Sales is unique from other departments. Salespeople are on the frontline of every organization’s battle with the competition, and their need for competitive enablement is much more tactical in nature. That’s why battlecards are becoming so popular.

As reported by Crayon in Guide to Competitive Battlecards.

What are Battlecards?

A battlecard is a piece of enablement collateral aimed at helping salespeople overcome competitive threats at any point in the sales process. They are typically created by the team responsible for gathering and analyzing Competitive Intelligence, or by a sales enablement team in conjunction with CI or product marketing team. Here is an example of a battlecard from HubSpot.

Battlecard Example

What Battlecards Are Not

Most product marketing, competitive intelligence, and sales enablement teams are familiar with competitor profiles, industry/competitive matrices, and other competitive materials. It is important to understand that anything other than a battlecard is typically too in-depth for consumption by sales team.

Why Create Battlecards?

Battlecards can boost competitive win rates by 50-60% (and sometimes more). If that number seems exaggerate, that is because most companies do not take the right approach when they create battlecards. Most sales teams fail to properly adopt battlecards because they are stale, difficult to consume, don’t contain the right intel, or are unhelpful. The best battlecards are not easy to create and maintain, but the results they produce are much more significant.

Steps to Get Started

Identify with competitors to focus on for your first few battlecards

It is important to understand who you are creating battlecards for before beginning creation. You can extend your battlecards to the other teams after you have created a foundation. Then, break down your competitive landscape into tiers of competitors. Start by focusing on one to three of your direct competitors.

Competitors Chart

Ensure you have the proper mechanisms in place to allow you to measure the impact of your new battlecards once they are in place

Before creating battlecards, make sure you have the proper mechanisms in place to measure their impact. The first step is adding opportunity fields in your CRM that allow sales reps to identify which competitor is present in a deal. Then, add a “loss reason” field as well to ensure you can zero in on deals that were lost to a competitor. Once you have established a competitive win rate benchmark, you will be ready to roll out your battlecards and what your win rate (hopefully) increase.

Measure Tactics

Begin the process of aggregating any existing intel you already have before embarking on the onerous process of digging up new intel

If your organization has already produced competitor analyses/comparisons/matrices, you are in good shape. If you are not so fortunate, then sales opportunities in your CRM is a good place to start accumulating some competitive intel. Check notes for qualitative information and any checkbox/dropdown fields with present win/loss codes or any similar data. Interviewing a handful of salespeople is also a good way to build a foundation of competitor information.

Creating Battlecards

Battlecards do not need to look flashy as they are an internally-facing piece of collateral.

Sourcing New Intel

There are endless sources from which you can pull valuable competitive insights.

Sourcing Intel

Your competitors’ websites are a great source of information and are valuable sources to track over time. Make sure to read through the content on their website, especially any case studies.

Review sites are another excellent source of information. Positive and negative reviews offer insight into competitors’’ strengths and weaknesses.

Online forms can offer communities focused on topics related to your industry. Search for any mentions of your competition on these sites, as customers tend to be more candid here than other sources of information.

Topics to Include

  1. General competitor information (location, employees, etc.)
  2. Kill points: list of short statements that will help disqualify competitors early on in deals
  3. Landmines: Questions that customers might ask that put your company at a competitive disadvantage
  4. Success stories

Now that your battlecard is created, it is time to put it in use. Throughout the process, maintenance, extension across the funnel, and measurement of battlecards ensure continued success. Remember, to keep your battlecard up to date.