As a result of a number of factors including the growth ambitions of Gentrack and Utiligroup, sales pressure around core IT systems for the UK gas and electricity market is likely to increase in 2019.
As well as adding feature enhancements and introducing new products, the key vendors are likely to be uplifting their business development team and partner channels with tools which will increase their competitive advantage.
Product brochures, webinars, demonstrations etc will be plentiful. Therefore customers will be armed with more information about their alternative choices than ever before.
The importance of the human factor in successfully closing deals cannot be overstated. Vendors that are aware of this will provide a flow of valuable information about products/services to their frontline. They will work hard to enhance the capabilities of their people on an ongoing basis. Critical capabilities for the business development channels at AMT Sybex, Dyball Associates, Ensek, Gentrack, Utiligroup et al include:
Through its work as a systems integrator, tilix.energy has built up a library of battlecards. This is an important information asset for vendors and buyers alike which covers topics including: shell company, billing, CIS, market messaging, forecasting and digital marketing. Each battlecard details two or more offers and follows the template outlined below.
This is an executive summary comprising:
The size of the market, product penetration rates, estimated market demand and other relevant data are given here. The main aim is to enable the frontline to have a base level of understanding about the marketplace that they are operating and trying to sell in.
This section contains information about the specific customer segments that will be targeted. This will go beyond demographics and will include information about the needs & behaviours of the customer segment.
Product specifics are provided in customer-centric language. This section is especially important for ensuring the same features are highlighted and discussed by the frontline.
Relationships with other products should also be highlighted. For example, so that cross-sell opportunities are possible.
If time-bound promotions are included in this section, then it must be kept up to date to ensure the latest information is available.
The relative strengths and weaknesses of competing products are detailed here. Other points to highlight include pricing, warranty and those features which are most likely to give a competitive advantage and deliver customer benefit.
Based on the target customer segments and competitor analysis, the main proposition for why the vendor’s product should be accepted by the target customers is provided in this section.
Based on feedback compiled from customers, responses to the most common objections should be listed here. If the product has certain features that have created poor word-of-mouth then the frontline should be ready with counter-points.
These questions will elicit the customer’s concerns around time, cost, scope and quality. Most importantly, the answers should help ensure that the best possible terms are offered to the customer.
Specificity here is vital. For example, customers who switch to this technology get annual savings of around 30% on their total cost of ownership.
The highlighted benefit should be tailored to the customer segment in question. Clearly, customers who are not price sensitive would not value the above statement.
Information about how the sales reps can get more market intelligence are provided here. This could range from links to an intranet to contact details for a systems integrator partner.
Well prepared battlecards can ultimately play an important role in empowering a business development team, better preparing them to succeed. These cards not only help to increase sales. They are also an additional training mechanism which help in on-boarding new employees.
Buyers can also utilise the battle card format to help in comparing and contrasting competing offers.
Battlecards should be restricted to a few pages at most. They are, after all, not product brochures. Details that will not aid in the sales/purchasing process should be excluded, filler serves no purpose here. Also, the language should be kept simple, avoiding use of jargon.
Contact Tilix Smart Energy to discover if the products you are interested in are in our battlecard library.