To sell effectively, your sales team needs to be able to access key information about your offerings and competitors as quickly as possible.
Sales battle cards give your sales reps all the information they need to gain a competitive edge, address customer concerns and land more sales.
In this article, we explain what sales battle cards are and how they help sales teams sell more. We also cover how to make the most effective sales battle cards.
What are sales battle cards?
Sales battle cards are sales enablement tools that help sales representatives sell against a specific competitor (or multiple competitors).
They are concise reference documents (or cheat sheets) that provide sales teams with key information about their company’s products or services as well as the competitive landscape.
Sales battle cards are usually easily-scannable one-page documents, which can be physical print-outs or digital. They help sales representatives overcome sales objections effectively, highlight product strengths and position their offerings against competitors to win deals.
For example, you might find that a particular competitor or objection keeps coming up in conversation. Sales battle cards can give your team the edge they need to convince the customer your offering is the best choice.
Here’s a sales battle card example template:
6 ways sales battle cards help sales teams close more deals
Sales battle cards serve as a quick reference guide for sales reps who must respond to customer inquiries or pitch their products effectively. Here are six ways battle guides help sales teams persuade a prospect to close the deal.
Battle cards make sales teams more consistent
Battle cards in sales ensure that reps have access to up-to-date information about products, services and competitors. Companies can then maintain a unified sales strategy, ensuring a consistent customer experience and avoiding confusion or contradictions.
According to Crayon’s State of Competitive Intelligence Report, 71% of businesses that use sales battle cards report improved win rates.
Battle cards make sales reps more confident
Sales reps armed with battle cards offering comprehensive knowledge about their company’s offerings can show more confidence during sales conversations. As a result, they can address objections, highlight strengths and position their products as the best solution for customers’ needs.
Battle cards increase efficiency
Sales battle cards provide quick access to essential information, helping reps find relevant details during interactions. This process saves valuable time spent searching for information or attempting to remember key points. It also enables reps to focus more on building relationships and nurturing customers through the sales funnel.
Battle cards give a competitive advantage
Sales reps can use battle cards to get valuable insights into competitors’ strengths, weaknesses and positioning strategies.
With this knowledge, reps can differentiate their offerings and highlight unique value propositions that give them an advantage. As a result, they can better address customer concerns or objections raised by competing solutions, increasing their chances of winning deals.
Battle cards make training easier
Sales battle cards serve as a valuable tool for onboarding new sales team members, providing them with an overview of products and competitors.
They’re also a helpful tool for ongoing sales training, enabling sales reps to learn and adapt their sales tactics continuously based on real-time market intelligence and customer feedback.
For example, battle cards can help your team stay informed about new players shaping the competitive landscape.
Battle cards improve customer engagement
Competitive battle cards help sales reps engage in meaningful conversations with customers. By understanding pain points, market trends and competitor offerings, reps can tailor their sales pitch effectively to address specific customer needs.
This process improves the chances of closing deals because you can show prospects how your offerings will solve their problems and address their pain points.
What do you put in your sales battle cards?
Battle cards can be a powerful tool for sales teams but must be well thought out. There’s a range of information that you could include, but not all of it will help your sales team convince a prospect to buy.
Below, we’ll share an extensive list of topics you could include in your battle cards. Keep in mind that you don’t need to include all this information in a single battle card. Most likely, it’ll be better to have a small deck of battle cards.
For instance, you might have a few different types of battle cards, like an in-depth competitor battle card, detailed product battle cards, cards for FAQs and customer concerns or cards for specific product features and messaging.
Some key topics to include in your sales battle cards are:
Product information: Provide a detailed description of the product or service, including its features, functionality, benefits and your value propositions.
Competitor analysis and key differentiators: Highlight your main competitors, their strengths and weaknesses and how your product compares to theirs.
Objection handling: Anticipate common objections that arise during sales calls and provide effective responses to address them.
Pricing and packaging: Provide clear information about your product’s pricing structure, packages and any discounts or promotions that may be available. You may also want to provide pricing information for your competitors. This information helps sales reps compare pricing models and negotiate deals.
Use cases and success stories: Include real-life scenarios or case studies that demonstrate how your product or service solved customer problems and delivered value. With this information in hand, sales reps can easily illustrate the benefits of your offering.
Sales messaging and pitches: Outline key selling points and messages that sales reps can use to effectively pitch your product or service. Examples include crafting persuasive messaging that resonates with your target audience and addressing pain points.
Some battle cards will contain additional information to support a new sales team or help with training. These sections are more “nice-to-haves.”
You could also include the following information if it helps improve your sales processes:
Target customers: Identify the ideal buyer persona for your product or service. This customer profile includes demographic information and pain points that your product can address. You can adjust your messaging and approach based on this target group’s needs and preferences.
Market analysis: Include information about the market landscape, including market size, growth trends and key competitors. These details help sales reps understand the market dynamics and position your product effectively.
Sales process and resources: Provide guidance on the sales process, including recommended steps and best practices for engaging with prospects. Also include any resources or tools that can support the sales team’s efforts, like marketing material, demos or customer testimonials.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs): Compile a list of commonly asked questions and provide well-crafted responses. Easily accessible responses equip sales reps with the knowledge and confidence they need to address customer concerns proactively.
Customer references: You could include a list of satisfied customers who are willing to serve as references. Such a list allows sales reps to leverage social proof and share success stories to build trust with potential customers.
With a deck of battle cards like this, your sales reps will be able to find the information they need quickly rather than scanning through a long document.
How to create effective sales battle cards
Now that you know what goes into sales battle cards, it’s time to design your own. Here’s what to do:
1. Customize or create a battle card template
Creating a sales enablement battle card can be time-consuming, so it’s often better to use a sales battle card template.
If you’d rather create your own from scratch, use a clear and user-friendly design so your salespeople can access the information instantly.
We’ll cover how to maintain your card’s clarity as you add information later on.
2. Define the key purpose and goals
The first step in laying out your battle cards is to define their purpose and the specific goals you want to achieve. Keep in mind you’ll likely end up creating more than one battle card, so consider each offering and competitor individually (unless they’re similar enough to combine into one battle card).
For example, if you’re selling a productivity app, your primary purpose might be to:
Equip sales reps with the knowledge and tools needed to position and sell your app effectively
Counter objections and highlight your app’s advantages over key competitors
Create a new battle card for an emerging competitor
It’s a good idea to talk to your salespeople and sales leaders. Ask them about their challenges and how a battle card might help.
For instance, you might find that:
Newer salespeople are struggling to understand your value propositions and sell effectively to different audiences
Your reps are losing out to a specific competitor frequently
One of your offerings is complicated, so your reps are struggling to remember key details and benefits
Based on these challenges, you’ll start to get a feel for what kind of information you need to include in each battle card. You’ll also be able to derive specific goals for your battle cards. Some examples might include:
Increasing sales for a specific product by 10% over the next quarter
Increasing win rate in a key vertical by 5%
Reducing onboarding time for new sales reps by eight hours
3. Identify your target audience
With your challenges and goals in mind, it’s time to work out which customer segment your battle cards will target. Knowing this is critical for identifying the best messaging that aligns with their preferences.
Each battle card should target a specific group of potential customers. The most relevant use cases, pain points and key features will change depending on who your salespeople are talking to.
Using our TaskMaster example in the sample battle card above, you might have two primary groups of customers – freelancers and project managers.
For freelancers, the major benefit of the TaskMaster productivity app is to improve time tracking for different projects. Whereas for project managers, the major selling point is collaboration tools for managing teams and tracking task progress.
Map out the audiences that your salespeople spend time selling to and create a card unique to each group.
4. Conduct detailed competitor research
Sales battle cards need to be highly targeted and concise to be effective. Battle cards with vague or broad information won’t help anyone close more sales. You need to focus on the specifics.
Start by collecting relevant and up-to-date information about your company’s offerings and the competitive landscape. Then make a list of all your competitors and rank them in terms of how often they impact your bottom line.
This process involves conducting in-depth market research and value chain analysis while getting input from subject matter experts (SMEs) within your organization.
Gathering relevant information from your sales reps and SMEs is vital since they will have firsthand knowledge of which competitors to target. For example, a particular company may always win the business they’re after.
When conducting research, here are some things to look for:
Detailed competitor product information and pricing models (often found on the competitor’s website)
Online reviews that discuss key strengths and weaknesses of your competitor’s products (and your own)
How people are talking about your company and its competitors on social media
Information about your competitor’s marketing campaigns and how successful or unsuccessful they’ve been in the past
You should now have a bird’s-eye view of how your product relates to the competition. In the next step, you’ll decide on the key factors to include in your battle cards to give your sales reps the winning advantage.
5. Describe unique selling points and competitive advantages
The next part of creating your sales battle cards is figuring out particular focus areas where your product excels over your competitors. For example, you might focus on things like the cost to the customer, key features, usability or customer service.
Don’t focus on factors that don’t differentiate your product. For example, if you price your product and your competitor’s product similarly, there’s no point in adding that to the battle card.
Instead, focus on the things that highlight how your product is better, like if there’s a reason customers love your product more than a competing one.
If there are areas where your competitor is better than you, make sure to address them and provide explanations and counterexamples. That way, if a customer has an objection or question, your reps can respond effectively.
Next, organize the gathered information into easily digestible sections within the template. Ensure the content is logical and intuitive, making it easy for sales reps to navigate and find the information they need quickly.
Here’s what to look for:
Key features that differentiate your product from the competition
Significant pricing differences to address sales pricing questions
Additional services like 24/7 customer support influence a customer’s buying decision
Pain points that your offerings solve
Common “aha” moments that convert prospects
Major or common customer objections that arise in sales conversations
6. Draft your messaging
Now that you’ve gathered all the details and outlined the main things to address, it’s time to draft the messaging. At this stage, you simply want to get words on paper. In the next step, we’ll fine-tune the messaging and perfect your battle cards.
Here are some tips to consider when drafting your battle cards:
Use bullet points and lists: Bullet points help keep information brief and to the point, which helps reps find the information they need quickly. They also organize your battle cards and reduce the space you need.
Use conversational language: Remember your sales reps will be using these documents during pitches and conversations with sales prospects. A conversational tone will help them stay on message consistently.
Provide evidence and examples: Whenever you highlight a benefit or feature, it’s good practice to include a case study, customer quote or sales metric that backs up your point. Using this technique will make your propositions far more persuasive.
7. Make your battle cards concise and clear
At this point, your sales battle cards might be a bit of a mess. You’ve included a stack of information, so it’s time to narrow it down to the key points.
The trick is to avoid overwhelming sales reps with too much information or a cluttered document. Keep the content concise, focusing on the most important and relevant details. Use clear and straightforward language to ensure easy comprehension.
Next, you could consider adding visuals, graphics or diagrams to reinforce key points and make the information more engaging and memorable. Visuals can help sales reps understand complex concepts quickly or differentiate between products and competitors.
Finally, have the sales battle card tools reviewed by subject matter experts, sales managers and other key stakeholders. Have them validate the information to ensure it aligns with the latest market trends, product updates and competitive insights.
8. Distribute your cards and drive adoption
If your company has never used sales battle cards before, getting your sales team to use them might be a challenge. But ensuring organizational buy-in for your battle cards is essential if you want them to be effective.
Here are some ways to drive adoption at your company:
Train your staff: Conduct training sessions to educate the sales team on how to use the sales battle cards effectively. Communicate the purpose, content and key takeaways clearly to ensure sales reps have a thorough understanding of the information.
Make your cards accessible: If you have multiple battle cards, your sales reps need to find the one they want as quickly as possible. You could color-code physical cards or store digital cards in a searchable content management platform, then categorize them with tags and headers so they’re easily discoverable.
Seek feedback: In addition to tracking usage, it’s important to get your sales reps’ feedback on the battle cards. Ask their opinions regularly and add or fine-tune card elements as needed.
9. Update your battle cards when necessary
You’ll need to update sales battle cards regularly to reflect changes in the market, product offerings and the competitive landscape. Treating your cards as an ongoing project is crucial.
Set aside time to run through the steps above and update your cards when elements become outdated.
How often you do this will depend on the market. If it’s a fairly slow market, every six months to a year might be often enough. But in a rapidly evolving market, you might need to update your cards every quarter to stay on top of new competitors and product updates.
The added benefit of this is that it helps you maintain an up-to-date understanding of your competitors and the market landscape.
Encourage ongoing feedback from sales reps to ensure the battle cards remain effective and address any evolving needs or challenges in the sales process.