Question Page

How do you create competitive intel that is really beneficial to sales (i.e. they actually read and use it)?

Mary Sheehan
Mary Sheehan
Adobe Head of Lightroom Product MarketingSeptember 14

I’ve had the best success with easy to digest “competitive battlecards” for sales. The simpler, the better. They should give basic company info, pricing, and how to handle objections. For larger sales teams, these are a great reference point for them to use on the phone.

The ultimate goal of the battlecards should be for any salesperson - new or experienced - to be able to quickly articulate how you are different from the competition. If it doesn’t meet that goal, you’ve missed the mark.

The design of this is important. I’ve used a Google doc with a grid and also a vertical PPT slide - it depends on what your company is most familiar with. I would try to update these at least once a quarter.

Scrappy tip: If you’re in a pinch for time, use a service like UpWork to do the data entry for you - you create the framework, and they fill in the rest. For 5 competitors it should be no more than $100 if you pick a good freelancer.

3103 Views
Greg Hollander
Greg Hollander
Novi VP of GTM & StrategyDecember 21

This is a little meta, but the best advice I have is to treat your sellers as your customers.  What would you do to try to understand how to get a customer to use your product?  Do some research - via interviews, observations, surveys, etc, and learn their workflows, their gaps, their pain points, etc when it comes to how they use content to prep for sales calls (and for inside sales, while they’re actually on calls).  Then prototype (if appropriate), and get them to walk you through how they’d use it or not.  Only when you land on a format that’s useful should you cascade to multiple competitors.  

 

It’s also important to note that sometimes, even though sales folks are asking for competitive intel, it’s actually just not a high priority thing to spend time and energy to create.  I’ve typically found that there’s only ROI on this kind of work when it’s hyper-targeted - at the top 2 or 3 competitors in a given segment, for example. Otherwise it’s information overload and your time might be better spent focusing on what your offering does well, vs. what others are weak at.

2005 Views
Vikas Bhagat
Vikas Bhagat
Webflow Senior Director, Brand & Product MarketingJuly 14

Great question and one that really hits home for me since I used to do competitive intel while sitting in the sales organization at Medallia. The best approach I've seen is first identifying the top content needed by the sales team by actually sitting in sales meetings and in front of customers. It's a great way to see where the gaps are in the messaging and content bill of materials that PMM needs to produce for Sales. 

After getting some first hand knowledge, I typically work with Sales Engineers and Account Executives to build and test the content (1-pagers, demo videos, competitive battle cards). Getting cross functional stakeholders in the Sales org to jump in during the development process of the content is the best way to drive champions within the org. 

Lastly, find ways to partner with your enablement team to help push out the material in the most sales-friendly channel. This could be through a Slack post, a weekly enablement session or a recorded video. I've also worked with my enablement partners to capture feedback on a rolling basis from the field once content is lanuched. One tool I've loved using to track sales engagement with collateral Is Highspot - the ability to track views, clicks, pitches at the content level really helps highlight which content is resonating the most with the field teams. This also helps with building content that helps drive business impact. 

1452 Views
Sarah Din
Sarah Din
Quickbase VP of Product MarketingAugust 13

As with any other sales content, find out how your specific sales team likes to consume content. This will give you an idea of the format, as well as the channels in which to share this information. This will also depend on your company culture.

In my personal experience it's important to do the following:

  • Make it easy to find - so have a centralized location where you can point people to.
  • Share the links, and share it again, and again over time.
  • Have quick, TL;DR versions of all your competitive intel docs (but also keep detailed documentation if anyone wants to dig into something more specific). This can be in the form of battle cards or simple FAQs that you can publish internally
  • There are certain tools that allow you to publish information like this within platforms like SFDC or slack - where people already look for information
  • Create short videos and see if people find it easier to listen than read
  • It's not always enough to just create these materials. It often helps to do regular competitive readouts with the sales team so you can have a more interactive conversation and help answer specific questions.
1176 Views
Ambika Aggarwal
Ambika Aggarwal
Tremendous Head of Product and Corporate MarketingSeptember 24

This is a great question and one that generally takes refinement over time based on feedback from sales. 

Here's what you can do to make sure your competitive intel is beneficial and leveraged by your sales team:

1. Conduct in-depth Win/Loss research - identify the key lost and won reasons that come up from your deals from the notes that reps are inputting into salesforce but also from win/loss interviews. You can hire a win/loss vendor to do this. I've personally worked with Clozd and Primary Intel and they've been great in accelerating these competitive insights. 

2. Survey reps, listen to calls or simply talk to reps to find out what the most common objections are per competitor - remember to take a per competitor approach here since objections vary across the board. 

3. Find reps who have successfully closed deals with those competitors and listen to their Gong calls and reach out to them to find out what worked and how they handled objections. 

Gathering all this intel together, craft together a "Swords" and "Shields" playbook that outlines your "Swords" - what reps should LEAD with as competitive strengths against that particulary competitor accompanied by proof points and case studies, and "Shields" - how reps can handle objections with talk tracks, proof points and case studies. When you roll this out make sure you highlight the fact that the playbook was crafted based on data and direct feedback from them on what objections they're struggling with most. 

1754 Views
Marina Ben-Zvi
Marina Ben-Zvi
Atlassian Principal Product Marketing ManagerDecember 15

Love this question, because if sales doesn’t use your competitive intel then what’s the point of investing time at the expense of your other competing priorities. A few things I recommend:

  • Work with your sales leaders and sales enablement (if you have sales enablement) to determine the best format, channels, and cadence for competitive intel. Make sure it’s easily accessible since reps won’t waste time searching for it. What works best depends on your sales team and their preferences.
  • Make it actionable and easily digestible. For the most part reps don’t need in-depth capability comparisons, they need quick talking points - kill points, objection handling, quick customer win stories vs the competition, and proof points. Those talking points and sales plays should be the focus of battlecards and trainings.
  • Speaking of trainings, competitive intel isn’t simply about creating assets like batlecards or market roundups. Have live competitive shareouts or training sessions where you review sales plays vs key competitors. Make these interactive by bringing in reps who’ve won vs the competition to share their learnings and encourage discussion.
  • Beat the drum. Just because you shared competitive intel in Slack and other channels doesn’t mean it gets noticed and adopted. Reps are busy. Continue to remind them and lean on sales leaders to remind their teams about the valuable competitive resources they have available. And have a regular cadence for sharing competitive insights and holding competitive play sessions since the competitive landscape is always evolving.

Like with anything - pilot, learn, and iterate. The first iteration won’t be perfect. Get feedback on what is and isn't working and continue to improve on it.

966 Views
Vanessa Thompson
Vanessa Thompson
Twilio Vice President MarketingDecember 3

Competitive Battlecards are the best asset for sales but remember to KISS (keep it stupid simple). Sales are often pressed for time so how can you clearly pick apart your differentiators (vs the competitor), give the rep a compelling reason it matters, and even lay some trap setting questions.

Depending on how competitive your market is, you may also want to add some more detailed resources:

  1. An objection handling doc. If you have a lot of new reps or a more junior team, you may consider writing out scripts for each of the objection points.
  2. Win library. Have a library of wins against the competitor with impact based results that show the details of why other customers chose you.
  3. Training & enablement. The best enablement ive seen when dealing with competitors is role play based enablement. Teach your teams to have these conversations around objections in a safe environment before you send them out into real customer calls.
  4. A pushback email. If you have aggressive competitors, consider giving your team some pre-baked email templates so they can respond to the customer quickly and continue the conversation about your product.
1844 Views
Alex Lobert
Alex Lobert
Meta Product Marketing Lead, Facebook for Business & CommerceMarch 17

When gathering competitive intel, I find the most important thing is to have the goal for it clearly mapped out. Why does Sales (or product) want the competitive intel? What will they use it for? If you start from a clear understanding of how the intel will help, it is easier to provide useful information. I recommend being as prescriptive as possible with regard to how the info can be used to help your team achieve a goal.

Assuming you have intelligence that achieves your stated goals, you may need to "market it". How can you drive awareness of new info? A newsletter? A webinar? Is there a piece of collateral / approach that has worked in the past? If not, ask your colleagues about their preferences and then test an approach. Test until you find something that works. 

Generally, I recommend making competitive intel really easy to use. You may even want to build competitive intel into sales materials. This could take the form of a comparison between your product and competitors on key points. 

1155 Views
Morgan (Molnar) Lehmann
Morgan (Molnar) Lehmann
SurveyMonkey Senior Director, Head of Product & Solutions MarketingMarch 24

Hah! You kinda answered your own question here. Create competitive intel that is easy to read and applicable to how Sales will use it!

Sales doesn't want a novel about each competitor. They want high-level bullets that help them understand how to put their own company in context of that competitor if it comes up with a prospect. 

And most likely, competitors come up in sales conversations when a buyer is evaluating multiple options or if you're trying to replace an incumbent. Consider including some critical information that would help a sales person in these situations: where you're better, where they're better, how you win, why customers switch from them to you. The competitive intel sources I mentioned in another question will help you answer these.

816 Views
Grant Shirk
Grant Shirk
Cisco Head of Product Marketing, Cisco Campus Network ExperiencesApril 13

This is a fun one. An aphorism we could coin here is that "Competitive battlecards are just like datasheets. Every salesperson desperately wants a new one, but nobody ever uses them." 

The challenge is that most competitive intel and content is boring, too detailed to use in the moment, hard to find, and usually out of date. What that means is that great competitive intel is a content marketing problem at heart. It has to be relevant, it has to be interesting, and it has to be easy to consume.

The most dependable way to figure out what works is to try a number of different things early, get feedback from sales, and then when you pick a path, measure utilization as best as you can. And then only update the docs that get used.

I've personally found that there are three kinds of competitive content that have real impact:

  1. Announcement responses
  2. Onboarding / Sales Ramp materials 
  3. Negotiation tools / "CompHot" squads

Announcement responses are my favorite because they're real-time, lightweight, and truly advance your and the org's understanding of what a competitor is actually doing. The scenario is: Tier 1 competitor X launches a new product or drops some PR. You digest it, read between the lines, and provide sales and customer success (yes, CS desperately needs compete info too) with a quick precis of the announcement:

- What the competitor announced (headline and a few details, incl. claims)

- What it means for your product or GTM (interpretation and implication)

- Reactive messaging (when asked, how do we address this problem or use case, better)

- If applicable, what call to action you offer customers and prospects

Build these over time, and you'll quickly have relevant, interesting, and well-read libraries of content on your most active competitors. And you don't have to work that hard to build them.

The other two times that sales is most likely to truly digest and internalize your competitive intel is in their first month on the job (the firehose phase) and when they're deep in a competitive negotiation. This is where you can both teach the most and have the biggest leverage. Invest everything you can in framing the market and competition in customer-facing employee onboarding sessions. The "competitive breakdown" in Sales Boot Camp is the highest-value investment you can make in compete. Especially if they're graded on it as part of their certification. The other is when commission is truly on the line. Set up a "CompHot" squad or special ops team that can drop into late-stage sales cycles with that last push over the line. You'll not only make a lot more money (and advocates for life from your top AEs) but you'll also learn what your competitors are really saying about you. 

1210 Views
Jeffrey Vocell
Jeffrey Vocell
Panorama Education Head of Product MarketingAugust 5

First of all, it needs to be rooted in the day-to-day realities of sales and the conversations their having. If Product Marketing is coming up with competitive intel in a vacuum without input from Sales, then it will naturally fall flat. 

As you should do with positioning, make Sales a key part of how you create competitive intelligence and what it needs to include.

Most great sales reps and managers will already be doing some of this themselves, so start by learning what their doing. If you have a tool like Gong, go through calls to see what they're saying and using and talk with reps to learn how it's working.

If you come across a really powerful piece of insight, you can embed a snippet from a call directly in your battlecard so Sales can hear it from one of their own. 

Lastly a few tactical suggestions:

  • Root the battlecard, snippets, and intel in their language, not any 'fluffy' language. It will make it more turnkey as well.
  • Take any comparisons real users have made and leverage them. Prospects won't believe you if you just say "We're better! I promise." But taking someone's real words/voice can be incredibly powerful.
515 Views
Sherrie Nguyen (she/her)
Sherrie Nguyen (she/her)
Indeed Director of Product MarketingJuly 29

I first start with really solid positioning, which should clearly identify how your offering is differentiated from other competitors in the market and lean into that. Second, I listen and shadow sales to see how often/why competitors come up in conversation. Then I can create appropriate messaging. Depending on your position in the market and how competitive the space is, you may go head to head in a more visible brand campaign, or if you're a category leader, you may keep an eye out and handle objections in sales scripts or through battlecards. 

537 Views
Christina Lhi
Christina Lhi
Square Head Of Product MarketingSeptember 15

Like any good marketer, it's about knowing your end customer and how they would like to consume information. All sales teams are different and finding the right communication methods (format, frequency) is important to align on up front so that you can focus your energy on being efficient and effective. Here are some tips:

1. More is not always more - sometimes we might over correct for a lack of data/deliverables by creating information overload. Sometimes teams like sales might not "actually read and use it" because it's 1 of 100 things they are trying to absorb. Take a look at what pieces of training/collateral is used by sales and if you notice some are being well used and others are not, dig in on the why. 

2. Listen on sales calls. Are they bringing up the right points about your product relative to competition? This is where you will find either blind spots around things like specific feature sets or pricing info that is lacking in your competitive intel.

3. Sync up with sales teams or leads to get feedback regarding what they think is missing. Also, going back to communication, be transparent with them about how maybe you don't think materials are being ultilized and try to figure out the why, together. 

1653 Views
Andrew McCotter-Bicknell
Andrew McCotter-Bicknell
Apollo.io Head of Competitive IntelOctober 19

Get them involved.

Interview them to learn about their encounters with competitors. Here are things that I regularly ask my sellers.

  • Which competitors are coming up most in conversations with buyers?
  • What are buyers specifically asking about?
  • What assets would help you win more competitive deals?
  • Here's something that I put together. Is this helpful to you?

When you build a genuine relationship with your sales team, you'll notice that adoption will rarely be a problem. They'll see their contribution to the intel that you're bringing forth and they'll see that you're working to make them more successful.

Try to get in front of them on a regular basis. Most orgs have a recurring meeting for their sales teams. Use that as an opportunity to present a new asset, explain a new initiative, give praise to a seller for winning a competitive deal, etc. The more they know you and become comfortable with your role, the more successful you'll be.

739 Views
Jennifer Kuvlesky
Jennifer Kuvlesky
Snow Software Director of Product MarketingNovember 17

In my experience, the best way to communicate with sales people is to speak with them. They are so busy, and I find they don't read emails from PMMs, especially emails not directed to them personally. 

In my opinion, the best way to share competitive materials is in a short team meeting, through the sales engineering/solution consulting teams and by directly responding to questions they have (where you can send links to prepared materials). 

It also helps to be very clear about your competitive differentiation, and have sellers share stories of how they've won. Hearing best practices from others in the field is important, as the field often has some of the best competitve intel. 

498 Views
Adrienne Joselow
Adrienne Joselow
HubSpot Director of Product MarketingDecember 7

Make it snackable. Make it easy to remember. Make it impactful. Show the impact of reps applying this to amplify awareness and usage. Reps spend their days diving into a multitude of different businesses with divergent needs, goals, and deal stages. The more adaptable, simple, straightforward your competitive intel is, the more likely it is to be leveraged and applied. 

As a separate note (personal pet rock): use the term comparrison cards, not battle cards. Sales is hard enough without suggesting to them (implicitly) that they're in a battle (violent). We are in product marketing, words matter, choose the right ones. 

4024 Views
Dave Steer
Dave Steer
GitLab Vice President of Product MarketingJanuary 31

I think of competitive intel like product managers think about their product. 

The first step is to listen to your stakeholders (or internal customers) from sales, product, customer success and marketing to understand what they want and need in competitive intel. What are their gaps in intel? In content? How do they best consume the information and content you develop for them? What form factor(s) should it take? What cadence do they want it in? Once you have those insights, you can develop content that they will read...use...and LOVE.

Another important factor is to think deeply about the competitive factors in your market and factor those into your intel and content. What trends or changes are occurring in your category? How do those change points impact moves that your competition is making? And, based on this, how do you plan to position your solution to competitively differentiate?

One final point: Embrace the value of Iteration. The best intel content that I've seen breaks down large projects into smaller pieces so that you can ship to your audience quickly and get the valuable feedback that will guide your next iteration, and your next, and your next. Iterate often with competitive intel and content.

778 Views
Daniel Kuperman
Daniel Kuperman
Atlassian Head of Core Product Marketing & GTM, ITSM SolutionsJune 2

The best advice I can give is to not throw everything including the kitchen sink into a competitive battle card. I've seen competitive intel of 5+ single space pages given to sales teams and you can guess how many people actually read it.

When preparing competitive intel for sales, keep in mind that sales teams are typically looking for the following:

  • Why is this competitor participating in the sale in the first place?

  • How does the competitor address customer needs? What do they do well and what are they lacking?

  • How is our solution different in the ways in which we solve customer needs?

  • What other customers have chosen our solution vs the competitors?

If you keep it concise (1 page) and to the point (short sentences), addressing the questions above, the sales team will thank you. Notice that you don't necessarily need to show:

  • how the competitor is priced: don't worry, the customer will tell you that.

  • all the features the competitors has: don't worry, the customer will bring it up to see how you compare.

  • the history of the competitors' products and company: not relevant to most deals.

One other thing that typically helps is to provide sales what is your competitive positioning in 2 situations:

  1. What is your positioning for when you are dislodging an incumbent;

  2. What is your positioning for when you are competing against a new customer;

Your pitch may vary depending on how you are entering the competitive deal.

2079 Views
Sean Lauer
Sean Lauer
Instruqt VP of MarketingFebruary 17

One of the key things to consider with any information provided to a sales team is making sure you answer two questions:

  • Why does it matter?
  • What should they do with it?

When it comes to competitive intel, keep in mind the following factors to deliver value to sales:

  • Timeliness
  • Impact
  • Action

Is the intel you are providing timely? Is it new and relevant or is it old news? If it's old news and most sellers are already aware, but you still think it's valuable, think about just adding it to background material as part of a more comprehensive update. Emphasize the intel that's going to matter most. 

Is it impactful? Is it something that will help win more deals or are you just adding more noise to their day-to-day? Sellers get a ton of information thrown at them and you need to make sure what you're sharing is worth their while. Make sure the intel you prioritize is something that can make them better sellers. 

Is it actionable? Is the intel you're sharing something that a seller can use in their sales motion to win more deals or is it just something that's nice for them to know? If it's actionable, make sure it's clear how they should use it. If it's not actionable, maybe just add it to background material as part of a more comprehensive update. 

567 Views
Greg Gsell
Greg Gsell
Attentive VP, Product MarketingMarch 24

I try to use the Pyramid approach to all content. Start with just absolute essential information, then expand. This way sales reps are able to capture the exact right amount of information in the most efficient way possible. 

For example, say we are an apple company and our competition is those pesky orange growers from across town. I would structure my competitive teardown content like:

  •  Main message Your time is valuable, don't waste it peeling an orange. Apples are ready to eat at a moment's notice
  • The main message has a single point of differentiation that is the most important. Repeat this message across all of your content and training so every rep knows that oranges are harder to peel.
  •  Supporting messages The average orange takes 4 minutes to peel, that is an average of 3 hours a year for most fruit-eating adults! What could you be doing with 3 hours? Additionally, peeling oranges results in 2.7x higher finger injury rates than other fruit.
  • The supporting message is starting to get into detail to back up the main message with facts. We are bringing in stats (4 minutes to peel) and impact (3 hours wasted peeling). Additionally, I started with another line of differentiation with the peeling-related injuries. 
  •  The details Now go deep to back up your points, examine different use cases, etc. This is where someone can go to find what they need for a specific deal (ie "how do we differ from oranges picked by left-handed pickers", and more corner case questions. )
630 Views
Meghan Keaney Anderson
Meghan Keaney Anderson
Watershed VP of Marketing - Product Marketing & CommunicationsApril 7

I try to create competitive intel at a couple of different levels of abstraction:

  • High-level: Usually in the form of a 2X2 which demonstrates the biggest difference between us and the rest of our field. The point of this is to give sales teams a highly memorable soundbite at a categorical level, e.g. "Unlike point solutions, we are comprehensive." "Unlike clunky enterprise platforms, we are easy to use."
  • Detailed: For the most frequently encountered competitors (we're talking 2-3 here not 8-10) we do more detailed one-pagers for training and to be pulled up when reps encounter questions from buyers.   
  • Breaking news: As our top competitors or new entrants with high-overlap announce major updates, we send summaries to the sales teams and update positioning.
829 Views
Katie Gerard
Katie Gerard
Workhuman Head of Product MarketingApril 28

As a PMM, it can be frustrating to put a lot of work into something and have it sit unused. But I have a lot of empathy for my sales colleagues. Their lives are super busy and they're overwhelmed with information. It makes sense that it's hard to get their attention!

When working on competitive intel for a new competitor, here are some action items that will help you to optimize sales engagement:

  • Prioritize the right competitor. Within PMM, we get a lot of one-off requests for comp intel and we don't have bandwidth to complete them all. I make sure I'm aggregating requests, both from sales directly and senior leadership, and picking the competitor that will have the most strategic impact.

  • Understand the push back sales is getting from their prospects. Can we do a win/loss analysis specific to that customer to better understand how we're currently viewed vs. the competitor? This will allow you to really tailor your positioning.

  • Make an enablement plan. I've definitely had the experience of making very in-depth battlecards only to discover that sales would have preferred three bullets of talking points. I figure out what works best for each team in terms of format and plan how to enable (training? recording? simple email?) ahead of time.

  • Iterate, iterate, iterate. Don't just make a battlecard and throw it over the fence. I like to listen to recordings of calls where sales has used my competitive positioning. Is it working? Does it need to be tweaked?

551 Views
Jesse Lopez
Jesse Lopez
Dandy Director of Product MarketingJuly 6

Simple answer: You treat your sales team like a customer. 

  • Interview them to understand their competitive needs and challenges when articulating "value" or "differentiation" vs. competitors.

  • Co-create internal enablement and customer-facing assets with them to ensure content adds value to their process vs. more complexity.

  • Capture feedback on content, assets, and process by developing a sales advisory board.  

  • Track competitive content and messaging performance by analyzing how your sales reps use your competitive intel.

  • Optimize competitive programs continuously to maintain relevancy and impact on your sales teams.

562 Views
Axel Kirstetter
Axel Kirstetter
Guidewire Software VP Product MarketingMay 24

At a high level Sales needs to operate on three planes. Defending against weaknesses, driving towards strengths and disseminating fear. Long written thought papers are the wrong format. I believe in short simple bullet points supported by an explanatory video to get the message across. Ultimately it is the seller that needs to deliver the message. in person or over tele / video call. It is also helpful to draft answers for email based communication. Only challenge with that is that it leaves a trail so one has to ensure it is legally acceptable

481 Views
Jennifer Kay Corridon
Jennifer Kay Corridon
Yelp Product Marketing Expert & MentorSeptember 8

Start with goals and align your intel accordingly. Then map your materials to a narrative that is highly relevant and is focused on what your sales team really cares about (let me guess, closing more deals).

Create resources in formats that are bite size, easy to use, simple to read and navigate. If your sales team has an aversion to reading decks, consider a one sheet FAQ style that highlights key points and takeaways. And use simple "everyday" language.

461 Views
Amanda Groves
Amanda Groves
Enable VP of Product MarketingNovember 3

I love how candid this question is! It's true - we build a lot in PMM and largely don't know if it's being used.

If you have a tech stack that has a social listening tool (gong) + enablement tool (klue, crayon, guru) you should be able to build, track and measure efficacy of the PMM programs you're building around competitive intelligence. One way we reinforce this at Crossbeam today is by using quizzes and courses in a tool called workramp - that way we test our sales teams' knowledge and make learning stick. If they aren't held accountable - it's hard to enforce the consumption of material.


Going over closed lost/won reports in competitive deals is also helpful. Share wins and belly flops with the teams on the heels of a win or loss. What went well? What didn't? A mix of the above will build a culture of authenticity and accountability when it comes to aligning PMM and Sales.

395 Views
Mindy Regnell
Mindy Regnell
BigCommerce Product Marketing ManagerJuly 13

Getting sales buy in on what type of information they want early on can be really helpful (it can also be useful if they change their mind later on). Starting with a proof of concept then circulating the first battlecard among sales leadership before you start building out other competitors. 

Set a standard of how battlecards will be used. Normally battlecards are a strickly internal only resource. I would highly recommend you don't make the assumption that sales or other parts of your organization won't be tempted to share this information directly with a prospect or a partner.

Word of caution, if you have partners that work with your organization that could also benefit from competitive intel be sure to have a discussion on how much of this information you are willing to share externally. While partners can be a great source of potential intel, if you share too much with the wrong partners you can be handing your competitors

It's also important to establish with your sales team if they are wanting to have a base knowledge of a lot of competitors or going deep on just a few (I would personally say the latter tends to be more important for your primary competitors and then potentially building much more lightweight battlecards for competitors that come up less often). 

From my own experience, it helped to include information on strengths, weakness, any known gaps as well as diving a bit deeper into any marketing talking points. For us, it seemed like sales knew the main points (ie: We are better at x) but couldn't get much deeper. When you make a claim, it is built on some feature that is important. So I focused on flushing out those details so our sales reps had more specific details they could answer. Helping the build the value on why something is important and being able know what feature is the real driver. 

Once you have established your baseline of competitive intel, you will want to think about the ongoing upkeep. How often do things in your industry change? Do your primary competitors have annual conferences when they make announcements about the coming year? If they do this is probably the time you want to plan on updating your battlecards. 

Keep your intel in a 1 place and keep in mind who might benefit from having that information. I personally use a folder in Google Drive that only myself or other PMMs can edit but others in the org can view. Chance are there are other parts of your organization that could benefit from understanding the competition. This can give you an additional way to measure success (or at least a wider audience). 

Again in my own experience, building a solid foundation tends to be the more challenging part of the process (especially if you have more than 1 sales team that deals with different competitors or wants to use other information). Setting a schedule for upkeep based on how often things in your industry changes is what keeps the foundation you've built current, relevant and prevents you from having to rebuild the foundation in a few years. 

1379 Views
Benjamin Scheerer
Benjamin Scheerer
Red Hat Senior Principal Product Marketing ManagerJuly 31

Agree w/ comments above. Easily digestible chunks of data presented in a battle card format (2 pages) is very effective. Remember to keep it brief and concise (e.g. 3 bullet points per topic). There's a conference in October that is focused on competitive marketing, including sessions on content and battle card creation.

1137 Views
Adina Schoeneman
Adina Schoeneman
Claroty Senior Product Marketing ProfessionalFebruary 7

Battlecards, training documentation, or whatever medium you choose to deliver this information should be built specifically for sales as the audience in mind. A couple quick tips:

1. Keep information concise and easily digestible.

2. Get real-time feedback from your sales team. If there is an example from a recent deal or prospect, this is gold. Sales teams love to hear from peers vs. objective information or research.

3. If pricing information is available, share it. 

4. External facing documentation is something sales may push for in urgent, high pressure scenarios. If you are early on in garnering adoption of your CI program, it may be a good opportunity to personally support. Use it as an opportunity to expand the effort with a more standardized approach for objection handling & intel education across the org.

358 Views
Fiona Finn
Fiona Finn
jane.app Director of Product MarketingJuly 6

Timeliness and accessiblity are also key to providing value to your team. 

  • Providing a list of month-end/ quarter-end killshots speaking to the most up-to-date intel and positioning you have on focused competitors (maybe trending that month) is not only going to be acknowledged, but can boost morale and (product) confidence in your team. 
  • Creating a Slack channel or Salesforce group for competitive intel can be a great way to get new intel in front of people as it appears—and can be contributed to by CX, Sales, etc. not just PMM. 
  • Ensure you have one central location for battlecards, testimonials, interviews etc. so new Sales people (and PMMs!) can get up-to-speed easily, and can reference content at any time. 
  • Involve Sales leadership when battlecards are created or switch campaigns are launched so that they mandate that their teams utilize content created. It's in their best interest and will leverage ROI. 
921 Views
Ryan Sorley
Ryan Sorley
DoubleCheck Research FounderJuly 25

Real time competitive insight direct from buyers. Easy way to collect this information is via a win/loss interviews. Simply ask questions regarding who else they considered and why. Dig into areas such as brand, product, sales experience, pricing, culture. Sales teams always perk up when the data has been collected from the very buyers they are selling to. It gives them a strong frame of reference for how the market views their solution versus the competitition. It also may help to shed light on why a deal was won or lost. Good luck!

952 Views
Anneliese Niebauer
Anneliese Niebauer
Starting something newNovember 21

One practice we had to inform competitive positioning strategy and enablement was analysing Closed Lost reasons in deals where we lost to a competitor.

Here's an example (sorry some details need to remain high level): 

  • We did a CL analysis and saw we were losing to our competitor for 1 of 3 reasons - a unique feature they had, pricing, and brand awareness/loyalty.
  • We then partnered with Account Managers and CS to find customers who had used us and the competition. We did customer interviews to get appraisals of each of the areas where we tended to lose deals. We also uncovered reasons why those areas weren't as important to some customers.
  • Using this (in addition to our other intel), we developed counter-positioning to 'turn our bugs in to features' focused on the three main CL reasons
  • But we also realised that other assets (like our ROI calc) needed to be adjusted for pricing conversations when this competitor was in the mix. 
385 Views
Talya Heller G.
Talya Heller G.
Product Marketing Consultant | Ex-PMM, PM and PMOSeptember 2

In short: focus on enablement, not on battlecards.

I don’t know how and why battlecards became the golden standard but I always felt that format miss the mark because it’s hard to read and impossible to process in real-time (i.e. on a call). And as marketers we know that packaging and delivery matter. So, here are elements that I find more helpful:

  1. Deliver competitive news regularly - either 3 bullet points on a dedicated slack channel once a week or in an internal newsletter, but think of a channel to put news in front of reps proactively rather than waiting on them to ask for it.

  2. Create a system for competitive positioning. What worked for me in the past was to outline our top strategic advantages as a company; and use variations of that slide practically in every asset (with format changes of course). For each competition I’d find the 1-3 levers out of that list that we can do better than them. This makes it familiar and easy to remember, almost like a framework for anyone at the company to use. And, much more useful in real time.

  3. Train and enable on competitive landscape, before jumping to the details. Macro before micro. Which use case or which industry are the most crowded, what type of competition we’re facing in each.

  4. Stay up to date yourself. RSS feeds, google alerts, whatever it takes to be on top of things. Focus less on who released what new feature and more on changes in messaging or pricing that can indicate a change in strategy, etc. bring those insights forward, This convos are much more meaningful and engaging then ‘ooh snap they also released filter views’. Again, macro before micro.

  5. If you have the capacity, the ideal alternative to a battlecards in my book is a competitive playbook. Basically the more detailed version of step 2.

    • Get into important details about the competitors - geo, GTM, use cases, R&R scores, reputation, etc.

    • When someone brings up competitor X on a call say Y; if they ask you to elaborate, say Z. If they ask you for a written response, say A

    • Objection handling

277 Views
🤘 Dejan Gajsek
🤘 Dejan Gajsek
Grow and Scale Co-founder and CEOFebruary 20

If you're banking that your sales teams will use your materials then you ask them first!

Start with the top 2-3 sales reps or a sales manager who has a low-down on the biggest objections and reasons why deals aren't closing. 

Prioritize the top objections and construct your battlecard. Make sure that there are supportive links or any other collateral that supports talk tracks and arguments you are saying. 

This isn't all. Your battlecards need to be easy to use. (Most of the) People don't want to change the way they are doing things - especially seasoned sales veterans. 

To increase your chances, do this:

  1. Make a battlecard super simple and easy to understand (your designer might be able to help)
  2. Record a simple 2-minute Loom video on how to use it. 
  3. Get buy-in from a sales manager who will champion your campaign. They will help you get it down the line. 
  4. Include the new asset in your in-house newsletter, internal Slack/Mcrsft teams, and email. Add short descriptions and reasons why, how to use it and don't forget to include your loom video

Your communication needs to be on-point. You don't want to communicate in a way where sales teams feels inadequeate. Always frame it in a way that this is another tool that will help them when they're talking to their prospects. 

There's also a chance that you'll have to build and fill knowledge gaps as well. Make it available and easy-to-access to everyone from customer success, sales, product, and marketing teams. 

Always follow up with your sales teams to check how successful your battlecards were. 

Not much change? Iterate, perform more win/loss analysis, rebuild your battlecard. 

364 Views
Madison Leonard
Madison Leonard
Marketing & GTM ConsultantJanuary 19

3 words - length, ROI, searchability. 

Length: Sales reps and customers alike want things to be short and to the point. I like to keep it to a punchy header with 2-3 supporting bullet points if possible. 

ROI: The benefit to the customer should be clear in the header. For example, "[Customer] saved an average of 10 hours per week and $250,000/yr by switching from [competitor] to [your company]".   

Searchability: Sales will forget 90% of the things you present in enablement. Not to mention, new reps have possibly never seen enablement training on your material. I like to include things in 3 places - slack, cloud storage (GDrive or whatever you're using), and training (onboarding/enablement decks). This ensures your material is easily findable in a pinch. Bonus points for organizing your material with tags so reps can search by persona. 

422 Views
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