The business world is more competitive than ever. Some 8 out of 10 businesses say their industry has gotten more competitive in recent years.
To improve conversions and grow revenue streams, your sales team needs the best tools available. They need the knowledge and resources to identify and target the right leads, and they need to have a process in place to manage their sales pipeline efficiently.
But even with all of that in place, one more key ingredient will make or break their success: effective sales battle cards. Have you ever wondered how some salespeople seem to have all the right answers at just the right time? Sales battle cards are likely part of their secret sauce.
But let's back up for a second. What exactly are these cards?
What are sales battle cards?
Sales battle cards are a handy tool that salespeople can use to quickly reference key points about their products, services and company in general.
They typically include a list of features and benefits, key differentiators, common objections and how to overcome them, and anything else that would be helpful in a sales conversation. The goal of a sales battle card is to help the salesperson be better prepared and more knowledgeable about their product or service to close more deals.
But just how effective are these cards? Well, according to last year’s State of Competitive Intelligence Report, more than 70% of businesses that use them report increased sales. How can you leverage sales battle cards in your business?
Elements of a strong sales battle card
A sales battle card can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. The structure and template of your sales battle card entirely depend on what works for your business, customers and sales team.
Some people store their sales battle cards in their customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, while others save them in an accessible local file.
You can always change and update your sales battle cards as you see fit, so try out different techniques and formats. However, certain elements are essential for every sales battle card, no matter what. Let’s examine a few of them…
A compelling value proposition
No matter how much you know about your product or services' strengths or your competitor's weaknesses, it will only matter if the customer sees your value in their lives.
If you give customers a compelling value proposition, you're already getting them halfway in. After that, they need a push to be convinced that they should purchase with you. Hence, it's paramount that you take the time to craft your value proposition.
You can do it in three easy steps:
- First, it should be based on well-researched customer insights and market analysis to understand the target market's wants and needs.
- Second, it should be short but encapsulate both the benefit and uniqueness of your business.
- Lastly, your whole brand should champion your value proposition so that customers can easily grasp what you're selling to them.
Write a few different versions and test them out on your sales team to see what works best.
Your edge against competitors
Customers must understand why they should pick your company over others in the market. Simply listing off a bunch of features is not going to be enough. You need to focus on the emotional side of their decision-making.
Your battle card should tell a story that distinguishes you from your competitors. Each sales battle card is usually made to "battle" a specific competitor. To do this effectively, you need to know your competitor well - from their products and services to their strategies and tactics.
With an in-depth competitor analysis, you'll be able to compile such data and find where you have an advantage. Of course, using strategy analysis tools such as SWOT Analysis would be useful too. When you list down all your competitors' strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, you can compare and analyze how you have an edge.
Short yet impactful supporting points
Once you have the customer's attention with your value proposition and edge against competitors, it's time to give them some concrete points about your product or service.
Keep your supporting points short and sweet - no one wants to read a long sales pitch. Often, salespeople will only be able to interact with a potential customer for a short period, so they have to immediately whip out their sales tactics when needed.
But if they can scan the most significant facts from the sales battle cards, they can deliver them to the customer clearly and concisely.
Top tips when using sales battle cards
Now that you know how to create strong sales battle cards, it's time to learn how to use them. Using them is a skill in itself, and here are a couple of tips that will help you master it:
1. Train your sales team
Your sales battle cards will only be as good as the sales team using them. It would be best if you provided them with the necessary training so that they can learn how to use the sales battle cards effectively.
Provide them with scenarios of interacting with customers so they know which sales battle cards they should refer to and which information they should highlight. And it should be clear where they can lift the answers to common customer questions and concerns, as well as how they can keep the conversation flowing toward an actual sale.
Your sales team should also know how to document and record the usage of the sales battle cards so that you're updated on their wins and losses. If you can track the results, you can check if your sales battle cards are meeting your sales goals or if they're lacking information which resulted in an unsuccessful sale.
2. Don't overwhelm your customer
One important thing you should always keep in mind is that battle cards are there to guide your salespeople, not overwhelm the customer with too much information. The customer's attention span is limited, so don't bombard them with everything at once.
Sales battle cards should only be brought out when needed - for example, when the customer has a specific objection or concern. The salesperson can then use the card to address the issue directly and effectively.
You should always study your target market and understand their needs. If you already have a lead, take the time to research them before making a connection. Then, you'll be able to anticipate their concerns and prepare for their questions.
3. Review, update and improve your sales battle cards
No rule says your sales battle cards are set in stone. They're flexible and should be reviewed, updated, and improved regularly.
It would help if you always were on the lookout for new information about your product or service, as well as your competitors. As you learn more, you can update your sales battle cards accordingly.
Getting feedback from your sales team about the sales battle cards is also essential. They're the ones using them, so they know better what works and doesn't. After every sales call, they should record their thoughts and observations for a few minutes.
You can also use some expert help.
A good place to start is getting Fractional Directors in the field of sales, marketing and strategy on your Board of Directors. They won't be as costly as a full-time hire, but you'll be able to get sound strategic advice fit for what your business and team need.
Closing thoughts: Leverage the tools you have
An average salesperson has a lot of tools at their disposal. However, a vast majority of them are underutilized. One of the most powerful sales tools is undoubtedly the sales battle card.
It's a simple and straightforward way to guide your sales team and close more deals. When used correctly, battle cards can give you the edge over your competitors, help you win more customers and drive more sales.
So if you're not using them already, now is the time to start. Train your sales team, review and update your cards regularly and see how they can help you close more deals.