During the first week in August, Forrester launched the Battle Card Standards Group to address head on the challenges and opportunities that they face in creating competitive battle cards for sales teams. This group is meeting weekly to outline industry standards to help sales enablement professionals bridge the gap between what a myriad of groups create and what sales reps actually need to win in competitive deals.
Some challenges mentioned by participants include:
“Sales reps often ask for negative information about competitors – FUD (fear, uncertainty, or doubt) – but, customers usually react negatively when reps say derogatory things about competitors.”
“We struggle to map our battle cards to (1) different selling situations or engagement models (transactional vs. consultative) and (2) the levels of stakeholders that we are addressing (influencers, decision-makers, or purchasing professionals).”
“We structure battle cards in a way that reps can use directly in their conversations with customers.”
As a next step, on August 9, 2011, I will be hosting a Forrester teleconference to address how:
1. Organizational silos result in battle cards that are mashups of product and competitive intelligence rather than assets that help improve win rates in competitive deals.
2. Gaps between battle card users (sales reps) and creators (corporate groups) are too wide to remedy by having sales “tell corporate what they need.”
3. Industry standards for battle cards become a common ground for creators and users of battle cards to line up their expectations and delivery.