How to Use Battle Cards in Your Sales Process [Templates]

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Zoe Ashbridge
Zoe Ashbridge


No, it’s not the board game Battleship — it’s better. Sales battle cards are here to ensure that you’re ahead of your competitors on pricing, features, and customer service. According to Crayon, 78% of competitive intelligence leaders enable their sellers with competitive battle cards.

woman creates a competitive intelligence battle cards

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Sales battle cards ensure reps are well-versed in all things pertaining to competitors. That helps teams make sales, call out where their product excels, and set customer expectations.

I took a deep dive into battle cards to demonstrate their benefits. Let’s dive in and see how these tools assist in building a winning sales strategy.

Free Sales Battle Card Templates

3 free sales battle card templates. Customize your cards and crush the competition.

  • 1 In-Depth Competitor Battle Card
  • 1 Side-by-Side Competitor Comparison Battle Card
  • 1 Multi-Competitor Battle Card
Learn more

    Download Free

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    You're all set!

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    Table of Contents

    The Importance of Battle Cards in Sales

    Creating battle cards may feel like extra work, but they are worth the effort. Battle cards take the most useful information about your industry, competition, and key benefits of your products and put it all in one place. Battle cards also help sales reps with the following.

    1. Staying Ahead of the Competition

    Most sales reps are busy selling. They don’t have time to follow company updates every time the competition rolls out a new feature or campaign.

    Battle cards (when updated properly) note any new features the competition has rolled out. Your team can stay up-to-date on how competitors stack up against your brand‘s offerings. That way, reps won’t be blindsided on a call when a customer counters with a competitor’s value proposition.

    2. Preparing for Customer Challenges in Advance

    Having a clear idea of customer challenges and how your product can remedy them helps your sales efforts. Battle cards outline common customer pain points in addition to which products or services may be best in specific scenarios.

    Having this information handy allows sales reps to hone in on their prospect’s unique needs with a solution that’s tailor-made for them.

    3. Crafting Better Pitches

    With all the information in one place, reps can focus on pitching rather than researching. It’s an excellent resource for learning about not only competitors but also your brand’s offerings. All of the product knowledge is on that card, which will assist them in crafting more effective pitches.

    How are sales battle cards used?

    Reps can use sales battle cards to keep calm during the most intense moments with a prospect. However, battle cards don’t just come in handy during a sales call. They’re also useful in the following scenarios.

    Creating Competitor Reference Cards

    The sales battle card’s most obvious role is that of a reference card. When you’re in the middle of a call, you can refer to your battle card to get a quick picture of the competitive landscape, including pricing, product benefits, and competitor strengths and weaknesses.

    Tailoring Effective Sales Pitches

    Quick access to competitor information keeps your sales team poised with your next reply. You can avoid clumsy responses, reminding your prospect why your company really is the best for their needs.

    With the information supplied on the card and the salesperson’s knowledge of the prospect, sales pitches can be tailored for maximum delivery.


    Battle cards are training resources. They can be used during onboarding, training new hires on the competitive landscape, and the unique selling points (USPs) of their products versus those of competitors. This accelerates the onboarding process and maintains consistency in the scripts new sales hires use.

    Types of Sales Battle Cards

    Sales battle cards can offer insights into one or multiple competitors. Additionally, some battle cards may be predominantly used internally for sales rep reference, while others are beneficial as prospect-facing collateral.

    If you’re curious about which type of battle card you should create, remember: There’s no harm in over-preparing. To assist, I’ll discuss how to create multiple types of battle cards. However, here are a few general guidelines.

    • When presented to prospects, one-to-one battle cards are better further down the pipeline, when prospects have narrowed their options down and need to get into the nitty-gritty about which solution is the one for them.
    • One-to-one battle cards are also great for sales reps. They provide more in-depth details on why your company is better (or worse) than a competitor and in which aspect specifically.
    • Multi-competitor battle cards are more common in the research phase, where potential buyers need a lot of information distilled for them.

    Free Sales Battle Card Templates

    3 free sales battle card templates. Customize your cards and crush the competition.

    • 1 In-Depth Competitor Battle Card
    • 1 Side-by-Side Competitor Comparison Battle Card
    • 1 Multi-Competitor Battle Card
    Learn more

      Download Free

      All fields are required.

      You're all set!

      Click this link to access this resource at any time.

      Competitive Battle Cards

      As we briefly mentioned above, competitive battle cards contain information on a brand’s industry competitors. This can include pricing, the solutions and services provided, and their customer profile. With this information, sales reps will have vital data that they can use in a sales pitch.

      Prospects will have questions about how you stack up against other companies. Preparing competitive battle cards will ensure you're ready to handle objections and address any concerns prospects may have.

      Derrick Hathaway, sales director at VEM Medical, credits battle cards with a 30% increase in win rate in one quarter.

      One quarter, Hathaway’s team designed battle cards for the brand’s new product. The cards outlined the characteristics of their solution in comparison with competitors, as well as possible objections.

      “Our sales employees reported that they felt more self-assured and set up for success when they met with clients,” Hathaway notes. “Furthermore, we had an average deal size of 20% growth, which indicated battle cards strengthening our sales negotiation and closing skills.”

      Hathaway says that, throughout the whole procedure, battle cards have been critical to achieving the team’s revenue plan and making effective sales.

      Product Battle Cards

      Product battle cards educate teams about the product they’re selling. They generally have everything sales reps can use in their pitches to prospects — customer pain points, how the product solves those pain points or adds value, and any exclusive features that would benefit the customer.

      These cards may focus on one product you offer or be a comparison of multiple products paired with use cases. Ultimately, product battle cards should assist in persuading prospects by emphasizing specific benefits your product offers and how it resolves customer challenges.

      Marketing Battle Cards

      Marketing battle cards examine a competitor‘s marketing strategy. In order for sales reps to succeed, it’s important for them to know who the competition is selling to and how.

      For example, if a competitor is positioning itself as the most cost-effective brand in the industry, that may have an effect on which customers you choose to market to. In this case, you may position your brand as higher quality to justify a higher price point and market to an audience willing to pay more for better service.

      Marketing battle cards may also include information on competitor industry verticals, partners, and marketing channels.

      Next, I’ll explore battle card templates and how they can aid sales teams.

      What is included in a sales battle card?

      You can tailor your battle card to suit your sales team and their needs. But, there may be areas where they need information at a glance. Let’s look at some common inclusions.

      Your USPs

      If there’s one thing you want to put your hand to quickly, it’s the benefits that help your company stand out. Whatever you can offer that sets you apart from your competitors, make sure it’s on the battle card.

      For example, let’s say I’m opening a coffee bean subscription service. While there are other competitors out there, my brand focuses on fair-trade coffee with a transparent supply chain. This level of visibility helps me stand out.

      Product Comparison

      Your prospects will know what they like (and dislike) about competitor products. You want your sales team to be armed with a detailed comparison of product features, benefits, and USPs. This doesn’t mean looking negatively at competitors but displaying a reasonable view of the landscape and focusing on your unique features and benefits.

      Back to my coffee example, I may not be the cheapest option on the market. Bean Box may be one of my competitors, and its specific angle focuses on U.S. rosters. Other companies may offer faster shipping than my business because of their wider reach.


      With pricing, include discounts, demos, and pricing strategies your prospect might want from you. Prepare your sales team with the actions they can take to appease prospects and close the gap on competitor strategies.

      For my coffee company, I may have different pricing listed for those who subscribe by the month, by the quarter, or for the whole year. I can then pitch each option based on who my prospect is.

      Use Cases

      Success stories help bring a product or its solution to life. If you can show your prospects how someone just like them has solved a problem, they’ll be more engaged.

      Pro tip: You can create mock scenarios to see where your team is struggling with objections. This exercise may lead you to find the most important elements to include on the battle card.

      In her article on Sales Enablement, Lia Parisyan recommends that you “Have your seasoned sales reps do mock objection scenarios to show newer reps how to, and not to, handle objections.”

      Outside of training, mock objection scenarios allow seasoned reps to identify areas of improvement.

      Sales Battle Card Templates

      Creating a battle card from scratch can slow you down if you're not sure where to start. Fortunately, there are templates that can help you put these materials together relatively quickly without having to fuss about having the right format.

      Download the Free Battle Card Templates

      Although the template will have predetermined categories and headings, feel free to customize them to your team‘s needs. Templates are meant to be used as a guide, and it’s important to create a battle card that works for you. HubSpot's Battle Card Templates offer three customizable templates:

      • The in-depth competitor battle card. Use this card for a deep dive into your competitors‘ strengths/weaknesses and to illustrate your winning strategy. There’s also space for case studies and customer references to help your sales reps win the sale.
      • The side-by-side competitor comparison battle card. This card can be used for both internal and external purposes to compare each brand's solution and key features. They can also help reps explain why one solution or service may be a better fit.
      • The multi-competitor battle card. Another option for internal and external use, this card (pictured above) allows you to compare your features and attributes to competitors in a simple chart.

      Now that you‘re more familiar with how to use battle cards, it’s time to get started making your own.

      Free Sales Battle Card Templates

      3 free sales battle card templates. Customize your cards and crush the competition.

      • 1 In-Depth Competitor Battle Card
      • 1 Side-by-Side Competitor Comparison Battle Card
      • 1 Multi-Competitor Battle Card
      Learn more

        Download Free

        All fields are required.

        You're all set!

        Click this link to access this resource at any time.

        How to Create a Sales Battle Card

        Now, let’s discuss creating battle cards. I’ll also work through my own example throughout for a fictional company, all while using these templates.

        1. Use battle card templates.

        Download the Free Battle Card Templates

        Rather than start from scratch, you can use battle card templates to fill out the details of your business alongside your competitors. Not only does this save time whenever you make a battle card, but it also creates a more consistent brand experience for each battle card you make for different competitors and present to your customers.

        HubSpot offers battle card templates — one for multi-competitor analysis, one for a profile of one competitor, and another for a side-by-side comparison between you and another company. This jumping-off point should save you plenty of time as you build your battle cards.

        Pro tip: Consider phasing your approach to creating your final battle card. It can be tempting to add everything, but consistency and ease of use are key if you want your sales team to use these cards.

        Start small, then build out. If you try and do everything, you’re at risk of over-complicating the card or adding information that’s not of utmost importance.

        Testing It Out

        Let’s say I want to start a literary magazine called Distinct Quill. My publication focuses on stories from underrepresented groups. I want to show my customers why they should buy a subscription. My secondary goal is to convince writers to submit work to us instead of a competitor. To accomplish this goal, we’ll create a battle card that compares our publication to a competitor.

        2. Pick your categories.

        In which areas do you, your product, or your service excel? Conversely, in which ways do your competitors outperform you? You should strategically create a list of topics you want to include on your customer-facing battle cards, such as:

        • Cost to consumer.
        • Value to consumer/ROI.
        • Features.
        • Customer support.
        • Customization.

        Again, these battle cards should be persuasive but honest. If there’s an area where your competitor is better than you, own it and put an explanation as to why. Your prospects will appreciate the honesty and have properly set expectations.

        On the contrary, make sure you don’t put too many negatives on your battle cards. These are still sales collateral pieces, and while it’s important to be truthful, make sure your battle card doesn’t create more harm than good in the sales cycle.

        Download the Free Battle Card Templates

        When it comes to one-on-one battle cards, your categories can change for each competitor so they reflect the main areas of difference between you.

        For example, if you’re nearly the same price as Competitor A, it may not be worth putting “price” on that battle card. However, if you’re a more affordable option compared to Competitor B, you may want to highlight “price” on your battle card with them.

        Lastly, for competitor overview battle cards, feel free to put more details on here that will be helpful for sales reps, as these cards are more often used internally than externally. You may want to include some fast facts for reps to reference, such as their annual revenue, pricing model, and relevant case studies.

        Pro tip: In many cases, negatives can be presented positively. Don’t be scared to own the areas in which your competitors are outperforming you, but explain why this isn’t a priority for you. What did you focus on instead, and why should it matter to the prospect?

        Testing It Out

        Returning to my literary magazine, what makes Distinct Quill stand out? I want to focus on the types of authors we represent, the submission process of my magazine, the price for readers, and the frequency with which we publish.

        3. Choose your competitor(s).

        Sales reps who have made it to the close phase — only to lose out again “the other option” again — know the names of your top competitors quite well.

        Make a list of your competitors and determine how often they come up in certain stages of the buyer’s journey. From there, you can determine whether or not the competitor deserves its own dedicated battle card or if it should just be included in a multi-competitor comparison card.

        If the competitor is an endgame threat, that’s where you’ll want to have a detailed, one-on-one battle card ready. If other competitors mostly come up in earlier conversations and don’t pose as much of a threat towards the end of the pipeline, it makes more sense to include them in a multi-competitor battle card (pictured below).

        Download the Free Battle Card Templates

        Pro tip: As the market expands and the offering grows, this is one area you’ll want to refine again and again.

        Testing It Out

        When picking out my competitors, I looked for different literary magazines that publish essays and stories. I’ve selected the following publications as competitors for my battle card:

        • The Believer, a literary magazine that includes book reviews, essays, and short stories.
        • Copper Nickel, a literary magazine focused on fiction and prose.
        • TriQuarterly, a literary magazine from Northwestern University.

        Free Sales Battle Card Templates

        3 free sales battle card templates. Customize your cards and crush the competition.

        • 1 In-Depth Competitor Battle Card
        • 1 Side-by-Side Competitor Comparison Battle Card
        • 1 Multi-Competitor Battle Card
        Learn more

          Download Free

          All fields are required.

          You're all set!

          Click this link to access this resource at any time.

          4. Do your research.

          The last thing you want to do is present a battle card to prospects only for them to call you out on incorrect information about your competitors. That’s why we have three words of advice for you — do your research.

          Battle cards should be a team effort across your organization — your sales team knows who your biggest competitors are, your marketing team knows about their brands, reviews, and online presence, and your customer success team knows why you’re losing existing clients to competition.

          That said, consider reaching out to representatives in any and all of these areas of your business when building your battle cards:

          • Sales.
          • Sales enablement.
          • Marketing.
          • Competitive intelligence.
          • Customer success.

          Building these solo? No problem! Aside from conversations with co-workers who know about your competition, consider taking the following steps to help build your battle cards.

          • Scour your competitors’ websites for objective facts and details.
          • Read online review sites for subjective input around topics like value and usability.
          • Search for mentions of your competition in the news or on social media.
          • Reach out to current accounts to see why they chose you over a competitor.

          You’ll thank yourself for your research efforts when you have a library of detailed collateral on each of your key competitors. These cards will make your sales reps’ jobs easier and impress prospects with the preparedness, clarity, and organization that your company values.

          With all of the information you’ve gathered, you can go ahead and start finalizing your battle cards for your sales team to use.

          Pro tip: Researching online is great, but get your sales team into a meeting and discuss what’s really happening on the calls. Who are your prospects talking about? Which companies or features are your prospects most tempted by? Use this information to decide what makes it on the card.

          Testing It Out

          For my mock literary magazine, I stuck to online research. I focused on the areas where my publication excels and made a brief comparison chart. This will help me craft a pitch if someone brings up my competitors.

          Download the Free Battle Card Templates

          5. Update Your Content Regularly

          Times change. You add more products and features, and so do your competitors.

          Building your battle cards should be seen as an ongoing project rather than a one-time task, so make a note to stay up-to-date on your competitors. Revisit the steps outlined in the section above on a regular cadence and update your battle cards as needed to avoid presenting false or outdated information on your competitors to your prospects.

          An added benefit of refreshing these battle cards consistently is a more keen eye on your competitors. Keep a lookout for updates that are worth passing over to your product team — they may inform your plans or product roadmaps in the future.

          According to 58% of professionals, keeping battle cards updated is a struggle, but there are some ways to make the process easier. 81% of people surveyed by Crayon are using or plan to start using AI. And 67% find AI helpful for updating battle cards. AI can be used to summarize content on competitor websites with key takeaways.

          Pro tip: Provide a place where the team can jot down notes about areas where the battle cards fell short. You can use this list as a potential “update list” for the future.

          David Reid, sales director at VEM Tooling depends on updated battle cards for a higher win rate and customer acquisition.

          He says, “As we keep updating and refining our battle cards with the latest market intelligence and customer insights, we stay ahead, adapting our sales strategies to counter evolving competitive threats. This approach helps our sales team, increases their confidence, and drives higher win rates and customer acquisition.”

          Ready for Battle

          At this point, you should be prepared to create sales battle cards for your top competitors by gathering prudent information and presenting it in a way that will help you win more deals.

          Get started today and use the battle card templates below.

          Editor's Note: This post was originally published in May 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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