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This article is a part of our Competitive Battlecard 101 series – this week we’re featuring the Objection Handling Sales Battlecard. If you haven’t yet, subscribe to our newsletter and we’ll send you sales battlecard templates directly to your inbox as they’re published. To view all of our battlecard templates to date, you can find a running log of the series here.
(Updated on February 26, 2020)
Your competitors are talking sh*t. Whether lies, half-truths or using plain facts to expose your weaknesses, it’s just part of the game. So play, but don’t let them get the upper hand. Your sales team needs tactics and tools to navigate these claims so they come out on top. How? Having a sales battlecard to handle objections for each of your major competitors.
We’ve seen this card referred to as “Objection Handling”, “Objections & Counterpoints”, and “Objections & Reframes.” For our purposes, we will call it the Objection Handling Sales Battlecard. Similar to the Quick Dismiss in intent – to knock out the competition – only the Objection Handling card is used when you are deep in a deal. Whereas, the Quick Dismiss usually finds itself useful at early stage conversations.
The Objection Handling card should include three main elements:
Sometimes you will also want to include actual go-to phrases your team can use when they are in the situation. Especially if your sales team is new or inexperienced. Ideally, though, it is better not to feed them the words so that the seller sounds authentic and truly understands what they are saying.
Below is an example of a simple layout for your Objection Handling Sales Battlecard.
As always, it is recommended to keep the text as concise as possible so that it is easy to read if the seller needs to refer to it quickly. Aim to wrap up the story about this particular competitor as neatly as possible. Then, always link out to additional information or proof points to back up your story.
Building Objection Handling content requires careful consideration and planning. I want to share a tried-and-true 3-step method my team used to that you can start using right away:
There are a few ways to gather intel. Here are a few suggestions:
Listen. Sit in on as many sales calls as you can; write down the objection verbatim AND write down the reps’ responses.
Brainstorm with Your Sales Team. Conduct a whiteboarding session with your sales team. Ask them to write down all the objections they hear from prospects and clients. This is the quickest way to figure out which claims your reps find hard to navigate.
Win-Loss Interviews – When we analyze win-loss data, we look at the following four questions to help guide our understanding of where we’re losing deals:
– What was the prospect’s main pain?
– What was the main reason they chose the competitor?
– What did the competitor say about us?
– What are their concerns moving forward with the competitor?
A wealth of valuable information sits in your Sales team’s demo recordings. Fortunately, you can use these recordings to hear first hand from prospects what competitors are saying about you as well as how your salespeople are responding. Listen to a sample of these recordings and take note of all the claims and objections made, and the responses given.
Once collected, group this information to find themes and commonalities. Identify the facts that support the rep’s responses that were effective. The benefit of this approach is that you’ll start to get a sense of where your sales team is adequately prepped to respond and where they struggle.
Look for commonalities in both what your competitor is saying about you, and the main reasons why they are winning deals. Together, these themes can surface the common objections and issues your salespeople need to navigate.
It’s also important to consider what types of prospects you’re losing deals to in deals that didn’t go your way. For example, you might notice through this exercise that your lost deals tend to be with smaller companies whose priority pain you aren’t best suited to serve in your market. This sort of information might mean you should tweak your prospecting efforts to find better-suited accounts, to improve your chances of closing from the outset.
Alternate Step 3 – when the facts don’t support the response, go ask the sales manager for help coming up with a new way to handle the objection. As long as you’re not doing this during quarter-end, they’re usually more than happy to help. Ultimately It’s only going to improve their win rates.
Finally, it’s time to craft strategies to counter the claims your competitors are making.
The Objection Handling battlecard is part of our ongoing series Competitive Battlecards 101.
Next up in our series will be the “Competitive Traps” card. Subscribe to the series and we’ll send you a new card each week(ish) so you can start building your library of competitive strategies.
Klue spoke with experts who have been a part of hundreds of competitive deal cycles to recount the most memorable ones of their careers.
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