One of the best ways to understand your unique place in the market is to understand what differentiates your business. This means you’ll have to understand your own value props and signature services, but it also means you’ll have to understand your competitors well.
That’s where sales battlecards come in. These comprehensive tools can help your sales team be better prepared for client conversations, and they can help you come up with a game plan to tackle your corner of the market. Let’s dive in and find out more about battlecards, how to create them, and how they can help your sales team close deals.
What Are Sales Battlecards?
Sales battlecards are internal fact sheets for your sales team. A battlecard is usually a single page, but that one page packs a real punch.
Your sales team’s battlecards should include information about your company and product or service, useful data points and statistics, and company differentiators. These one page “cheat sheets” feature high-level talking points to enable sales conversations.
But a battlecard is more than just a summary of your company or product – think of it as a way to orient your company in your niche market. In order to do this, your battlecard should include information about your competitors as well. Essentially, the sales battlecard compares your company to your competitors in terms of features, pricing, and other metrics.
Another type of sales battlecard is specifically for products. Product battlecards are focused on differentiating the products and services you provide from one another. These cards typically don’t include competitor information, and instead stay anchored to the solutions you provide and how they solve your target markets’ problems.
Competitor-Focused Sales Battlecards
Competitor-focused sales battlecards help take some of the pressure off your sales team so they can focus on forging client relationships. Your sales team has a lot of information to remember and process. And if you’re in a fast-changing industry, your representatives often don’t have time to keep up to date with your competitors’ developments. Having a sales battlecard that’s specifically focused on how you stack up next to your competitors means salespeople can have meaningful conversations with leads without a lot of back-end prep.
With a battlecard in hand, a sales rep is ready to have a productive conversation at any time. And being able to quickly reference data and differentiators keeps salespeople looking knowledgeable, professional, and ready to solve your target customers’ problems.
How To Make A Competitor-Focused Sales Battlecard
The first step in creating an actionable sales battlecard is to identify and list your closest competitors. If there are companies who provide similar solutions, or if they’re trying to solve similar problems, they should be on your battlecard. While some battlecards compare your company to just one major competitor, others compare your company to several. Whether you choose to compare your solution to one or many depends on the size of your industry and market, and how many companies have a competitive presence in your sector.
Now, make a list of key facts about your company and the solutions you provide. Include the kinds of high-level data points you’d include in a presentation.
Now do the same for your competition. These battlecards should be direct comparisons – when you describe your solution, compare it to the competition, and do the same for pricing, customer care, and other factors.
How To Use a Competitor-Focused Sales Battlecard
Battlecards can help your sales team by acting as “notes” to use during a meeting. A sales battlecard can enhance presentations and meetings by giving your representative quick, easy access to substantive information.
The section that enumerates your company’s solutions and market differentiators can help your salespeople pitch your solutions with confidence. But while a competitor-focused sales battlecard helps your sales reps lead conversations about the solutions you provide, it also helps them stay prepared for inevitable questions about your competition. If your company is a relative newcomer to an established market, your competitor-focused sales battlecard can help sales reps answer the question “what makes you different?”
Action tip: It’s important to let your sales team practice using the battlecards. Use them a few times in role playing exercises so they can get comfortable using the information without relying on it too overtly. Remember, the battlecards should be like presentation notes, not the whole presentation itself.
Product-Focused Sales Battlecards
A product-focused sales battlecard helps your sales reps understand your company’s solutions better. These types of battlecards can be especially helpful if you have multiple products or packages – with these tools, your sales representatives won’t have to memorize every differentiating detail in your services, and can use these as quick references to stay prepared for a conversation at any time.
Not only do these kinds of battlecards give important product details, they typically include sections about buyer profiles and talking points. So for each product, there should be an explanation of some of the buyer profiles your reps will target, as well as information about these buyers’ pain points, motivations, and decision criteria. Keep your buyer profiles focused on the decision makers and influencers in your target market.
How To Make A Product-Focused Sales Battlecard
When making a product-focused sales battlecard, you’ll need to categorize your products or packages first. This battlecard will help you differentiate the different solutions you provide, and perhaps more importantly, which audiences these solutions are best for.
For each product or service, write down all of the features and benefits that a customer may need to know. While your competitor-focused battlecards might be more general since they examine the overall market, these battlecards should be as specific as possible.
Beside each product, write a brief description of the buyer personas it suits best. This description should include pain points, problems, and decision-influencing factors. Each section should function like a mini brochure for the product, plus a short guide on how to sell it.
How To Use A Product-Focused Sales Battlecard
Product-focused sales battlecards can help sales representatives at any stage, but they’re especially helpful at a few specific points. First, they’re excellent tools to get new team members up to speed and give them the information they need to begin making sales independently.
But they’re also ideal to help your account executives enhance their demonstration skills. Because a product-focused sales battlecard narrows in on the products’ details without a lot of branded language and marketing content, your sales reps can use these cards to make sure their information is accurate and detailed.
SDRs can use these battlecards to understand the products or packages that might be best to pitch to a lead, but these heavily detailed product-focused sales battlecards are typically the domain of account executives most of all.
Action tip: Sometimes it can be hard to tell if your battlecard has the information it needs. Here’s a simple way to test a product-focused battlecard. For each product, as you begin listing features, ask yourself this crucial question: “how is this different?” If you have products A, B, and C, you should be able to clearly answer “A is different from B and C because…” and so on.
Battlecards Can Help With Planning, Too
While sales battlecards are typically made for the sales representatives themselves, making the battlecards can help you get a better sense of your market placement. In going over your product details, or how you stack up against your competitors, you can look for useful patterns that could inform your marketing and sales approaches.
Making a sales battlecard can help you determine weaknesses in your knowledge base. For instance, if you find you don’t really understand how your solution differs from a competitor’s, a good battlecard requires you to learn.
Action tip: When you first plan out a battlecard, try color-coding different areas to help you understand where your knowledge gaps are. For instance, you could use green for areas where you have high knowledge, yellow where your information may need to be rounded out, and red for areas you still need to research and explore.
Battlecards Must Be Dynamic
Sales battlecards can be fantastic tools to help get your sales team up to speed, but they’re only useful if they’re up to date. Over time, your battlecards can and should change to reflect market developments, changes in your company, and competitor activity. It’s a good idea to update battlecards whenever you learn of new developments, but you should schedule periodic reviews as well.
Ultimately, a battlecard can be an important tool, but only if you keep them specific, focused, current, and detailed. If you’re looking for a way to get started making your own battlecards, check out our template.