It’s not breaking news that buyer expectations have changed. And because of this, it’s forced sales teams to change how they sell.
Sales people no longer hold all of the cards when it comes to access to information about a product or service—not with Google around. Today, people spend less time talking to companies, and more time researching on their own. In fact “any given sales rep has roughly 5% of a customer’s total purchase time” according to Gartner. The rest of their time is used on internal discussions and research.
So, your sales reps need to be ready to address questions, concerns, and be the experts across the competitive landscape when they’ve got a prospect’s attention.
That’s where battlecards come in.
Sales battlecards provide the information your sales team needs on calls in order to have more productive conversations that move the deal forward.
Effective battlecards need to be an “at-a-glance” reference that can help quickly and effectively respond to common customer objections and questions about competitors.
They usually feature some combination of the following:
While skeptics might claim these tools to be just another piece of sales enablement collateral collecting dust, they're a proven method for helping sales teams win deals.
According to a survey of over 1,000 sales enablement and competitive intelligence professionals, 63% enable their sellers with competitive battlecards and a healthy subset of that bunch believe that they’ve increased their win rate as a result.
Creating effective battlecards that will actually set your sales team up for success is a lot more than cobbling together existing assets and cramming them into one page. Building even one effective battlecard involves a lot of moving parts and digesting a huge amount of information.
A great battlecard is:
If you’re thinking about crafting your own sales battle card, here are a few best practices to keep in mind.
Battlecards must be lean.
While it’d be great to include every single competitor on a battlecard, it’s simply too much information to be useful. Instead, ask your sales reps which competitors come up in conversation most often. You can even go through your CRM to see what competitors you're losing to most frequently. From there, narrow down the list to the top two or three and focus on those first.
Should there be a need for more, create a separate battlecard that can be referenced when the need arises. You’re not limited to just a single battlecard. 56% of software companies say they maintain at least 10 battlecards according to research conducted by Crayon.
An effective battlecard starts with a good template.
Since these pieces of collateral are meant to be quick references, it’s helpful to start with a template that includes areas for a few key points:
Our friends over at Hubspot, Gong, and Klue have some great templates to get you started. It goes without saying, but adapt these templates to fit your team’s needs.
There’s a famous quote attributed to President Lincoln: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
That should also be your approach to research.
To start off, take a dive into closed-lost reasons in your CRM and understand common reasons:
This information can be pulled from a wide range of people across sales, marketing, customer support, and customer success teams. You should also take a look at review sites like G2 to understand where your competitors fall short (and where you thrive).
You should also spend time listening in on sales calls and hearing first hand what sorts of questions prospects ask. Think of this like you’re building an FAQ to help your sales team prepare for common objections that are likely to come up in a call.
Much like sharpening the axe, this will likely be the most time-consuming part of the process but is one that will set your team up for the most success.
Now that you’ve done all the research, it’s time to sit down and do the actual writing. Our advice: don’t write sentences packed with fluff.
Be concise and clear.
You should also ensure that the information isn’t just accurate, but usable too.
When building your battle cards, aim for:
The easier it is for people to review and retain the information presented on the battlecards, the more likely they are to actually use it on calls.
A friendly reminder that these battlecards don’t just need to be used by the sales team, they’re also a great resource for marketing too. Make sure you’re repurposing this content as far as it can go.
That might include things like
Cold emails: Use the content to write high-converting sales emails that clearly address the pain points of your target audience.
Let’s use an actual example: You’re selling the idea that pineapple on pizza is delicious while your competitor is vehemently anti-pineapple.
Using Chat by Copy.ai, we can kick off the preliminary steps to our research process using the following prompt: "Write an argument for why pineapple is a great pizza topping. Use a bulleted list."
The point of this exercise is to just get a jumping off point for starting your battlecards. In other words, no blank page woes.
(Disclaimer: I don’t have an official stance on this matter that I’m willing to share publicly). 👀
Jokes aside, let’s dig into actually exploring how AI can fast-track the research process and even get a solid first draft of a battlecard within minutes.
For this example, let’s assume you're on the sales team at Microsoft on the Azure Cloud functions team. The process for building a battlecard using AI looks a bit like this:
We said before that research will likely be the most time-consuming part of the process. Using AI, getting your initial research done can literally take seconds. All it takes is a prompt like the one below. A really great plus here as well is that Copy.ai will actually surf the web and provide you with the sources it used to come up with its answer, helping you take your content and research that much farther.
While scraping existing information off the entire web will get you started, it’s too broad of a data set to get as exacting of information that a battlecard needs. Think about how you'd approach giving a junior employee this task. Would you just say "build a competitive battlecard against AWS Lambda" or would you provide some guardrails to help them be successful?
That’s why it’s important to go deeper and feed it the exact information you’re looking for.
In the next prompt, we ask Copy.ai to list out the main capabilities of Azure Functions using their main product landing page. Getting a summarized list of capabilities of your competitors have will make it easier for you to understand where you stand against them (and how you can win).
That being said, there might not always be a website or landing page to work off of. Certain tools allow you to feed in transcripts from customer or sales calls, messaging docs, or product information. In short, the more information and context an AI writing tool has, the more on-point the output will be.
Think of it this way: When you assign someone on your team a task, the more direction you give them, the more likely they'll be to succeed on the first try.
With most “chat”-type AI interfaces, the platform isn’t actually remembering everything it says. The longer the conversation goes on, the more information it has to pull from to give better and better responses. Just as we build knowledge over time within a conversation, so does Chat.
Once you’ve asked it to pull in information from the web and layered in whatever information you’ve sourced yourself, it’s time to put everything together. You can do this by entering a prompt like the one below to compile everything into a competitive analysis.
At this point, you'll have a lot of core information to work off of and put into the format of your choosing.
If you’ve followed up until this point, then you probably have a pretty good overview of how you compete or how pitch one versus the other. Instead of taking six or seven rounds of revisions involving every part of the Revenue org, you can instead take a few steps with maybe one round of review—massively cutting down on the time invested.
“If someone on your sales team is working six deals right now” Crayon observed in their study on sales enablement, “Chances are four of them are competitive—at least.”
By creating a collection of sales battlecards, you can support your sales teams as they look to win as many of those four as possible.
The process does take work. After all, you need to have a deep understanding of your market, your competitors, your offerings, and your target customers' needs. But by leveraging tools capable of delivering up-to-date responses or scrape competitors websites (like Chat by Copy.AI for instance), you can lighten the load.
Then you’ll be on your way to building effective sales battlecards and equipping your sales teams with a tool that’ll make a big difference in winning deals and driving revenue.
Try out Chat by Copy.AI today and get started building those battlecards within minutes.
Write 10x faster, engage your audience, & never struggle with the blank page again.