Pere Codina believes battlecards, when utilized correctly, can help close deals.

Talking us through what makes good enablement content, Pere highlights that information has to be current and easily accessible to your reps.

In order to grow, you have to close as many deals as you can.

Let's see how to make that happen.

Losing sucks

"Nothing is more painful than losing deals to a competitor.

First of all, obviously, it's an economic loss.

You know, the moment you lose a deal to a competitor, you already paid all the customer acquisition costs or almost all of it, you paid for marketing, you paid for all the executive work. So what is left to pay is just compensation if you win the deal. So from an economic standpoint, it's really painful.

Your reps may get frustrated. There is a lot of fear, anxiety, and uncertainty when losing deals to competitors.

And finally, you may also see some sort of finger-pointing between teams, ‘why are we losing so many deals?’

We all know here that there is a solution for this, called sales battlecards."

What are battlecards?

"So at some point, product marketers or sales enablement specialists decided to say let's prepare a lot of content to send to our reps and our sales team so that they can use it to fix these issues.

It will help if they don't have intel, or if what they do have is outdated. Or for some reason these guys are not positioning the company the appropriate way.

That works in theory, but when it comes to reality, there is something that we are forgetting here.

This intelligence needs to be used. Reps have to use these battlecards.

You can have all the intelligence in the world, but if no one is there to act on it, what is it worth?

Absolutely nothing.

No matter how good your battle card is, no matter how much intelligence is in there, no matter how hard you work to prepare this, if these guys are not actually looking at this intelligence the moment they need to use it, it’s worth nothing."

Why are reps not using your battlecards?

  1. The battlecards or cheat sheets or whatever you use, are hard to access for them. It's like they don't have it handy.
  2. TLDR (Too Long Didn't Read). You all know what it is about, it's a lot of information. And these guys are not going to retain all of the information.
  3. The content that's in the battlecard is not relevant to closing the deal.
  4. The intelligence is outdated.
  5. Reps think they’ve memorized the battlecards, not realizing something may change later on.

"The reality is enabling sales or sales teams is not that easy.

It requires a lot of work. There is a lot of like competitive research, what are these guys doing, what has changed. You end up using a vast amount of documents, tools, spreadsheets.

It’s also tough to make sure that these guys are actually going to use it and train them on how to use it.

Finally, it’s hard to measure. The people making the battlecards or other sales content aren’t the ones using it. It's hard to measure and how to see if this is being useful or not."

How can we make all of this work?

"We created a framework. We call it the competitive advantage framework.

The goal is to organize the whole competitive function and drive measurable revenue or measurable profit out of it.

This framework works for any type of intelligent use case, it could be competitive or non-competitive.

It's based on the fact that someone needs to use intelligence and change something in the company. We take it down to what we call small measurable actions that you can track the value of the intelligence that you are producing.

One of the reasons why battlecards are outdated is because it takes a lot of time to keep them up to date.

There's research. Then we talked to the companies and the product marketers. It takes a lot of time to collect all this data. From websites, from review sites, from news, all the data from the team which comes in like different sources. Maybe an email or they write something in a Slack channel.

So, the first tip would be to automate the competitive research.

Combine a process and technology so that you can bring this time down. Once you have the bulk of setup, it can bring this time down to less than an hour a week.

Secondly, we need to create intelligence that can close a deal. To use GPS as an example, you don’t need the address at the start, you need the directions on how to get there. Reps are the same. When they are in a call or a meeting, there's very little time to think, it's something that needs to be very actionable and very short. Turn left, turn right, you have arrived at your destination. Short and simple.

We always recommend to curate intelligence in house. It helps maintain consistent positioning as well as the fact you want to be the person that's actually deciding how your team is going to confront this competitor. You want this to happen all the time, the same way.

Get sales involved. When you create these battle cards with the minimum amount of information necessary to close the deal sales, the sales team should be involved.

Sales management should also have an input, as it has to sound natural, it has to be something that the sales team can click and maintain their tone throughout the call."

Photo by Raymond Rasmusson / Unsplash

Make this information easily available for the reps

"Keep all your competitive data in one place. Keep it in one place, ideally in the cloud, one single version.

One of the reasons why reps don't open the battle card is because they need to log in or sign up, or use another tool, or go find the PDF in another folder.

When you are in a conversation and you get a few seconds, you need to find the report at that moment.

One place, here's the battle card, say this."

Train your team to win

"Sometimes we see that we are training our teams for a lot of things, which is not necessarily what they need.

We recommend having two tracks of training.

One track is training your team in the landscape. And this is the outliers, or more broadly, the map. You can do long sessions at the beginning of onboarding, and then maybe every quarter, you keep them updated.

This will include details on the competitors. This company is that big, they do these things. We tend to compete this way and that way. You can show all the information and discuss it in long sessions.

Then there has to be another track surrounding your battle cards.

This is where you discuss how to use the battle card that you have prepared. Train the team's in actions, not in memorizing what says in the battle card because this can change.

These actions are normally, click here, open the battle card, scroll to the section in your CRM. Read this the most natural way possible, and if you are very inspired, then you can add something of your own.

You're giving them a tool that they can use, not something that they need to memorize.

Another action that's important is to train them in reviewing the battle cards whenever they get updated.

You'll be adding all these sales materials for them, it can change at any time. There has to be a process that alerts the reps every time changes are made, so they can go and check it out."

The last stage is measuring

"Things can get a little bit complicated, but if the process is executed as we have described, where people are actually using the software, opening some documents and they are executing it always in the same way, because they have been trained for this, it should run smoothly.

You can then start measuring things such as the win/loss rates, conversion rates, whatever gets you closest to measuring the behaviors you want to see, mainly revolving around who is using the battle cards!

If you have software for this, it can show you who is opening them, how frequently and at what points, which allows you to correlate these metrics.

If it's not software, there are solutions for everyone you can just use a tracking pixel or something that sends you information back to the spreadsheet. You can correlate the usage of the battle card with the win/loss rates."

This article is adapted from a speech Pere gave at the San Francisco SES, Pere Codina is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Kompyte