Before ever sending an email or picking up a phone with a sales rep, your prospect already knows their stuff.

We’ve seen the stats. 77% of B2B buyers do independent research before contacting a salesperson. According to the 2018 B2B Buyers Survey Report, 45% of buyers did more research over the past year than the year before. 45% also say they turn to more sources to find and evaluate their purchases.

When they finally talk to a rep, almost two-thirds of buyers want to reach someone who knows their company and understands their problems. Bonus points if that rep has experience or specific knowledge of their industry for 62% of buyers.

And the same goes for the other six to seven people involved in that single purchase decision.

Then add on top of that the fact these buyers aren’t just evaluating your product or service. 

They’re looking at your competitors’ products or services too.

So how can reps keep up in a cut-throat battle for sales victory? It starts with battlecards.

Simply put, battlecards provide a breakdown of your company vs. your competitors There’s no single formula, but they usually cover a range of topics, like strengths and weaknesses, pricing and product info.

When done well, they’re a powerful selling tool. When done wrong, they’re a waste of time. So how can you make sure you’re doing battlecards right? We’ve got you covered with four common mistakes, and four ways you can sell smarter.

Mistake 1: Battlecards just compare features

Sure, there was a time when battlecards boiled down to side-by-side comparisons between your products and your competitors’. Sales reps would literally keep them in their pockets as a reference. No wonder that legacy lives on – but times have changed.

Sell smarter: Ask, “What will help close the deal?”

Your reps need product information – that’s a no-brainer. But more than a list of features, reps need positioning about how those features solve problems, and how to use that information to close a deal.

Instead of side-by-side lists, think key values, customer segments, strengths and weaknesses, objection negation, customer stories, golden questions, and marketplace context. And don’t feel beholden to old-school print – we don’t need printed cards in a world of rich connectivity. Leverage audio, video, graphics, and other formats to drive your points home.

Mistake 2: Battlecards can be anything

Anything goes in terms of quality, format, messaging, packaging and delivery, depending on whether battlecards are created by product managers, marketing, industry groups, competitive intel, or anyone else in your organization. The result: confusion about what battlecards are and what they do. 

Sell smarter: Set a standard for everyone

A few years ago, Forrester researched this problem and came to this conclusion: battlecards are in desperate need of standardization. Every group that creates battlecards needs to work with sales to figure out what details matter and what warrants a battlecard in the first place. They also need a standard format or template for delivery.

Ideally, all these cards should live in the same place, too, so reps don’t waste time trying to dig up the information they need. That’s where knowledge sharing shines. Bringing insights together into a single easily searchable platform means reps know where to turn the moment they need to look something up. Plus, they’re much more likely to find what they’re looking for quickly and efficiently.

Mistake 3: Battlecards get stale fast

You’ve pulled all your information together, but as soon as a new competitor enters the ring or an existing one changes a product or positioning, you’re already behind if your cards still show yesterday’s information. It takes a lot of work from a lot of teams to go in and make changes, and keep that maintenance up over time. Is it worth the effort?

Sell smarter: Ditch the static for the dynamic

You’d be surprised at how much of a difference AI and automation can make. Smart integrations can take a good chunk of work off your plate, off the bat, while reducing the likelihood of errors that happen when you duplicate records or work. 

Let’s not forget about the valuable insights your reps can add along the way. Battlecards should be living, breathing documents that change organically as your team learns new strategies and tactics. That helps new reps learn the ropes and seasoned ones hone their skills. So enabling team-wide sharing matters, too.

Mistake 4: Battlecards aren’t necessary at all

If you don’t have battlecards, or the ones you’ve created are gathering dust in the dark corners of your shared drive, you might wonder: do you really need them? You’re doing fine today without them, so they can’t be that important, right? They might be a nice-to-have, but they’re not mandatory on your priority list.

Sell smarter: Don’t leave your reps hanging

Imagine a rep on a call with a prospect when suddenly a question comes up about a competitor’s product. Your rep looks through their files – nothing. They comb through Slack – nothing. They check the knowledge database – nothing. So they visit the competitor’s website, where all they get is positive, feel-good sales and marketing content. Not super helpful, especially when the prospect has likely read the same content during their own research.

If you don’t use battlecards today, you can start with a template that’ll give you direction on topics that’ll be most helpful in moments like these, while affording you the flexibility to make them your own. If you have cards nobody uses, it’s worthwhile to start asking why and figure out what’s missing from your secret sauce.

Templates to get you started

We’re no strangers to battlecards – in fact, we’ve created six different templates and playbooks on the topic. If you need a place to get started, or need some inspiration on how to improve the ones you’ve got, look no further.

 

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