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Hey, Product Marketer: Your Battlecards Shouldn’t Be Perfect

In high school, my economics teacher loved to remind us that “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” It’s an old-timey way of saying “everything comes at a cost.”

Oftentimes, the cost of something is measured not in dollars and cents, but rather in opportunity.

Let’s say you walk up to me and tell me I can have either an apple or a banana. After careful consideration of the potential risks of accepting produce from a stranger, I choose apple. I don’t give you any money, but there’s still a cost. The opportunity cost of the apple is the banana.

Grand scheme of things, those are pretty low stakes — much lower than the stakes faced by a product marketer responsible for sales battlecards.


The #1 misconception about battlecards

For the remainder of my time on Earth, I will remember these words, courtesy of my esteemed colleague Madison Blask: “You can build dozens of battlecards, but until your sellers start using them to win competitive deals, you may as well enable your team with finger paintings.”

In other words: A battlecard is worthless until your sellers adopt it. Sooner or later, every product marketer realizes this. The most common response to this realization?

“Well then I’d better make sure my battlecards are perfect.”

This response, though understandable, is rooted in the misconception that battlecard adoption is purely a function of quality — the misconception that higher quality = better adoption.

There’s some truth to it; battlecard adoption is, in part, a function of quality. But it’s also a function of accessibility and enthusiasm.

Accessibility matters because no one will adopt a perfect battlecard that they need to spend time searching for. Enthusiasm matters because no one will adopt a perfect battlecard if they think competitive intel is a “nice to have.”

Quality, accessibility, and enthusiasm are the building blocks of battlecard adoption. Only when all 3 are in place will you make the impact you’re capable of making.

The opportunity cost of a perfect battlecard

Admittedly, accessibility is very straightforward. It’s just a matter of using the tools at your disposal (Slack, Microsoft Teams, etc.) to put battlecards at your sellers’ fingertips. This doesn’t require much ongoing effort.

But enthusiasm does. If most of your sellers think competitive intel is a “nice to have,” you can’t change that overnight. To convince them that they need CI requires a lot of time and creativity.

This is what I mean by “the opportunity cost of a perfect battlecard.” If CI is only one part of your job and you’re convinced that your battlecards must be perfect, what will you do with the limited time you have for CI? You’ll try to make your battlecards perfect, of course. Which leaves you with no time to convince your sellers that they need CI. Which means your perfect battlecard will be poorly adopted. Which means … well, you remember Madison’s quote about finger paintings.

So, here’s my challenge to you, product marketer: Don’t try to create perfect battlecards. Be OK with decent battlecards. Dedicate at least half of the time you have for CI to creating a sense of enthusiasm amongst your sellers.

You’ll be glad you did.

Download our brand new guide, The Secret Formula for Stellar Battlecard Adoption

If you want tips to help you …

  • Build quality battlecards
  • Make battlecards easily accessible
  • Create a sense of enthusiasm around battlecards (and CI in general)

... then I recommend you download our brand new guide, The Secret Formula for Stellar Battlecard Adoption.

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Conor Bond
Conor Bond is on the marketing team at Crayon. If, for whatever reason, you were to rip his headphones off his head and put them on yourself, you’d probably hear Weakened Friends or Charli XCX.