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Battlecards

​Get Started with Internal Intel Collection

Levelling up any competitive enablement program often starts with tapping into the minds of your internal teams and learning how you stack up against the competition. 

One of the best methods for collecting this internal intel is by interviewing your sales team. 

By learning from your sellers you will quickly be able to identify common competitive themes that can upgrade your compete program in a big way and help you further establish credibility with the sales team. 

Especially for those new to the organization, product line, or role, this guide helps you:

  • Collect the internal intel needed to help you prioritize your roadmap for your competitive enablement program
  • Fill in specific Card Topics with language that your revenue team resonates with, which leads to better engagement
  • Get your team’s current understanding of your competitive landscape: it’s important to know where you’re starting from and elevate from there!

Let’s dive in!

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1. Select Salespeople 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.

2. Before You Approach Them

  • 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
  • It’s critical that you don’t get too sold on your hypotheses until you can validate them, as you’ll get great information from the interviews that may surprise you.
  • Make a list of probing questions you want to cover (Examples are coming up below!)
  • Review any available CRM data to see which competitors they have come up against recently and any notes about them they may have left
  • (Optional) 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

3. Interview Tips

Here’s 5 things we’ve learned to do, for getting effective intel from your revenue teams:

  • 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
  • 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
  • Use conversational interviewing techniques to relax the interviewee
  • Ask broad questions and use follow-up questions to dive deeper as you identify opportunities for intel. Example questions are coming up below
  • 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 battlecard itself, or your regular competitive newsletter

4. Questions to Ask for Content Prioritization

  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?

5. Questions to Ask for Your Initial Battlecards

  1. Please describe the competitor’s product offering.
  2. What are the competitors’ strengths? OR Why are you losing against them?
  3. What are the competitors’ weaknesses? OR Where does this competitor fall short in terms of product? OR Why are you winning against them?
  4. Describe your approach to depositioning this competitor OR How do you position / differentiate from the competitor? OR What are you saying about this competitor?
  5. What is the competitor saying about you? OR Why do we lose to this competitor?
  6. What do your prospects/the market think about the competitor?

If you already have a Battlecard template that you want to fill in, continue on to see our recommended questions to ask for each type of Card.

Looking to enable your revenue teams but don’t yet have a Battlecard template with specific Card Topics? See this guide first ›

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 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

Note: Landmines are ways to exploit and subtly relay competitor weaknesses.

  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 the 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?

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 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 battlecard.

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