A Marketer’s Guide to Creating Competitor Battle Cards
If your revenue team hasn’t yet developed competitor battle cards, now is the time to start. This article covers everything you need to know about the value of battle cards, how to develop your own, and how to use them effectively in your regular sales operations. At the bottom of the page, there’s also a handy editable Word template for you.
Why Use Competitor Battle Cards?
During the B2B sales process, if there’s one question that the buyer is sure to ask, it will be some variation of “how does your product stack up against X competitor?” Maybe the prospect is interested in a certain feature, price, or benefit – regardless of the specifics, your reps need to speak intelligently about how your product or service compares.
The struggle is that in any B2B sales role, there’s a lot of information to remember. The ability to retain every nuance of their product or service is no large feat, let alone the details of every competitor.
That’s where competitor battle cards come in. They’re essentially a cheat sheet for your sales reps. When a prospect brings up a competitor, the rep can open the battle card and have instant access to that company’s product information and disadvantages in a quick, digestible format.
Instead of the classic “I’ll get back to you on that one,” the rep can speak with authority on how your company’s strengths differentiate from your competitors.
How to Develop Your Battle Cards
Step One: Pick the Competitors
Maybe you’re in a crowded market and you have 50 businesses that could be called true competitors. Do you really need 50 battle cards? Maybe, maybe not, but don’t get in over your head. Start with the top five competitors that come up most in conversation. Don’t forget the biggest competitor of all – status quo. Use these to test out your battle cards, finesse the design / information, and only then expand to the full sphere of competition.
Step Two: Research
Put on your detective hat – it’s time to start digging into your competitor’s dirt. Try to find out pricing, service fees, product descriptions, general business data, etc. Some of the information will be available on their website, but other good sources for information are any company webinars they offer, Glassdoor employee reviews, and customer reviews via G2 Crowd or TechValidate.
Step Three: Review
Once you’ve compiled the research, it’s time to identify their strengths, weaknesses, and best responses to those strength and weaknesses. The battle card should include more than just the company’s pricing structure, for example – it should state clearly whether or not they’re cheaper or more expensive than your company, and if cheaper, a clear response for why your higher price is worth it for the prospect.
Best Practices to Remember
Don’t Stuff with Fluff
The sign of a good battle card is one that reps actually use, so the goal for anyone creating a battle card is to fill it with information that’s actually relevant. Especially when using a template, it’s easy to fill the page with random information that, while accurate, will not help the reps during sales calls. A lot of battle card templates include a spot for the competitor’s address, for example. If you think it’s likely that the rep will need that information, then include it! If not, there’s no reason to waste that valuable real estate on irrelevant info.
Keep It Clean
The design, that is. You may be tempted to put every bit of strategic research you were able to find into the template, but keep in mind that a battle card crammed with text isn’t going to serve its purpose. The design should be minimal and very easily scannable so that reps can get the insight they need at a glance. Remember that the sales rep will likely be multitasking while they access this information – holding a conversation with the prospect while searching for that competitive golden nugget that will help him or her close the deal.
Best Practices for Leveraging Battle Cards
These battle cards are a resource for sales reps, but they’re also a way for your company to ensure a unified response to questions about competitors. It’s important that the sales team knows not only that the battle cards are available, but also that using them is expected.
Centralize Access and Track Usage
If you want reps to use the battle cards, you must make them easily accessible. We recommend uploading all of the battle cards to a cloud-based sales content library that serves as a one-stop shop for sales rep resources. One of the great things about centralized content libraries is that you can see how often the battle cards are being used (and by whom). It’s a great way to track the effectiveness of the efforts and see which competitors are coming up most in conversation.
Keep Them Updated
An outdated battle card is worse than having no battle card at all. If a rep confidently states a competitor’s prices are higher than they are (based on old data), and the prospect finds out differently, that prospect will no longer trust anything the rep says. Make it a standard process to review the battle cards on a regular basis.
Include Them in Training
Any new sales rep should have a solid understanding of the competition, so be sure to leverage the battle cards as a training tool as well as a sales tool.