How many “Battle Cards” does your company make? I’m going to go out on a limb and guess “a lot.” In fact, there’s probably a group of good people who’ve become a “deliverable factory” in this regard – churning out Battle Cards with wild abandon.
But really, ask yourself, “Are Battle Cards effective?” In 2000, sure. In 2014? Not so much.
Why has the Battle Card lost its luster? Why can’t we just put on a fresh coat of Turtle Wax and make things new again?
Simply because the sales process itself has changed.
Customers are armed with more info than sellers – on a regular basis. Michael Porter talked about this over 30 years ago when he used Five Forces analysis to explain the circumstances under which power shifts to the buyer. In short, he stated that if buyers have access to “full information” about what they are buying, power accrues in their favor. This is exactly what we are seeing today, in nearly every industry, not just technology-oriented ones. Buyers have access to analysts, reviews, and online communities of customers. Industry peers are at their fingertips on social networks.
The mud that you and the competitor are going to sling in your opposing Battle Cards? They probably already saw that in their first 30 minutes of Googling.
Hence, simply providing a doc full of features and FUD probably isn’t going to get it done anymore.
Battle Cards need to change.
So what should you do? Instead of churning out Battle Cards and Pain Points, make sure your sellers can fully understand the Voice of the Competitor (VOTC).
Here are five ways that listening to the Voice of the Competitor (VOTC) can make your next Battle Card battle ready:
- Understand why rational customers buy from a competitor – gets you beyond a simple list of pain points.
- Know how customers look at the solution they’ve bought holistically – moves you beyond simple price and feature comparisons.
- Identify which accounts to stay away from – keeps sales reps focused on the accounts with the greatest potential for a sale.
- Know where the competitor struggles to make a sale, by region, market segment, or type of individual – lets you target your efforts where that competitor is the weakest.
- Understand what the competitor says to the customer about you – prepares you to respond or simply fix what’s truly wrong with your product or solution.
In short, let’s kill the Battle Card and leave it in the last decade where it belongs.