You don’t have a battle card? Don’t battle in a new market
You think if you have a great product, the product speaks for itself. The truth is, when it comes to expanding to a different market, unfortunately nobody knows your product, your name, your brand, and your fame in your home country.
In business, an overseas expansion is like combat. You don’t go onto a battlefield without having any weapons. You have to have something that’s convincing, otherwise you lose the battle. In business, it’s something we call a “battle card.” It explains why your products are better than others, what features are compelling to target users, how your products can solve customers’ pain, and what features are important to their business. So, what exactly is a battle card?
Product overview & Features
What exactly is your product? Can you make it shorter and more straightforward? A lot of times, people say, “Well, if you buy our product, you’ll get it.” This is only applicable to your partners, not to end users since you cannot give away your products before they are purchased. Your partners, such as distributors and resellers must explain and convince to the end users.That’s your job to explain partners to understand what you sell.
People are busy, but when people say “I’m busy,” that means they unfortunately aren’t interested in your product. The way you deliver the message is somehow wrong. If the message is interesting, and catches the target’s attention, people won’t say “busy” because that will benefit them. If you pitch right, customers are always interested in what you are about to say.
Target market & Key audience
Targets have to be very precise. Key audiences have to be narrowed down as much as possible. Narrowing down the target has never been easy because it scares you to throw away the rest of the other target. However, if you don’t do that, nobody listens, nobody cares, and nothing happens. If you want to stop someone on a street, you call her/his name, you need to do the same.
Value propositions may overlap with other items, but a value proposition isn’t a concept. It has to be based on the actual customers’ feedback, and it has to be developed on the ground. Thus, a value proposition, without actual market feedback, does not help a product sell in a new market. You can check and see the template of the value proposition canvas, and yet, you can only develop it by executing.
Key message by target title
This primarily applies to B2B products. Your message has to be different from the person you are talking to. For example, you don’t ask website traffic to a CEO of 1,000 employees. You have to ask a digital marketing manager. That’s an extreme example, but if you don’t identify your target job title, you are making the same mistake as the one above. One point that you need to be careful is that job titles are different from companies. If job titles are unclear, you might want to identify a target job description.
Customers pain points
Pain points should be objective, not subjective. If you are only imagining pain points, you are subjective. If you actually go out and listen to your customers, it’s objective. The problem is that customers don’t disclose their true pain points. There has to be reasoning that your customer needs to talk about their pain points because they, of course, are aware of their challenges and hurdles. If they are not telling you’re the real points, there should be lack of reasoning for them to disclose it.
Competitive landscape & differentiation
You say, “We’re the only company that can manufacture this, and no one else does.” That’s a stunningly amazing and wonderful thing. On the other hand, there are always adjacent and alternative categories of your products. It’s always the customers who decide if the products is only one or not. If the product is only one, customers have no idea what you are talking about. You have to relate your product to your customers’ mind — otherwise, they won’t get it.
Customer reference, endorsement, & case studies
Your brand equity in a new market is quite low, unless you work with some of the top Fortune 500 companies. Bad news is Japanese don’t really know what the Fortune 500 companies are. Therefore, it is critical that you can explain the effectiveness of the product logically and reasonably with solid evidence. Otherwise, there is nothing for them to understand about the very best aspects of your product.
How do you qualify your target customers? BANT, or GPCTBA/C&I as Hubpsot suggests?
Qualifying questions are not like “do you have enough of a budget?”, but they have to be predicated on and developed based on the target customer’s needs and pains. They have to be personal otherwise, they can’t answer your questions. It’s not that they don’t have answers to your questions, it’s that they’re not on point. You need craft qualifying questions that will be very natural and easy to answer for your targets.
People are really good at denying your offer. They came up with millions of objections if they don’t like it or need it. It’s like you try to lose weight and you come up with millions of excuses not to do exercise and eat healthy. Handling objections is not proving you are right, but having empathy with their possible objections before they say it to understand what they are really need. It’s a repeating process to hone to handle objections.
Strength and weaknesses
You believe your product is great. You love your product and the advantages are the things that you only see; if you like it or not, your product has weaknesses, just like all other products. That means your competitors have their weaknesses. You need to identify them and prove your product is far better than your competitors and alternatives. No product is perfect, and you can take advantage of that nature of the business to make it better.
So, you need to prepare for all of the above? Of course, some apply and some don’t. It’s all about preparation. Where is the answer? Your customer has it. If you do your homework, people listen. If not, you are talking to the empty air. There are contradictions, but if you over-prepare, you lose your opportunities. You can find a fine balance between effective preparation and hitting the market. If you don’t know how to localize it, you can contact us.