Sometimes the sales process can feel like a battle. The cards are stacked against you.
It’s a competitive marketplace with a lot of solid competitors. This is when sales battlecards come into play.
A sales team without a battlecard is like going into a battle without a game plan—you might squeak by your opponent the first time, but there’s no guarantee that'll happen every time.
A sales battlecard is a crucial tool in a salesperson’s arsenal. As the Director of Product Marketing at Copper, I’ve seen firsthand how a sales battlecard provides the consistent, compelling messaging that sales teams need to close deals.
But it’s not easy to create one. In this post, we’ll look at:
What is a sales battlecard?
A sales battlecard is a concise, actionable summary of your products, market, customers, and competition. The goal is to equip sales reps with sales-ready responses to the most important questions, objections, and needs a prospect could have.
It should include statistics, figures, and information to refer to during the sales process. A sales battlecard also helps create consistency across a sales team, to ensure your sales reps deliver consistently accurate information.
Create your battlecard
Create your own sales battlecard using this free template!
What a sales battlecard is not:
A sales battlecard is not an essay. It’s not an ebook, white paper or book report.
It’s not an expansive, detailed document, and it’s not meant to be tucked away in the cobwebbed corners of your hard drive where no one ever opens it.
Many companies make battlecards too long. An effective sales battlecard should be concise, clear, and easy to read—and refer to. Think less War & Peace, more Wikipedia.
(Also, despite its name, a sales battlecard is not an opportunity to trash-talk.)
One of the most crucial aspects of a battlecard is how it outlines competitive advantages. You should know exactly how your product or service is better than the competition—and where it falls short (so your sales team knows how to position those weaknesses).
However, a sales battlecard isn’t about bashing your competitors. Stick to the facts and how you're different, rather than over-emphasizing where others fall short.
Why you need them:
Sales is a crowded marketplace, especially in the SaaS world.
Details matter. This card is the tool that'll help you convince prospects to pick you over the competition. It arms your sales team with the specific information they can use to combat buyer objections and stand out from the crowd.
How to create a sales battlecard
One important note before we launch into how to create a sales battlecard and what sections you should include...
You’re going to hear a lot of familiar terms. Market research. Buyer personas. Customer profiles. Competitive analysis.
A lot of the content in sales battlecards will be similar to exercises your team has already conducted.
Here’s how the sales battlecard is different.
A great sales battlecard presents the information in a distilled, clear way that's aimed at persuading the customer. It’s not just a reiteration of buyer personas or common questions; it tells you how to use the information about your product to convince the customer to buy.
Here’s how to create a sales battlecard, including the top sections that should be included.
1. Identify stakeholders.
Creating a battlecard isn’t a solo project. It’s a collaborative process that spans different teams. Identify the key stakeholders to give feedback and contribute to your sales battlecard. Typically it should include the Sales, Marketing, and Product teams—and executives.
Each team brings a unique skill set, view of the competition, and insight into the product that can help the sales process.
For example, the Product team will have in-depth insights on product features.
The Customer Success team will know the most common issues customers have that Sales can address upfront.
Marketing will know how competitors are positioning their product in the marketplace.
2. Provide a company overview.
Include stats on the market size, estimated demand, and information about your market as a whole.
It should empower the salesperson to speak about the industry, including trends and how your product fits (and stands out!) in that environment.
3. Target customers and opportunities.
This section should combine your ideal customer profile, buyer personas, and customer pain points. How does your product or service fulfill their needs?
This is also a good place to include information on how to identify opportunities to cross-sell and upsell.
4. Add important product features.
Just stick to the highlights here. What are the most important details about your product that a prospect should know?
This section should be a collaborative effort. Ask your Marketing, Product, and Sales teams what the most popular, most used, and most desired features are. Are there any features that are underrated? Are there any features customers may not really care about at the time of sale—but end up using and loving afterward? These are the product features you want to highlight.
5. Include competitor analysis.
Battlecards aren’t just a comparison of the differences between two companies. Take it a step further: analyze the information and break it down so that your sales team can speak specifically to advantages you have over competitors and pitch your product as a better solution.
One hack is to mine reviews sites for common customer complaints.
Depending on your industry, you could mine Yelp, Clutch, Glassdoor, or even Amazon reviews for competitor research. Look for consistent themes and customer issues.
Here’s one example:
There are a few themes you can capitalize on here if this business were your competitor:
- Unresponsive customer service
- Types of customer support that are frustrating or annoying (specifically, forums and online support)
- Few updates or improvements to the user experience
These are all potential themes to highlight in your sales battlecard. In this example, you’d want to address how your business might be better in terms of customer support and user experience. You could highlight your 24/7 phone support, or add a section on your product development cycle, including how often product updates are released and when.
Here are a few tips to mine actionable insights from reviews:
- Use a large sample. An isolated complaint isn’t helpful. Look at a large sample of reviews—what common themes and complaints emerge?
- Use a critical eye. Extremely negative reviews are typically left by disgruntled, angry customers. Take them with a grain of salt.
- Stick to recent reviews. A five-year-old review could’ve been fixed by now.
- Avoid mean-spirited reviews with cursing. They’re often outliers and can overstate or exaggerate the problem.
- If it’s an employee review, look for ones by current employees. They’re more invested in the company, so they’ll typically provide balanced, reasonable responses.
Your CRM is also a great place to mine customer data. Ask the sales team to look back through their client profiles and notes. What were the key reasons customers choose to work with you? What about the lost opportunities?
In Copper, for example, you can see every interaction and message you've had with past customers at a glance:
6. Research common sales objections.
This is one of the most important sections of a sales battlecard. It addresses potential issues customers have with your product or service and how to respond to them.
Proactively addressing objections in the sales process increases your chances of closing the sale. It’s also an opportunity to educate customers on your product.
This is the time to identify:
- Why customers would potentially choose the competition
- Purchasing roadblocks they have and how to phrase them better
- Any negative impressions of your product and how to address them
Here are some common customer objections we see:
If a consumer objects to the price, it’s most likely because you haven’t clearly communicated the value.
Why does this matter?
A recent Gartner study found that the majority of companies that buy SaaS products do it because they believe it’ll save them money in the long run—the value will outweigh the price over time.
If your sales team is repeatedly running into price objections, that should be addressed on your battlecard.
How many times have you been on a call with a potential prospects who said, “I like your product, but I really need “X” feature?” It’s a common sales objection we run into all the time.
I like to think of this through the lens of automobile inventor Henry Ford’s famous quote:
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
Prospects might not necessarily know what they want. Follow up and ask specifically what their needs are. What problem are they trying to solve?
For example, one of our prospects might be looking for an industry-specific CRM, but they may not realize that they can customize the fields and workflows within Copper to fit their industry and internal company processes like a glove. It might be even better than what an industry-specific CRM can provide.
It’s unavoidable that customers will have objections. Highlighting the most common ones and their responses in the sales battlecard will help your sales team be more prepared to address them.
7. Highlight success stories and benefits.
Social proof is a key differentiator between an okay sales battlecard and a stellar one.
It’s evidence. Cold, hard facts and visual examples of how your product is used by real-life customers.
Add your best case studies and success stats to the battlecard. Be specific and include real numbers and statistics that demonstrate how customers have used your product. (How much time did they save? Did they increase their revenue or decrease expenses?)
Maybe you could highlight how many customers in a particular industry use your product, or notable customers who use your service and links to your best case studies.
My final tip on sales battlecards
At the end of the day, your sales battlecard needs to work for your team.
You should be continually gathering feedback on what's working (and what isn’t) and updating your sales battlecards accordingly. It’s a living document that should be evaluated regularly to ensure that it’s a relevant and useful tool for your sales team.
Now go forth and pitch!