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Battlecards

The Five Most Important Things I Learned About Battlecards

It’ll come as no surprise to you that a degree in political science and a diploma in journalism hasn’t taught me anything about buiding battlecards. 

So when I was tasked with producing Klue’s first-ever battlecard course, I responded with everyone’s favourite four-letter word:

Help.

Lucky for me, I’m surrounded by expert battlecard builders. Builders who have created thousands of battlecards for hundreds of clients. 

So I put on my best journalist hat and interviewed them all — including some of our customers and industry experts. 

And here are the top five most important things I learned from the battlecard builders themselves.

battlecard examples

You don’t need more battlecards, you need better ones

We’ve all fallen into the trap of delivering deliverables just for the sake of it. 

But someone’s gotta break the chain of needless deliverables.

When I started working on this project, I asked my battlecard building colleagues a well-intentioned but errant question:

“What are the 15 most important battlecard topics?”

The truth is, there’s no magic number for battlecards. And the content you choose to build depends on a bunch of different variables.

Instead, focus on these three points:

  • Who is my primary audience? (product, sales, marketing)
  • What content do they need (pricing, objection handling, how to spot them)
  • Who are my primary competitors? 

The first question sets you up to build content for the intended audience. The second one helps direct your attention to what kinds of content are needed. And the third helps you prioritize which competitors to start with. 

Follow these steps and you’ll set yourself up to avoid building content just for the sake of it. 

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Your cards should tell a story, not make a point

You’re not a lawyer. You’re a storyteller. 

Feature-function comparisons are all about making points. We have this feature so ours is the better solution for you. 

But what you should be doing is positioning your solution as the best solution through a narrative woven throughout the entire sales cycle. 

As Klue’s Director of Data Insights, and resident battlecard boss, Dave Washer puts it:

“When we look at content that has been built in terms of competing over the history, it always boils down to these bullet point lists that folks are supposed to use for quick reference.”

This might work for a veteran seller. But good luck trying to get a newer seller up to speed with a few short bullet points. 

Instead, shift your thinking to:

  • Why is this important? 
  • How do we address it?
  • And what are the proof points that we can provide that will solve it? 

The world of battlecards is one of nuance. Embrace it. 

The best intel is internal intel

So many competitive intelligence tools think their only job is collect external intel. That is to say, intel from public-facing sources like websites, press releases, news article and social media. 

Important pieces of the puzzle they are.

But the best intel — the kind that helps you win more deals and grow your business — comes from internal sources. 

That’s why the best compete professionals scour their internal messaging channels, shared emails, and CRM data for intel shared by your colleagues. 

(Or they just let Klue do it for them!)

Building a culture of compete and intel sharing won’t happen overnight. But here are things you can act on right away:

  • Set up a dedicated internal intel sharing channel
  • Engage with messages in that channel to ask probing questions and thank your colleagues for sharing
  • Create an competitive intel newsletter and share it consistently
  • And in those newsletters, give lots of shoutouts and kudos to those who are actively sharing intel. 

Beyond those points, the best thing you can do is choose a competitive platform that brings in internal intel and stores it in one centralized location.

I know just the platform!

Outdated battlecards = competitive death

Okay that header is a little dramatic. 

But it speaks to just how important the reliability of your battlecard content really is. 

Reliability boils down to two main factors:

  • Is your content fresh and up to date? 
  • Is your content accurate? 

The good news is you have complete control over both these elements. 

The bad news is, if you aren’t diligent in these two factors, you’ll erode all trust in your competitive content and your compete program more generally. 

In fact, it’s issue number one when it comes to battlecard building according to Datto’s Director of Competitive Intelligence Dustin Ray. 

“If it’s out of date and not updated, you’re dead in the water. It’s the number one failure.” 

That’s why Dustin and his team set up weekly meetings with important stakeholders (CS, PM, Sales) and review new information that might make its way onto a battlecard. 

This isn’t a deep dive — those happen twice a year for all tier-one competitors. 

But the weekly meetings provide a forum for intel sharing and verification. 

Because if your seller uses outdated intel that you included on a battlecard, you might have lost that seller for life. 

How you structure your card is almost as important as the content in it

Content and structure work hand in glove. 

It won’t get used if your content is strong but structured like a Great Wall of Writing.

So rule number one is don’t ever create battlecards containing huge walls of text. 

Use tiles, headers, and links to other competitive content to fill out your battlecards. 

The next rule is all about following the Know. Say. Show method of battlecard building. And it’s one you should start following today. 

Ask yourself these three questions:

  • What do my reps need to KNOW to shift a customer or prospect’s thinking? 
  • What do they need to actually SAY to make that happen?
  • And how do they SHOW the evidence to back up their statement?

A Know Say Show example taken from real life

The Know. Say. Show. method is the foundation for your ‘competitive play’. 

And it will serve you as you build virtually every battlecard imaginable. 

Battlecard building is a practice

Conducting a dozen or so interviews about battlecards hasn’t made me an expert. 

And as I did more and more interviews, I realized the experts I interviewed didn’t self-identify as experts. 

That’s because building battlecards is a continual process. As markets shift, the cards you need today might differ from the first ones you built. 

What’s more, the competitors that once posed the biggest threat to your business can move up or down the priority scale quarter by quarter. 

But the five things I learned above are evergreen. 

  • Be intentional with which battlecards you build
  • Think about your battlecards as telling the story of the solution you offer
  • Source intel from internal sources
  • Keep your cards updated (!!!)
  • Structure your content using the Know. Say. Show. method. 

Get a handle on these five tips, and you’re on your way to building better battlecards. 

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