If you want your competitive battle cards to have more impact — to be a resource that sales will love — take a step back and consider this.

Your ultimate goal is to better influence potential buyers. So who better than the person who’s just had that buying experience to help you decide what to say in the battlecard, and how to say it?

Make recent buyers your primary data source.

Debriefing buyers from recently closed opportunities (won and lost) is the most impactful change you can make to your process for battle card development.

How Does Direct Input From Buyers Make Battlecards Better?

By incorporating the buyer’s perspective and experience you can:

    • Simplify and shorten your battlecards by focusing on the criteria that buyers actually use to make decisions.
    • Really and truly know where your whole product is strong—and where it’s weak—and arm sales to confidently address the pros and cons of your offering compared to a competitor’s.
    • Find out how well competitors’ claims stand up to buyers’ assessments.
    • Customize your battlecards for ICP segments (eg, vertical markets, etc) that consider different competitors and decision criteria.
    • Communicate with buyers using the specialized words, phrases, and metrics of their vertical markets.
    • Match battlecard content to the decision stages in the buying journey, so sellers can find relevant points at a glance.

5 Tips For Debriefing Buyers And Using Their Input To Improve Your Battle Cards

Here are five tips for collecting and analyzing the data you’ll need from buyers.

1. Use buyer interviews to quickly arm sales against one key competitor

A set of ten to twenty buyer interviews (half won, half lost) will quickly tell you both “how” and “why” buyers select you or the competitor in these matchups. Interviews, analysis, and reporting on 10-20 deals can be completed in 4-8 weeks.

2. Survey buyers to stay up-to-date on how your competitive set is adapting and changing over time

Weaknesses can become strengths, and strengths turn into weaknesses, as competitors evolve their products and go-to-market and your own offering evolves. And new competitors can quickly emerge and gain share. A win/loss survey is the most efficient way to keep up with buyers’ evolving perceptions of the market.

3. Combine a buyer survey with buyer interviews for a “mixed methods” design

Using a qualitative and quantitative methodology together allows you to both track trends efficiently and “deep dive” into emerging market opportunities or risks. For example, to get insight into how buyers perceive the improved capabilities that a competitor has just launched, interview champions from several opportunities you’ve recently Closed/Won and Closed/Lost. You can pinpoint the opportunities that included this competitor in their consideration set with survey responses or your CRM.

4. Use a journey metaphor to debrief buyers

This will make your battlecards easier to navigate by matching the content to the stages in the buying process. Sales can then quickly find and raise issues with buyers when they’re most impactful, because decision criteria evolve as the buying process proceeds. For example, short list decisions usually give more weight to product capabilities and initial pricing. Then factors like cultural fit, risk, contracting, and final price, of course, are incorporated to decide between short listed vendors.

5. Create custom battlecards for ICP segments that make buying decisions differently

By collecting data about many, if not most, of your deals, a win-loss analysis survey provides enough coverage of each ICP segment to support custom battlecards. This is important because a life sciences buyer will consider different criteria and competitors than a high tech buyer or a buyer in financial services. The same may be said about market segment (enterprise vs mid-market) and geography. Your battlecards should reflect the varying decision criteria, lingo, and consideration sets of your ICPs.

Incorporating Primary Data From Buyers Can Be The Most Impactful Change You Can Make

Who better than other buyers to help you decide what to say in a competitive battlecard, and how to say it?

Incorporating primary data from buyers into your battlecard process can be the most impactful change you make.

It can be done quickly on a competitor-by-competitor basis with buying interviews. Or more comprehensively over the long term with a buyer survey.