The sales battlecard is an extraordinarily impactful tool for any business in a competitive B2B market. As we'll discuss in the 2021 State of Competitive Intelligence Report (coming soon!), 71% of businesses that leverage sales battlecards say these tools have helped them increase their win rate. And, no, we’re not talking about marginal improvements: 93% say their increase in win rate — driven by battlecards — exceeds 20%.
Translation: Battlecards will help your sales team win more deals — potentially a lot more deals.
So, how do you get started? How do you create battlecards that yield results?
Internalize these eight tips and you’ll be creating effective sales battlecards in no time.
8 tips to help you create effective sales battlecards
Note: Per usual, this list is not exhaustive. If you’ve got any additional ideas, please feel free to leave a comment below!
1. Be concise
The whole point of creating battlecards is to help your sales reps talk about competitors when they’re having conversations with prospects (or customers, in the case of an upsell situation).
When one of your reps is on the phone with a prospect, they don’t have time to comb through paragraphs of information — they’d be better off simply using their memory.
The easier it is to consume your battlecards, the more likely they’ll actually get used. Even at a glance, your reps should be able to find the exact information they’re looking for.
2. Make your battlecards dynamic
What’s worse than a battlecard full of lengthy, unfocused paragraphs?
A battlecard full of inaccurate, outdated information.
Why? One word: trust. B2B buyers don’t do business with sellers they don’t trust. And whether it’s intentional or unintentional, sharing bad intel with a prospective buyer is a surefire way to lose their trust — and their business.
By making your battlecards dynamic — i.e., building them such that they’re seamlessly updated with the latest intel — you eliminate the risk of arming your reps with bad information.
On a yearly basis, even if dynamic battlecards keep just one or two deals from going south, they’re worth the investment.
3. Integrate your battlecards with your sources of intel
The best way to make your battlecards dynamic? Integrate them directly with your sources of competitive intel. Whether you monitor your competitors’ websites, social media accounts, product reviews, customer discussion threads, or some combination thereof, integrating these sources with your battlecards makes it easy to deliver real-time intel to your reps.
Don’t forget: If you and your colleagues are frequently sharing competitive insights via Slack or Microsoft Teams, that’s definitely a source of intel you’ll want to connect to your battlecards.
(Request a demo of Crayon to learn how you can power your battlecards with real-time intel.)
4. Optimize content for sales conversations
A concise, up-to-date battlecard is not necessarily a useful battlecard. Remember: The goal is to enable your sales reps to speak about your competitors in an effective manner during their conversations with prospects.
That’s not going to happen if your battlecard is nothing more than a list of bullet points about the latest iteration of your competitor’s product.
To optimize your battlecard content for sales conversations, make it actionable — i.e., arm your reps with ready-to-go differentiators, takeaways, and soundbites that will actually mean something to the prospects they’re speaking with.
An example is useful here. If you were on the phone with a prospect who was evaluating both you and Competitor A, which of the following would you rather have in your battlecard?
- Competitor A allows users to create an unlimited number of email templates.
- When your prospect mentions email templates, say this: “I know flexibility is important to you, and some folks get frustrated by our restrictions. But most of our customers’ campaigns are successful to the point that the limited number of templates is rarely an issue.”
The first option is more concise, but the second option is more actionable — and, therefore, more valuable to a sales rep who needs to think on their feet.
5. Don’t go head-to-head
People don’t buy products to use features; they buy products to relieve pain points.
Ideally, when one of your reps hops on a discovery call with a prospect, it should become (somewhat) clear which pain points they’re dealing with. Those pain points, in turn, should help your rep determine how they’re going to position your solution to the prospect going forward.
Now, on a subsequent call, let’s say the prospect tells your rep that Competitor B is on their radar as a potential alternative. Should your rep use this information to their advantage? Of course. But should they abandon the personalized positioning and start rattling off a bunch of features that Competitor B doesn’t offer? Absolutely not.
That’s called going head-to-head — something your battlecards should be designed to discourage. Why? Because you don’t consistently win competitive deals by offering better features; you consistently win competitive deals by positioning your solution as the only solution that can truly relieve your prospects’ pain points.
So, ditch the head-to-head feature comparisons. Create battlecards that arm your reps with tactics they can use to talk about your strengths in accordance with prospects’ unique needs.
Here’s an example of a tactic you may include in one of your battlecards:
- If prospect is suffering from a productivity pain point, discuss Capability X and frame it as a time-saver. Customers have told us that Competitor B doesn’t stack up in this respect.
Concise, actionable, and easily personalized — that’s strong battlecard content.
6. Make your battlecards branded
Aligning your battlecards with your brand, while not as crucial as optimizing your content, is a worthwhile extra step that can go a surprisingly long way towards improving adoption.
In general, creating a cohesive visual experience across your library of sales enablement content makes it more enjoyable for your reps to use the materials you’ve produced for them. And, at the end of the day, it should be enjoyable to use these materials.
Plus, branding your battlecards forces you to think about design — i.e., forces you to think about the visual presentation of the content you’ve created. You can seize this opportunity to make sure you’re displaying important information in a manner that makes it easy to find.
7. Establish KPIs to measure impact
If you want to succeed with battlecards over the long term, you need to be able to make strategic changes to your content and design — there’s always room for improvement. As a marketer, you know that strategic changes (a.k.a. optimizations) are not possible without key performance indicators (KPIs).
For most B2B companies, each of the following is a useful battlecard KPI:
- Usage indicates how frequently your sales reps are viewing each battlecard. Reps tend to view effective battlecards more frequently than they do ineffective battlecards.
- Win rate indicates the rate at which sales opportunities are turned into customers. The more effective your battlecards, the more improvement you’ll see in your win rate.
- Competitive win rate indicates the rate at which sales opportunities involving a specific competitor are turned into customers. The better the battlecard, the higher the competitive win rate.
Broadly speaking, successful battlecard optimizations should yield improvements in these KPIs.
8. Think beyond battlecards
Battlecards are essential, but they’re not the be-all and end-all of sales enablement. Between one-pagers, email templates, demo decks, talk tracks, and case studies — just to name a few examples — there’s no shortage of assets you can create for your sales team.
To leverage the full power of competitive intelligence, you’ve got to think beyond battlecards. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket!
Originally published by Ellie Mirman on Nov. 6, 2018. Last updated by Conor Bond on March 10, 2021.
Related Blog Posts
- How to Measure Product Launch Success: 12 KPIs You Should Be Tracking
- The 8 Free Market Research Tools and Resources You Need to Know
- How to Create a Competitive Matrix (Step-by-Step Guide With Examples + Free Templates)
- The Definitive Guide to Win/Loss Analysis: How to Gather, Analyze, and Act On Win/Loss Data
- 5 Product Launch Examples That Are Worth Studying (+ Tips for Success)