What Are Battle Cards, And How to Use Them Correctly?

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What are battle cards, and how to use them correctly?

Battle cards are currently a very trendy competitive intelligence tool. But battle cards are a great way to show the insight you have created. Have them prepared before an important sales meeting. They are short and sweet cheat sheets that help you understand your competitors. Blow your prospect’s objections and your competitor’s benefits out of the water. Going in blind is never a good idea – no battle has ever been won without maps and accurate intelligence. But remember, battle cards are only a quick reporting tool. By themselves, they provide zero insight, and there’s so much more to competitive intelligence than a battle card. So what are battle cards, and how to use them correctly?

Battle card template

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Battle cards – a powerful weapon to help you fight off your competitors

Battle cards provide an excellent picture of how your competitors sell against you. This makes them a useful weapon in your armoury and invaluable for business planning sessions and your sales and marketing teams.

What are they?

Battle cards are short and sweet cheat sheets that help you understand your competitors. They chart your competitors’ products, pricing, marketing strategy, sales messages, strengths, weaknesses and value propositions. Battle cards enable you to turn all these factors against your competitors.

What is competitive intelligence?

Competitive intelligence is the finding & critical analysis of information to make sense of what’s happening & why. Predict what’s going to happen & give the options to control the outcome. The insight to create more certainty & competitive advantage.

Why do I need them?

If you’ve done your homework, battle cards are a great resource to have before an important sales meeting. They help you close more sales, arming you with product comparisons to support your case for your customers to buy from you and not someone else. Build a battle card for each competitor and serious prospect. Keep them up to date. Never be surprised by a competitor again.

When can I use them?

Have them handy when you have a planning meeting. Use them when your sales team are going to visit a potential customer. Battle cards will blow your prospect’s objections and your competitors’ benefits out of the water. Going in blind is never a good idea – no battle has ever been won without maps and accurate intelligence. 

Who shall I use them against?

The primary targets of battle cards are your competitors. However, as has been proven repeatedly, they can also be very powerful when built to understand your potential customers.

How do I create a battle card?

Create a battle card for each competitor. Begin by listing their products and services and other basic but valuable details. Think about your competitor. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine how they will act. Write a killer statement for each product or strength that will help you sink them. You now have a battle card for each of your competitors. Now, how about creating one for your prospective customers? This makes the tool even more powerful for potential customers to understand the marketplace you are selling in. Look at market size, market segmentation and market demand.

Six tips when creating a battle card

1. Answer these important questions: Who are the buyers within your target market? What problems do your customers and prospects experience? Which of your products or services will help them and why? How do you describe your products and services? Is it in your customers’ language?

2. Understand your customers’ needs: Find out what your potential customer cares about when selecting a product or service you can provide. What deals can you do for them? Can you offer the extra extras that can make or break a deal, such as customer support, warranties etc.?

3. Overcome objections: Arm your sales team with the information they need to bat away any concerns your customer or prospect may have about your products or services. Answer any problems they may have experienced in the past. Write success stories to show your customer how you have solved problems similar to their own.

4. Have a defined path to a sale: Prepare questions to drive your customer into signing a deal. In answering your questions, your customers will identify their needs and point them to the inevitable conclusion: to buy from you. Your questions should also be used as a trigger to match the best possible product to your customers’ needs.

5. As discussed, battle cards are just a quick reporting format, which have recently become very popular. They will promote them as the be-all and end-all because they are one format that works well with CI platforms. We urge you to spend the majority of your time collecting and analysing the information. Then use, put the insight into a battle card. 

6. Really take time to think about what insight to put into the battle card. Think about the user and what titbits they want to get their hands on quickly. So put the important stuff and the beginning, be consistent in their format and keep it simple. For instance, remove things like the address of a competitor’s head office, as it’s unlikely to be the bit of information to get a deal across the line.

Battle card template

Enter your details here to download our brand new battle card template and explainer. Built from real world use and experience:

What are battle cards, and how to use them correctly?

In conclusion, battle cards have become an increasingly prevalent tool in competitive intelligence. They provide a simple, organised and effective way to present the collected and synthesised data. Not only do they help sellers gain an advantage over their competitors, but they also can help inform the customer’s decision-making process. Battle cards can be used internally for team collaboration and externally with customers. As such, having battle cards prepared before an important sales meeting is essential for any successful business.

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