March 12, 2018 by Katie Berg
This week’s installment of Competitive Battlecards 101 explores the “Questions to Ask” card. This card is part of our weekly series where we share strategies and templates behind a library of sales battlecards. Subscribe to the series to get a new battlecard delivered straight to your inbox.
The Questions to Ask card is one of the more advanced cards in the battlecard library and is frequently used by many of our clients. There are two different ways to use this card which we will cover in this article. Both ways of using this card, whether for information gathering or for exposing competitor weaknesses can be used within your sales playbooks; they aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, many choose to use both for the value they each bring to the sales process. Your account executives (AEs) and sales development reps (SDRs) will deal with different questions. Remember this when building these cards; you may choose to have variants of each built uniquely for your SDRs and AEs based on their roles in your sales cycle.
To steer sales people away from getting into their pitch too soon, the Questions to Ask card makes it easy for your sales reps to quickly uncover their prospect’s pain by giving them the exact questions to ask to diagnose their needs. These questions are typically used during qualification/discovery calls. By making it easy for your sales reps to consistently collect certain pieces of information on their leads, it will improve their ability to hit the points that matter most to closing a deal. It’s far more important that your reps understand their prospects’ pain than to know all of the details of your competitors’ products.
This card has become increasingly popular as people have shifted sales strategies towards using playbooks – where the pitch for a product is adjusted dynamically rather than being set in stone. The positioning messages a sales person will use will vary depending on their prospects’ problem and unique scenario. Using the Questions to Ask card to uncover these pain points supports this mentality and provides the foundation for battlecards focused on sales strategies.
Build this card by crafting questions to help your sales people unearth information on prospects during the qualification stage. As a starting point, seek to understand your prospects goals and objectives and well as their current situation.
Try providing 1-2 different variations in how your questions are worded to give your sales people a couple of ways to rephrase it. To make sure the right information is being gathered, you may want to list the question(s) followed by a brief description of what information is intended to be discovered. In our examples provided, one of the cards lists the discovery questions directly in the card with a link out to a document with a longer list of questions. Depending on the depth of information you collect during qualification, you may choose this approach.
The second use case for this card is to assist your sales person to deposition a known competitor in a deal. The questions typically focus on exposing weaknesses where your competitor falls short. If you know that a competitor has a particular weaknesses that will not gel well with the person you’re selling to (which you can now identify using the information gathering card from above), you want to make sure the prospect is aware of that.
Our examples for this use case have been built using public reviews on a chosen “competitor”. General themes of weaknesses were found by aggregating software reviews from multiple websites. Develop questions to surface these weaknesses, with an explanation of why each question works and what it helps the salesperson to do/expose.
If you are lacking internal intel on a competitor, this is one way to approach the build of this card, although there are obvious limitations in how accurate and up to date this information will be. Building this based off internal information should always be your first choice. 80% of your most valuable intel comes internally because your sales people face off directly and are able to pull intel directly from prospects. Below are two examples we’ve put together using information found on various review sites. These are meant to provide inspiration on the how to frame questions to expose weaknesses.
The Questions to Ask card is part of our Overview Battlecard Template (click the image below to expand), which is a set of eight of the most commonly used cards we’ve seen across hundreds of battlecards we’ve built with our clients. We’ll cover the cards shown below one by one before moving on to the next full battlecard template.
Ready for more? Next up in our series will be the “Product Overview” card. Subscribe to the series Competitive Battlecards 101 and we’ll send you a new card each week so you can start building your library of competitive strategies.
If you’ve come this far and you’re still looking for more on battlecards, download our Product Marketers Guide to Creating Battlecards That Win.
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