SalesHood - Sales Enablement Platform

Competitive Playbooks and Battle Cards

  • by Elay Cohen
  • November 19, 2018

The way to improve competitive win rates is to create competitive playbooks and battle cards reinforced with training and certification. Find out how to crush the competition on every deal, every time. Create a team of top performers who increase win rates skyrocket, rather than eat away at quota attainment and market share. Enable every rep to confidently overcome competitive objections and plant competitive traps.

What if I told you there’s a proven way to quickly improve competitive win rates by 20%–30%? Consistently competing to win is hard work. The secret is to focus on rep competence and confidence. Focus on how reps knock down formidable foes by repositioning perceived strengths to conflict with a buyer’s needs and wants. Regardless of size, it’s time to stop being defensive against the “fear, uncertainty, and doubt” (FUD) competitors are saying about you, and assert the leadership position in conversations.

When I was at Salesforce, we crushed Microsoft and Oracle in every deal because we were scrappy, creative, and armed. My friend Sheevaun Thatcher during her sales enablement leadership at Host Analytics created a winning competitive strategy that resulted in dramatic results in win rates. The transformation happened in days. Here’s how they did it:

Know Thy Competition (and Don’t Bash)

Start by focusing on top competitive strengths. Embrace them, don’t pretend they don’t exist. Focus on your buyer needs and why this
strength isn’t important to them. Capture the questions reps can ask to plant traps, forever locking out your competition. Build a culture of
overcoming objections and planting traps, versus aimlessly bashing the competition.

Record Bite-Size Coaching Videos

Record short 2–3 minute video shorts for each competitive strength explaining what your competitors are saying and how you’d handle the
objection. When recording the coaching videos, it’s important to get very granular. Map strengths to objection handling and map weaknesses to traps and questions your sales team can strategically pose during discovery.

Share Coaching Videos

Turn the videos into role-playing exercises with real deal scenarios. Make sure everyone watches the videos and shares what’s working and what’s not working against each competitor. Have teams practice blending discovery questions with competitive trap questions. Bringing all your teams together will improve the confidence of the reps, which leads to immediate results.

Role-Play and Practice

The way to make this stick is to have every rep make a video of one objection and one trap or practice in a team meeting, in round-robin fashion. The power of practicing objections and traps is great and the benefits of peer-to-peer reviews and feedback are tremendous.

Summary: Competitive Battle Cards To-Dos

1. Know thy competition and don’t bash.
2. Document strengths and overcome objections.
3. Uncover weaknesses and plant traps.
4. Make role-playing and practice part of the culture.

Here is a video of Sheevaun Thatcher sharing how she executed this enablement program and the results they experienced. Sheevaun and her teams continue to lead the way in enablement innovation and outcomes.

About the Author
Elay Cohen

Elay Cohen

Elay Cohen is the author of SalesHood: How Winning Sales Managers Inspire Sales Teams to Succeed and the co-founder of SalesHood, a SaaS sales enablement platform and community for sales professionals. Elay is the former Senior Vice President of Sales Productivity at Salesforce. Recognized as the company's "2011 Top Executive", and credited for creating and executing all of Salesforce's sales productivity programs that accelerated its growth from $300M to $3B+ in revenue. The sales training and sales support innovations delivered over these years by Elay and his team to thousands of sales reps resulted in unprecedented hypergrowth. He also created the Partner Relationship Management (PRM) category.

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