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Breaking Down the Four Walls: How to Access Competitive Intel from Your Revenue Teams
Competitive Enablement

Breaking Down the Four Walls: How to Access Competitive Intel from Your Revenue Teams

There is no moment that creates panic quite like losing your house keys.

My heart rate will triple as I frantically flip couch cushions, make an estimated 27 trips back and forth to my car, and desperately fling open cupboards that haven’t been touched in over a year.

I’ll even retrace my footsteps like a detective assessing a crime scene until… that recognizable jingle in my pocket. 

A jingle which is quickly accompanied by the facepalming realization of ‘why didn’t I just check my pockets in the first place?!’.

This scenario is not unlike the way many businesses attempt to find competitive intelligence. They spend time and resources scraping every corner of the internet, digging through PDFs and blog posts.

In reality, much like your house keys, the best competitive intel actually lies within the four virtual walls of your organization. Your sales team and internal experts are your best source of competitive intelligence.

Here’s how to tap into them.

Select the sellers to interview

Select the right people to interview so that your time is used most effectively. Ask or look for salespeople with the most experience at your company and/or in your industry. 

Most content curators only need to conduct 3 or 4 x 30 min interviews initially, to cover major competitors for a product line.

What you need to know before approaching sellers

Here are 5 things that you need to know before begin approaching your sales team:

  1. Have baseline information on the competitor you are researching – you should already understand their product offering, target market, and hypothesize key areas where you compete
  2. Don’t get too sold on your hypotheses until you can validate them. The information from the interviews may surprise and disprove initial hypotheses.
  3. Make a list of probing questions you want to cover (Examples are coming up below!)
  4. Review any available CRM data to see which competitors they have come up against recently and any notes about them they may have left
  5. Learn about the background of the salespeople you are interviewing via LinkedIn. They may have worked for a competitor in the past. This will also give you an idea of the seniority and experience level of who you are speaking to.

Tips for interviewing sellers

Here are 5 things that we’ve learned to do to get effective intel from your revenue teams:

  1. Clarify that the purpose of these interviews is ultimately to help them better position against competitors. This shows that there is value for them to provide as much intel as they know
  2. Tell the salesperson why you selected them for an interview. This puts them in the position of the expert and they will feel more confident in sharing what they have heard.
  3. Use conversational interviewing techniques to relax the interviewee
  4. Ask broad questions and use follow-up questions to dive deeper as you identify opportunities for intel. Example questions are coming up below
  5. Acknowledge their help by giving them shout-outs visible to their peers and manager. This could be in a meeting, through a team messaging channel, within the sales battlecard itself, or in your regular competitive intelligence newsletter.

Learn how you can collect competitive intel at scale from your internal teams with Klue’s Slack integration.

Questions to ask for content prioritization

You need to provide quick wins and address low-hanging fruit for your sellers. That’s why they’re a great source for helping you to prioritize what content and competitors you should focus on first.

  1. Which competitors do you come up against regularly? (Skip this question if you are already familiar with the rep’s product/territory coverage, e.g. via CRM data.)
  2. Have you encountered new competitors in the past quarter?
  3. Which competitors do you find it difficult to compete against? Why?
  4. How often do you come up against a competitor in your deals?

If you’re looking to focus on content prioritization, seller confidence, and identifying knowledge gaps, then use our Competitive Confidence Survey Template.

Questions to ask for building specific sales battlecards

Now we’re going to dive into questions you should ask in order to fill out specific battlecards. If you’re starting from scratch and looking for some sales battlecard templates to build from, then check out our templates below.

If you’ve already got your cards ready, then read on for the questions you can ask to get intel for each.

competitive battlecards

Overview / Key Capabilities / Approach to Market

  1. What are the key value points that competitor x focuses on? 
  2. What do prospects share in terms of what they know about competitor x? Are there common themes that come up often?
  3. Which of their features and/or integrations do you hear about frequently in deals? 
  4. How does the competitor position themselves?
  5. Who does the competitor typically target? What industries? What roles?

What to Listen For

  • What would you say are the top 3 most important things that have helped you to know about competitor x when in a deal? Are there certain terms or phrases that the prospect may use because they heard it from a competitor?
  • Do they use any specific sales tactics that you’re aware of? E.g. Heavy discounting big brands, free integrations, free user seats, etc

Quick Dismiss

  • What are your initial talk tracks when a competitor is mentioned?
  • Can you tell me about a time where you were able to knock a competitor out of a deal early? What did you say and why did it land?
  • What are the top few themes that you use to position us against this competitor?

Why We Win (Our Competitors’ Weaknesses)

  1. What areas do we often win in? Any ideas why? 
  2. Are there any specific competitor weaknesses that have been exposed on any of your calls? How did you use those to your advantage? 
  3. From your perspective, what are their weaknesses?
  4. What was your memorable win against this competitor? What made it memorable?

Landmines to Lay / Traps to Set

  1. How do you deposition the competitor? Why does it work?
  2. Have you learned anything about competitor x’s sales strategy?
  3. Are there any specific competitor weaknesses that have been exposed on any of your calls? How did you use those to your advantage?

Why We Lose (Our Competitors’ Strengths)

  1. What areas do we often lose in? And why? 
  2. What challenges do you often encounter when selling against competitor x? How do you overcome those?
  3. What are the three things that make you most nervous when you hear competitor x come up in a deal? 
  4. What verticals do they tend to do well in? What verticals do they struggle in? 
  5. Do you have any insight on who their key clients are?
  6. From your perspective, what are their strengths? 
  7. What was your most memorable loss against this competitor? What made it memorable?

Competitive Objection Handling (Countering FUD)

Note: Objection Handling = your team’s re-frame of a competitor’s strengths.

  1. What are common objections heard from prospects? Provide a response that reaffirms your positioning. 
  2. Is there anything competitor x tends to say about us to discredit us? How do you counter?
  3. What objections are the easiest to respond to? What are the hardest?

Pricing

  1. Have you heard anything about how they price their product or services? 
  2. How does the competitor structure their pricing? Do they have different tiers or packages?
  3. Do they offer bundles for their offerings?
  4. Do they charge for additions or extra services?
  5. Do they often use pricing or discounts as a negotiation tactic? 
  6. Do they have any hidden costs that you are aware of?

You’ve got the competitive intel, now it’s time to start building

As you’re conducting these interviews, you’ll start noticing common themes.

These commonalities are where you should look to help you build your battlecards using the internal intel you’ve collected.

With the right content, and the right structure (like our Know. Say. Show. framework) you’ll have everything you need to build a winning sales battlecard.

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