We work with a lot of teams managing competitive intelligence (CI) that create battlecards for their organizations. So, we thought it would be useful to share some of the trends we see when it comes to developing battlecards for various teams within an organization.
Sales teams are usually the biggest consumers of content developed by sales support and intelligence teams, but we’ve seen that many of our clients create battlecards for key audiences outside of sales. While they are useful for salespeople trying to win deals, providing bite-sized, at-a-glance content to the right people at the right time can also improve strategic decision-making within your company. It’s usefulness extends well past sales.
If you house all of your competitive and market intelligence content in a central repository like Klue, repurposing and focusing the right content to different audiences is a low-effort activity, with the benefit of increasing the perceived value of your team to the rest of your organization.
Executives need to know enough high-level information about markets and the competition in order to make strategic decisions that drive the business. Using intelligence to unearth opportunities in the market, or to capitalize on competitors’ shortcomings just makes good business sense.
Typically, battlecards prepared for executives contain the following information on a given competitor:
– Target Clients
– Average Client Size
– Key customers
– Full list of direct offerings
– Offerings through partners
– Where they have no offerings
– Key Sales/Referral Partners
– Implementation & Services strategy
– Key Acquisitions/Funding
Summary of Recent Events: A summary of recent events from a given competitor including things like product launches, product improvements, key acquired/lost customers, Changes in leadership, notable mergers/acquisitions, etc.
How they differ from us: A concise view of how how you different from the competitor as it relates to your offering and positioning in the market.
Weaknesses: Where your current offerings “win”, and areas of your competitor’s weakness to exploit with ongoing product development.
Future Roadmap: Insights into the roadmap a competitor is taking relative to their offerings, and a future roadmap of your plan to beat this competitor long-term using positioning differences and internal product strategy.
We all know that good marketers need to understand their customers; but a strategic marketer wants to know just as much about their market and competitors. Pulling together the needs of the customer with deep knowledge of what’s happening in the market and with competitors makes a marketer uniquely positioned to drive their organization’s strategy.
The basic premise of creating a positioning strategy is to understand how your product/service stacks up relative to your competitors. This can’t be done without knowing what your competitors are up to, and how they position their own products/services in the market. Understanding your competitors messaging is also a useful tool in defining your own voice and brand. Knowledge of your competitors messaging helps you make sure your voice stands out from the crowd.
A marketer’s battlecard could include the following information:
– Key Messaging
– Trends in website content changes
– Defensive messaging strategy
Marketing Resources and Allocation:
– Product roadmap: Key launch and campaign dates and insight into long-term product direction
– Key customer accounts/ buyer types
– Full list of offerings
– Pricing details
Inform product managers and your product development on the ins and outs of what your team is selling. They will already be masters of your product, but need to know what is happening in the market in order to create a roadmap strategy for your own products. Not only do they need to know about how your competitors products stack up to your own, but they need to understand the customer and marketplace conditions.
A few of the items to consider including in battlecards for product development:
Marketplace conditions: All the basic information reps need about a market or market segment.
Target customer segments and opportunities: Information about the ideal customer profile and the pain points that lead them to purchase your solution.
Product features and promotions: A breakdown of feature specs as they relate to your competitors’ products.
Competitive analysis: An honest assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your competitor’s product in relation to your product.
Customer segment-specific propositions: The unique selling proposition that persuades your ideal customer profile to purchase your offering.
Possible customer issues with the product: A breakdown of all issues frequently brought up in the sales process.
This one goes without saying. The sales battlecard was created to arm salespeople with relevant and digestible content they can use to win deals. When first developed, these focused heavily on product feature differences, but as both sales theory and customers themselves became more intelligent, battlecards have become a more strategic tool that are tailored to specific customer buying scenarios.
Competitive intelligence is a part of any good battlecard. Sales people will regularly need to demonstrate how their offerings compete against their competitors. Battlecards prepare salespeople to counter claims made by competitors and to know how to leverage their offerings strengths to close deals.
Take a look at these sample battlecards to get an idea of what a sales-ready battlecards should look like.
What it boils down to, is that anyone who is focused on your product or market should be concerned with your competitors. While we’ve provided a few suggestions on alternative audiences who could benefit from your competitive intelligence content, this is by no means a fulsome list and there are likely others in your organization that could benefit from their own battlecards.
Chris Owen and Scot Kim explain the importance of executive support for your competitive enablement program, and what they did to earn it.
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