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Informative content is what makes Klue, well, Klue. We wouldn’t be very successful if people learned nothing when they signed in.
We offer automated data cards, and encourage curators to add other competitor-specific information: strengths and weaknesses, why we win and lose, and more.
Now, here’s some top-secret (not really) intel: If informative content is the only thing on your battlecards that are specifically for your sales team, you’re missing something.
They need actionable content.
Here are some battlecard best practices to get there.
Actionable (or prescriptive) guidance is content that can be acted upon by your sales team. We’ve discussed some prescriptive battlecard best practices on the blog before – quick dismisses, landmines, and objection handling – and today, I’d like to introduce you to the competitive play.
While other techniques are short snippets, questions, or rebuttals, a competitive play is a more holistic talk track, focused on your business and its value; it tells a story that bullet points can’t tell.
Competitive plays are built on three pillars: Know. Say. Show.
What do salespeople need to know to use the talk track effectively? As the creator of the competitive play, most of your effort will go into this pillar — it’s the foundation and the lead-in.
Like any talk track, competitive plays can’t be dropped just anywhere in a conversation. Include a few leading questions or topics that will help set up the play and any background information that might be helpful.
What do salespeople need to say? This is the competitive play. It doesn’t need to be long — focus on impact and value. What makes your product, service, or experience stand out?
What do salespeople need to show to reinforce the information they provide? Talk tracks supported by verifiable information help establish confidence and credibility, which go a long way toward a positive sales experience.
Brock Everett, sales manager-turned-competitive expert shared what he did to restructure battlecards to become more action-oriented at Shopify on the Competitive Enablement Show:
“I saw a lot of opportunities for improvement on our battlecards and one of them that jumped out at me right away was that there seemed to be a lot of focus on the background of the competitor, their leadership, where they were they founded, and what their financials were like. Sales reps are just skipping through all this.
What they want to know is ‘what is their pricing, and how does that work?’, or ‘what are our differentiators when we win deals and how do we talk about them?’, or ‘what are the traps and red flags that I should be aware of to help me know that I might be on my back foot on this deal?’.
Just making battlecards a little more practical… sales aren’t the most technical people, they don’t feel comfortable talking at the deep technical level.”
As competitive experts, we need to consider every consumer. Are you a growth company? Will you have new sales people coming onboard at some point?
Imagine a brand new member of the sales team discovers Competitor X is in a deal — 10 minutes prior to a call with the prospect. They, of course, go right to your battlecards.
New Salesperson sees your strengths and the competitor’s weaknesses; how you win and how the competitor loses; your value proposition and the competitor’s approach to market.
In the few minutes New Salesperson has to prepare for that call, how do they know which points to focus on? In the limited time window, how can they read everything, devise a strategy, and go into the call confidently?
It’s next to impossible.
A competitive play provides new team members with a general sales approach (and one place to focus their attention), but it does much more. This type of talk track highlights your biggest selling points, leaves your name on the prospect’s mind, and helps establish trust and authenticity.
To accomplish all this goodness, it’s important to remember the three pillars. And those three pillars are rooted in making battlecard content applicable.
Applicability is the most essential part of competitive enablement, says Anthony Fritsch, Global Head of Sales Enablement at CoachHub.
“A lot of times I’ve seen competitive intel miss the mark when shared with sellers because it is just a repository of facts. For example, ‘Competitor X is 20% cheaper than me’. But, how do you actually apply this?
The way we share back the intel that we collect with the sellers is that we structure it in a way that they will be able to leverage when they are pitching.”
I’ve talked a lot about new team members, but seasoned sales pros aren’t infallible — they need support from time to time, too. Competitors are constantly changing their value propositions over time, and a well-designed competitive play embedded in your battlecards will support veteran sellers the rare times that they’re caught by surprise.
Remember that your sales team has their ears to the ground. They have direct experience with prospects that will add context you may not have.
Gather their feedback, collect intel from their calls, and don’t be afraid to make changes; to iterate. Better intel will only elevate your team, content, and deal quality.
Find dozens of competitive intelligence jobs from hundreds of companies on the Competitive Enablement Jobs Board.
Start building best practices for battlecards by following our simple framework: Know. Say. Show.
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