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How To Use Sales Battlecards To Win Deals Across Your Team🛡

Sales
Written by
David Levy

This guide covers how to use sales battlecards, a sales enablement tool that gives you an edge against competitors.

If you’re among the 90% of businesses that noticed a rise in competition in the past 3 years, you’re probably hungry for answers to these questions:

  1. Who are the competitors in my market? 
  2. How do I stop them from taking my deals?  

You can keep those answers at your fingertips by creating sales battlecards, practical and efficient tools that keep businesses ahead of the competition. 

Sales battlecards contain product information, company value propositions, competitor analysis, and digestible go-to-market strategies your sales reps can use on demand to distinguish your company from competitors. 

Even better, updating and studying sales battlecards on an ongoing basis will show you how you can improve your business (regardless of what your competitors are doing). 

Table of contents:

What Are Sales Battlecards & How Do You Use Them?

A highly valuable sales resource, Sales battlecards are competitor summaries that reps can use to win deals.

Sales battlecards are living documents that contain the latest information on your business and competition, including the following: 

  • FAQs
  • Sales questions 
  • Customer profiles 
  • Company value proposition
  • Objection handling protocols
  • Product and pricing information 
  • Competitor product comparison 
  • Competitor reports and analysis
  • Statistical numbers that back up company claims 

If compiling that information sounds like work, check out this 2021 Competitive Intelligence Report finding: 71% of businesses report improved sales wins because of sales battlecards.

Sales battlecards shine because the information is concise, easily digestible, and customizable based on your sales goals. 

Useful sales battlecards contain the following formatting elements for enhanced readability: 

  • Bullet points 
  • Bite-sized information
  • Clear headings separating sections
  • Color-coded sections for easy navigation 

Here’s an example to help you visualize the benefits of sales battlecards:

Think about the newest rep on your team. 

Imagine how that team member might handle a demanding customer with many objections. Odds are, your rep will leave that conversation without the sale (and with depleted morale). 

Now imagine that this new hire is looking at a sales battlecard during the call. When this tough customer makes objections, your novice rep can scan the section on objection protocols and give the customer winning answers. 

When you arm your reps with sales battlecards outlining proper protocols, they can satisfy customer objections, resulting in a 64% success rate.  

Sales battlecards can be generic, but the most effective ones align with a specific sales playbook

For example, you can create competitive battlecards by product line, industry, customer persona, or sales motion. 

Say you’re a SaaS startup. Create a sales battlecard on the most threatening competitor in your niche that includes the following information:

  • Silver bullets 
  • Landmines to set for their business
  • Objection handling
  • Customer wins
  • Their pricing

When a lead contacts one of your reps using that competitor as a negotiating point, your rep can pull up the sales playbook and this product-specific battlecard to respond swiftly and confidently.  

What’s the takeaway?

Sales battlecards contain everything your reps need to know about your company, product, competition, and market so they can convert leads into customers.  

Why Sales Battlecards Are Valuable

Sales teams face unprecedented competition, fluctuating marketing trends, and customers who demand convenience, speed, and comfort. 

Sales battlecards address these challenges, giving reps immediate access to updated information and protocols.     

Here are 3 things sales battlecards have the potential to do for your organization.

  1. Improve sales effectiveness

93% of businesses using battlecards see an over 20% win rate increase. 


New competitors are flooding most markets (especially high-tech industries like cloud, AI, and cybersecurity) at a record-breaking pace.

Identifying emerging competitors, staying on top of new features from existing competitors, and distributing this information throughout your sales department is an arduous task, but failing to meet it can negatively impact sales effectiveness. 

Battlecards solve this problem. 

Monthly updated battlecards give your sales team an accurate view of the competitive landscape in one accessible, readable resource they can use during calls. 

The battlecards allow your reps to practice and implement sales angles that position your product as the go-to option in a sea of competitors. 

As your reps use the battlecards to build their knowledge of your company, customers, and the competition, their results will improve your sales effectiveness, and your KPIs will reflect those results. 

  1. Keep your go-to-market team up to date

Today’s world is virtual. 

Gone are the days when your sales team could learn from overhearing other sales calls, impromptu discussions, or tapping a subject matter expert on the shoulder.

“What about training your team with video?”

That can work occasionally, but it’s not ideal given the amount of time your reps spend on Zoom talking to prospects. 

Easy-to-digest, dynamic battlecards are the present moment resources your team needs.

These sales enablement tools are versatile and adaptable, perfect solutions for remote sales conference calls. 

Battlecards contain updates on product information, competitive FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt), and customer wins, providing reps with the information they need when they need it.

As time goes on, you can improve your battlecards by incorporating feedback from Account Executives, Product Marketing, Sales Enablement, and Sales Leadership based on the sales playbook.

  1. Allow reps to improve the buyer experience

Given that 63% of customers say the best brands exceed their expectations, sales battlecards are invaluable for reps throughout the customer journey.

Customers want 4 things when they interact with a business:

  • A great experience 
  • The right product 
  • Transparency & proper expectation setting
  • Competence on behalf of the salesperson 

The buyer experience plays an insurmountable role in deal wins, but it’s an area where businesses can easily flounder. 

Many customers exit sales calls confused about service offerings, unsure of the sales rep, and angry at the company.  

Sales battlecards give your reps ammo to overcome these potential pitfalls because they provide high-quality industry information. 

Reps can use battlecards to decipher which customers are suitable for your product, which ones aren't, and why. 

And the best part?

Consistently using and updating sales battlecards creates an exceptional customer experience because they:

  • Save the seller and the buyer time 
  • Provide on-the-job training on how to be more efficient 
  • Convey competitor information reps can leverage to set your company apart. 

How to Make Competitive Battlecards for Sales In 9 Steps

1. Establish what you want your battlecard(s) to be about

Before you start creating a battlecard, outline your primary objectives. 

Have a "main takeaway" in mind to keep your battlecards concise.

You can also decide if you need one or multiple battlecards by asking these questions:

  • Can you cover all the necessary information about a competitor on a single, all-inclusive battlecard? 
  • Does the same competitor require multiple cards based on product lines and industry you’re competing in? 
  • What different customer personas will your reps encounter? 

I recommend having multiple battlecards.

Let's say one of your value-adds over the competition is that you have a low-code/no-code interface on your product. 

This can be extremely valuable for someone in an operations role who lacks coding know-how and experience. 

On the other hand, this value-add could backfire if your prospect is a developer.

Having multiple battlecards based-on on the buyer persona helps reps identify which features to showcase depending on each unique buyer's pain point. 

2. Meet with team members to collaborate

Your sales organization contains critical personnel for the battlecard brainstorming process. 

During a formal meeting dedicated to battlecard development, team members should:

  • Discuss battlecard contents
  • Establish a timeline for completion
  • Pinpoint what research needs to be conducted (market research, competitor analysis, CRM patterns, industry plays going on, etc.)
  • Delegate battlecard sections (allocate responsibilities to the right team members. For example, perhaps marketing can establish buyer personas based on information in your company CRM).
  • Determine where reps can access battlecards (Sales SaaS tools, file storage systems such as Google Drive & SharePoint, CRM, CMS, project management tools, etc.)

Depending on the size of your organization, Product Marketing or Sales Enablement will be responsible for most of the development of your battlecards. These teams should work alongside Sales Leadership, who in turn, solicits feedback from Account Executives, to better understand which aspects of their product buyers find most appealing (ease-of-use, ability to scale, pricing, customer support, etc.). Sales Operations should be included in these discussions to bring data to the table to help drive the conversation on how you fare against the competition.

Synergizing these different roles can help you build an effective battlecard for future sales calls. 

3. Pinpoint sales roadblocks that are going on

When deals fall apart, it's essential to identify the cracks, figure out how they got there, and patch them up to avoid further losses. 

Collaborate with Sales Leadership and Sales Operations to create this section on your battlecards. 

For example, you can create reports in your CRM that show your win/loss rate against competition and deal value by competition. 

Use this data and information on why your buyers choose your competition to build a more effective battlecard. 

If your prospect does go with your competitor, you can gain information on why by having the rep ask for feedback via email. Alternatively, you can hire an outside firm to conduct a win/loss interview.

Including this information on your battlecard makes these insights available to your entire sales organization instead of it becoming tribal knowledge that is siloed amongst your team.

4. Set goals with your battlecard

Studies show that businesses that establish and track their goals accomplish some of their goals 96% of the time, and 41% end up reaching ALL of their goals (nearly twice as much as businesses that don't regularly track progression). 


Before you implement your battlecard strategy, measure the state of sales.

Why?

Because having a baseline measurement for the following metrics will help you track progress:

  • Competitive win rates
  • Competitive win rate by rep
  • Customer lifetime value (LTV)
  • Renewal rate
  • Average selling price (ASP)

Feel free to include any other KPIs you want to improve. 

Measure your KPIs quarterly and take action accordingly. For example, if you notice competitive win rates have improved, but there are a couple of reps that are underperforming, this presents a great coaching opportunity.

5. Create a battlecard template

Consistency is an excellent teacher. 

Using sales battlecard templates trains your sales team members to find the information they need by learning the template’s format. 

You can find numerous templates online or create templates exclusive to your company. 

Whether creating or adopting one, keep your battlecard formatting consistent.

6. Make your battle card simple to understand & access 

When writing your sales battlecards, put yourself in your sellers’ shoes. 

Consider how you can make your battlecards as easy to read as possible. 

Adequate spacing, bullet points, and simple, digestible sentences make battlecards “battle” ready.

Remember, there's a good chance that reps will need to pull one or two battlecards up during their meetings.

After all, 60% of prospects want to speak with sales reps when they're at the consideration stage of their journey.

And the truth is this:

Today's buyer is more educated on service offerings than ever. 

Customers are asking great questions that need to be answered accurately in real-time. 

Sales battlecards allow reps with varying experience and intuitiveness to provide standard, satisfying responses. 

Optimize this benefit by storing sales battlecards where your reps can quickly find them. 

7. Review the battlecard and gain feedback 

When possible, time your new battlecard with a sales training session. This is an excellent opportunity to deploy your battlecards in sales role-play scenarios.

But there’s a caveat:

The velocity at which competitors are releasing new features may outpace your ability to host a timely training session for new or updated battlecards. 

In that case, we recommend you record a Loom video describing the updates and share it across your communication channels to keep your team from joining the 74% of employees who feel as though they're missing out on important company news and updates.

8. Put the battlecard in action

Deploy your sales battlecards during real sales conversations to observe them in action.

Take note of improvements or drawbacks.

Ask your reps and managers for feedback, and poll customers on their experiences with your team since implementing your battlecard strategy. 

If customer experiences are better, that suggests battlecard effectiveness.

If they’re worse, it’s back to the drawing board. 

Along with these forms of anecdotal feedback, analyze the objective feedback you gain from competitive win/loss reports in your CRM. 

9. Make iterations 

Remember, battlecards are living documents!

After a quarter in use, make a note of how effective your battlecard is and isolate the specific reasons for your evaluation. 

A lack of complaints doesn’t mean your battlecards are flawless. 

Instead of making assumptions, have Product Marketing, Sales Leadership, and Sales Enablement analyze reports to measure sales effectiveness.  

Take anecdotal feedback from the go-to-market team on how the new content is working out. 

Use the information you receive to generate new iterations of your battlecard. 

Even if the data you collect on sales effectiveness tell you to “keep up the good work,” there’s no way your battlecards will remain stagnant given the surge of emerging competitors and new products from existing competitors in your industry. 

Sales Battlecard Examples: A Deep Dive

Take a look at the following examples of battlecards to gain a sense of what you can work on for your sales playbook:

All-inclusive sales battlecards

All-inclusive sales battlecards are comprehensive and cover everything sales needs to know to be successful. 

You'll find information including:

  • significant sales talking points
  • strengths + weaknesses
  • competitor analysis
  • product info
  • pricing
  • objection handling practices

This type of full-stack battlecard is a good starting point. Once you develop all-inclusive sales battlecards, you’ll better understand the different types of battlecards you need to fill in the gaps. 

Competitor battlecards 

Competitor battlecards focus exclusively on competitor insights like:

  • product positioning
  • competitor claims
  • landmine questions 
Aircover real-time, in-meeting competitor battlecard

The goal of competitor battlecards is to give your reps talking angles that position your company as a superior alternative. 

Product Battlecards 

Product battlecards contain information about your products, including: 

  • Overview
  • Value: what are the points that make your product unique against the competition?
  • Multiple use-cases
  • Case studies 

These battlecards should compare your product to your competitors’, giving sales personnel new angles to differentiate your product. 

Just like competitor battlecards, these should be succinct and to the point. 

Creating a table that compares features with your competitors is a fantastic way of clearly outlining how yours shines. 

Question-based battlecards

Question-based battlecards list customers’ common questions about your product or service and provide answers your reps can offer.

Question-based battlecards also center around questions salespeople can ask prospects to highlight competitor weaknesses. 

For example, if a prospect is getting poor results with their current software platform, the rep can ask: 

"What are those results costing your business in the long run?" 

After the prospect answers, your rep can follow up with this statement:

"We've heard similar feedback from {insert customer name} and found that {competitor} only does Y for their customers each year. However, we do more year-round."

This question and statement invite the prospect to consider trying out a new service (yours!) that doesn’t cost them so much.  

Customer-facing battlecards

Customer facing battlecards are created to help your champion sell your product internally against the competition. 

While a customer facing battlecard leverages the same research and data points as your internal battlecard assets, it’s usually more visual in nature: picture your company in the first column, followed by your competitors in the proceeding columns, and the rows having different features with green checks (✅) or red X’s (❌) to visually highlight the differences. 

You should always assume your competitor will somehow get their hands on this asset, and so be mindful of that while you create it. Nonetheless, this is a helpful approach for your champion to position you internally. 

3 Best Practices When Implementing Sales Battlecards

1. Make it a consistent habit

Battlecards should be an essential part of your sales playbook. 

The truth is, it's very easy to adopt something when it's new and fresh. 

But old habits die hard. As the excitement about your new battlecards dies down, veteran reps may fall back on old practices instead of utilizing the newest iteration of your battlecards that may have dated information (i.e. a feature your competitor was previously missing has since been built).

Reinforce the constant feedback loop by incorporating competitive wins, losses, and rep feedback into your weekly sales meetings. 

It's human nature to pay more attention to something that personally impacts you. 

By focusing on performance, reps will leverage enablement tools like battlecards to improve their numbers (and the company’s).

2. Include a variety of bite-sized information 

Your battlecards give your reps a variety of high-quality content on your company, competition, and customers. 

Strive to make your battlecards easily digestible, so reps are comfortable using the information on their next call and excited about exploring the content during training.

One way to “shrink” the information is to color code by sections. For instance, all-inclusive battlecards can use this format:

  • Red - competitor sections
  • Green - everything product-related
  • Yellow - sales talking points (sales questions, FAQs, objection handling ideas)
  • Blue - company overview 

3. Update battlecards regularly 

Consistent updates make battlecards beneficial long-term. 

Ensure Product Marketing, Sales Enablement, and Sales Leadership frequently update intel on your competition on each battlecard. 

Here are some great places for gathering competitor intel:

  • G2
  • LinkedIn
  • Competitors job postings 
  • Competitor email newsletters
  • Glassdoor
  • Customer calls (What customers are saying helps you understand how your competitor is positioning against your offering)

Any information that implies or directly states your competitor’s strategic direction is a goldmine for battlecard updates.

Final Thoughts On Battlecards 

In the long run, battlecards help: 

  • Reduce ramp-up time for new reps.
  • Keep tenured reps up to date on the latest competitive intel.
  • Improve sales effectiveness by aggregating important information that otherwise becomes tribal knowledge
  • Create a better buyer experience through a more informed sales team. 

They also increase your sales team’s collective confidence. As reps habitually use battlecards, they’ll appreciate the consistency, readability, and accessibility. That translates into a more energized sales team, a better customer experience, and improved sales effectiveness. 

After all, a great buyer experience tends to correlate with positive sales KPIs. 

Give your reps even more in-the-moment support with Aircover's real-time sales tools. If you like battlecards, you’ll love the on-demand insights Aircover provides reps while they’re working with prospects during a call.

Ready to give your customers an outstanding experience (and blow your competition out of the water)? Try Aircover's real-time, in-meeting sales enablement tools today!