful if you have a way to follow it up. So, be sure to tailor your sales messaging to point out an advantage you might have to close a sale.
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.
Stuck for ideas?
If you don’t know where to start then don’t worry. There are plenty of battlecard templates out there. The best templates are clearly laid out, so you can scan them and find the details you’re after. Highlight key sections, include tables and checklists. Customize battlecards to make them as concise and readable as possible. Try and keep them consistent with your company brand, as well.
There are plenty of tools such as Owler and ZoomInfo, as well as other free online resources that will have the most recent updates & news.
I’ve created my battlecards, what’s next?
Like ICPs and buyer personas, building battlecards isn’t a one-and-done process.
You need to update them regularly to reflect changes in the market. One of your rivals could revise the features of one of their key products. This could impact your sales pitch if you try to target a part of their offering that is no longer an issue.
To make sure your battlecards are up to date, you should check them 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.
Your inside sales team should work to collect and share data that you can then use to sharpen your battlecards. Keep track of industry news, read reviews, gauge opinion via social media mentions. Do your primary research via your account who may have insights into working with other companies in your industry.
Beyond creating battlecards, keeping up to date with the latest news on your rivals can give you useful insights.
Ready for battle?
Persuasion is a salesperson’s weapon of choice. But nothing hones its edge better than a well-crafted battlecard.
In other words: invest the time to research your competitors. You’ll reap the rewards by arming yourself with the facts needed to explain your benefits over your rivals. As a result, you can steer your prospects closer to closing a deal.
In conclusion, done well, battlecards will strengthen your pitches and make you able to deal with any customer support queries thrown at you.
Experienced Client Delivery/Innovation Manager, Director of Operations and Purveyor of Tech-Industry Processes with a demonstrated history of working in the Computer Software and Technology Industries. Skilled in Consumer Electronics, Tech Trends and Analytics, Tech Best Practices, Six Sigma, Technical Support, Sales, Sales Management, Project Management and Team Building. Always looking for innovations to make tomorrow’s dreams possible today!