Level Up Your Sales Battle Card with Product Marketing

As a product marketer, enabling your sales team is like preparing for a mountain expedition. You have to know the product you need to sell—or the mountain you’re trying to scale—so well that you can foresee questions ahead of time. With that product knowledge, you have to equip your crew with the right tools and map out the many possible paths to the summit.

It goes without saying mountain expeditions and sales engagements can be complicated. But what if there was a way to put the odds of closing a deal in your team’s favor?

Just as product marketing should lead and inform sales enablement, sales battle cards—a core tool used in sales enablement—should be product-led. And battle cards informed by product marketing can level up how you empower your sales teams.

What Are Battle Cards?

Battle cards are one common way product marketers enable their sales teams. They provide a high-level overview of what people need to know about the product or service being sold, typically in a static form like a PDF or slide deck.

You can think of battle cards like the cheat sheets you may have been allowed on college exams. You could cram every detail possible into your 3×5 index card. But the most successful cheat sheets provide a summary: the at-a-glance reminders you need to trigger your thinking on the fly.

The same principle can be applied to battle cards and the salespeople who use them. Battle cards are most often used during, if not immediately before, sales conversations. That way, when a prospect asks a tricky question about a competitor and what makes your product different, your sales team can have a set of responses ready to go and feel more confident in the moment.

Battle cards created with product marketing in mind go a step further, too. They re-emphasize key information about your product’s features and benefits and how to best communicate those details to the right audience.

Why You Need Them

In an ideal world, we’d all have enough foresight to predict what happens next with our sales process. But this simply isn’t possible and is becoming more complicated as digital sales cycles let companies transcend geographies, time zones, and cultures in ways teams may have never experienced before.

Anchoring your sales engagements around a battle card can introduce more control. If you see your battle card as an agreed-to playbook that’s informed by experience and the goals of your organization, your sales team will gain the foundation they need to support better decisions in the moment. That foundation can help your sales team work smarter, get in front of the right customers, and generate more revenue for your business.

How To Level Them Up

How teams use battle cards isn’t new. But the way we build battle cards has evolved, and rightfully so.

Go back to our exam cheat sheet comparison. In a world where remote sales meetings are the norm, you don’t have to limit yourself to a single, discrete page. Depending on what you’re selling, it can help to have several slides ready to scroll through while you take prospect calls.

You must have a keen understanding of your product to level up your sales battle card. To get there, you have to start by asking the right questions. Here are a few to start you off:

  • What factors in the market are affecting your sales process? Offer context and set the scene.
  • What are some common challenges that face your sales team? What solutions have worked?
  • What are your differentiators? Why should a prospect choose you over someone else?
  • What is your product’s position in the market?
  • What questions should your team ask sales prospects that can create opportunities to share how your product stands out in the market?
  • What are some reasons why people DON’T buy your product/service? And what should your sales team say if these reasons emerge in a conversation?

You’ll also need to ask yourself some tactical questions about who on your team will need and use the battle cards. A few examples:

  • Where do sales battle cards work for your team? Why?
  • Where do sales battle cards NOT work for your team? Why?
  • Who on your team will be most supported by a sales battle card? Why?
  • What alternative tools could we use if a sales battle card isn’t the best option?

In addition to answering these core questions, be sure to learn, then live out, best practices for keeping your battle card useful. As markets evolve, your battle card should be continuously updated to reflect new competitors and changes to your product.

Today’s sales battle cards should also reflect your brand. They should be delightful and reinforce what your brand stands for because you have much more flexibility than the printed page. Doing so can give your sales team confidence in the grander vision & presence of your company, and can put the battle card’s talking points into perspective.

Summary

While an old tool, sales battle cards still serve a critical purpose in sales enablement today. Just be sure to keep them relevant by embracing the product marketing perspective, and by leveraging new tools that capture the complexity of sales conversations in today’s digital landscape.

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