Learn how to create impactful competitive battlecards

by | Jul 27, 2021

Enabling sales teams to close more deals is a quick win for any intelligence team. Competitive battlecards are a key component of sales enablement and are a well-used tool when deployed effectively in an organization.

At HelloInfo, we understand the power of thorough, approachable, and actionable research, organized into a battlecard, to arm your sales team (or any team – see tip #4) for success. We also know battlecards are an intensive effort, so we’re sharing tips on how to make sure they reach their full potential. 

First, a quick highlight of the basics:

What is a competitive battlecard?

It’s a short, easy-to-digest strategic understanding of a competitor that enables salespeople to sell against that competitor in a targeted, impactful way. 

What do they typically include? 

Battlecards bear many resemblances to competitor profiles, usually including some base elements like:  

  • Overview of the competitor
  • Key products
  • Product features
  • Marketing 
  • Sales strategy
  • Differentiators
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses

A battlecard goes one step further by adding an intensive layer of personalization. This includes details on how your company is positioned against your competitor and your key differentiators. Think of things like: 

  • Where you win or lose: Understand the competitive differentiation between you and the competitor
  • Objection handling: Use talking points when the customer raises concerns or objections 
  • Competitor cues or clues: Read signals from a customer to figure out what competitor you are up against  
  • Sales or lead qualification: Identify what sales situations may not be worth your time

When are they used?

Sales battlecards are meant to be referenced by sales teams:

  • When in specific sales situations, pulling up a relevant card right before or during a prospect meeting to prepare responses to a customer’s objections, for example,
  • As background information on the competitive landscape,
  • And to train on how to position your company for general talking points in any sales situation. 

Battlecard? Really?

The phrase “battlecard” is perceived by some as unnecessarily violent, particularly when taken in the context of business competition. Perhaps you or someone in your organization has read this study, or are just wishing we could live in a more peaceful world. If you are concerned about the use of violent imagery in the workplace, consider these phrases instead: 

  • Competitor beat sheet
  • Competitor snapshot
  • Competitor talking points

Our tips on competitive battlecards

These are the four key points we feel are essential when considering battlecards: 

1. You can’t make a battlecard in a vacuum

The only way a battlecard can be useful to your internal teams is if those internal teams are consulted from the beginning. Ask your sales team:  

  • What do you want in a battlecard?
  • What will you use it for? 
  • What format would be easiest for you?
  • Does it make sense to create different formats for different use cases? 
  • What competitors are you most worried about?
  • What do you know about these competitors?

The core purpose of battlecards is to be used. Sales teams generally have a limited amount of free time, so making a resource that is relevant and quickly digestible is key. If a series of battlecards contain valuable information written and organized in an easy-to-understand way, then the battlecard program will be a success, resulting in increased revenues and an easy-to-prove ROI. 

2. Battlecard creation cannot be automated

There are lots of tools out there that create automated battlecards at relatively inexpensive prices. The outcome is battlecards with limited utility because any insights will not be specific to your organization. At HelloInfo, we don’t shy away from using technology to drive efficiency. But even the most advanced AI is a long, long way from the point where it could build a meaningful battlecard. Additionally, all automated approaches to information collection introduce potential issues with accuracy. 

Most importantly, automated products don’t allow for incorporation of your sales team’s, or the competitors’ sales team’s – see tip #3, perspective. For now at least, a human needs to incorporate the relevant insights and analysis into the card so that every point hits home with impact. 

3. You can (and should) look beyond your company’s perspective

Creating a battlecard requires two steps: 

  1. Conducting secondary (desk) research for the foundational elements.
  2. Collecting insights from the internal sales team on the target company, your competitive differentiation, and how to position against them. 

It can be tempting to stop there – to look only at easily accessible insights on the target company. It’s likely that your sales team has a good understanding of key differentiators and how the company is positioning itself. But valuable insights may be missed. Consider a third step: 

  1. Conducting interviews with the target company and their customers.

This will give a far richer level of detail, providing insight on: 

  • The company’s future-looking sales strategies
  • How that company positions itself against yours
  • What products or services might be on their roadmap
  • How they win and retain key accounts
  • Customer perspectives of the target company 

4. Competitive battlecards can be used by more than just the sales team

Your sales team are not the only potential users of a battlecard – consider creating an extended-length version to include the sales and marketing or product teams. While research is underway, tack on extra relevant questions to provide rich content for teams across your company. 

At the very least, be sure to give these adjacent teams access to the set of battlecards. They will be a valuable starting point for their comprehensive knowledge about your key competitors and how your products or services stack up.

How can HelloInfo help?

With 15+ years of experience in custom battlecard creation, we can support you in creating actionable, relevant battlecards. We work in conjunction with our clients’ teams, conducting internal and external interviews and completing detailed secondary research. The result is useful battlecards that empower sales teams and increase sales. 

Contact us to learn more about how we can help create a set of custom battlecards for your company. 

Want to know more about competitive battlecards? 

  • Klue’s blog series highlights specific categories to consider for inclusion in a battlecard.  
  • Forrester’s Standards Guide for Sales-Ready Competitive Battle Cards is comprehensive.
  • Crayon has an extensive post dedicated to battlecards, with some important best practices to consider, such as measuring the use of a battlecard.

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