July 27, 2011
During my daily conversations with technology vendors about battle cards, I am encountering leaders that are taking a different approach. Sales leaders are taking responsibility for the portfolio of battle cards – some larger vendors have hundreds – and assigning someone to “fix the problem.”
Individuals who get assigned to fix “the battle card problem” sometimes report into sales operations and other times into corporate marketing. Sometimes this individual has a background in competitive intelligence, but other times the person is completely unacquainted with battle cards. The one trait that these individuals do share is that they have empathy for sales teams.
Battle cards come from a variety of internal groups including product managers, competitive teams, partner alliances, industry groups, or others who want to educate sales reps to handle obstacles caused by competitors. Each group packages up battle cards differently so that sales reps experience differences in the quality of content every time they use a battle card. As I talk with individuals tasked with fixing “the battle card problem,” they tell me that when they look at their current collection of battle cards, they don’t even know where to begin.
During these conversations, we often discuss techniques for evaluating their current portfolio of battle cards, prioritizing the competitors that are currently disrupting sales, and creating templates that lead corporate teams to build the right kind of content. The problem? None of these techniques gets to the root problem that plagues battle cards – industry-wide confusion about what a battle card is and what value it provides to sales reps. I plan to confront this challenge head on by organizing a group of industry participants and building standards for sales-ready battle cards.
I'll put out more on this project next week, but let's start talking about it.
What attributes do you think should be included in a battle card standard?