A Quick Guide to Creating Competition Battle Cards

Why Use Competition Battle Cards?

During the B2B sales and marketing processes, if there’s one question that the buyer is sure to ask, it will be some variation of “how does your product stack up against X competition?” Maybe the prospect is interested in a certain feature, price, or benefit – regardless of the specifics, your reps need to speak intelligently about how your product or service compares.

The struggle is that in any B2B sales role, there’s a lot of information to remember. The ability to retain every nuance of their product or service is no large feat, let alone the details of every competition.

That’s where competition battle cards come in. They’re essentially a cheat sheet for your sales reps. When a prospect brings up the competition, the rep can open the battle card and have instant access to that company’s product information and disadvantages in a quick, digestible format.

Instead of the classic “I’ll get back to you on that one,” the rep can speak with authority on how your company’s strengths differentiate from your competitions.

How to Develop Your Battle Competition Cards

Step One: Pick the Competition

Maybe you’re in a crowded market, and you have 50 businesses that could be called true competitions. Do you really need 50 battle cards? Maybe, maybe not, but don’t get in over your head. Start with the top five competitions that come up most in conversation. Don’t forget the biggest competition of all – status quo. Use these to test out your battle cards, finesse the design/information, and only then expand to the full sphere of competition.

Step Two: Research

Put on your detective hat – it’s time to start digging into your competition’s dirt. Try to find out pricing, service fees, product descriptions, general business data, etc. Some of the information will be available on their website, but other good sources for information are any company webinars they offer, Glassdoor employee reviews, and customer reviews via G2 Crowd or TechValidate.

Step Three: Review

Once you’ve compiled the research, it’s time to identify their strengths, weaknesses, and best responses to those strengths and weaknesses. The battle card should include more than just the company’s pricing structure, for example – it should state clearly whether or not they’re cheaper or more expensive than your company, and if cheaper, a clear response for why your higher price is worth it for the prospect.

Competition Battle Card Best Practices to Remember

Don’t Stuff Battle Cards with Fluff

The sign of a good battle card is one that reps actually use, so the goal for anyone creating a battle card is to fill it with information that’s actually relevant. Especially when using a template, it’s easy to fill the page with random information that, while accurate, will not help the reps during sales calls. A lot of battle card templates include a spot for the competition’s address, for example. If you think it’s likely that the rep will need that information, then include it! If not, there’s no reason to waste that valuable real estate on irrelevant info.

Keep Battle Cards Clean

The design that is. You may be tempted to put every bit of strategic research you were able to find into the template, but keep in mind that a battle card crammed with text isn’t going to serve its purpose. The design should be minimal and very easily scannable so that reps can get the insight they need at a glance. Remember that the sales rep will likely be multitasking while they access this information – holding a conversation with the prospect while searching for that competitive golden nugget that will help him or her close the deal.

Best Practices for Leveraging Battle Cards

Establish Expectations

These battle cards are a resource for sales reps, but they’re also a way for your company to ensure a unified response to questions about competitions. It’s important that the sales team knows not only that the battle cards are available, but also that using them is expected.

Centralize Access and Track Usage of Battle Cards

If you want reps to use the battle cards, you must make them easily accessible. You may want to consider uploading all of the battle cards to a cloud-based sales content library that serves as a one-stop-shop for sales rep resources. One of the great things about centralized content libraries is that you can see how often the battle cards are being used (and by whom). It’s a great way to track the effectiveness of the efforts and see which competitions are coming up most in conversation.

Keep Battle Cards Updated

An outdated battle card is worse than having no battle card at all. If a rep confidently states a competitor’s prices are higher than they are (based on old data), and the prospect finds out differently, that prospect will no longer trust anything the rep says. Make it a standard process to review the battle cards on a regular basis.

Include Battle Cards in Training

Any new sales rep should have a solid understanding of the competition, so be sure to leverage the battle cards as a training tool as well as a sales tool.

The Importance Of A Table Of Contents In A Nonfiction Book

Book Table of Contents
Book Table of Contents

There’s nothing more frustrating than scrolling through 100 pages of a book looking for something specific when there is no table of contents (TOC). While most authors treat it as an afterthought, it’s an important part of the package. A table of content displays the big ideas in a non-fictional book and where to find them. If you’re writing a book about `The Devil in the City’, you want the reader to have a quick reference guide of the contents. Obviously, this is a strong selling point so failing to include a table of contents (TOC) will make your book less marketable. Let me walk you through the importance of a table of contents (TOC).

Makes navigation a breeze

Readers need a reference point to locate all the important information. A TOC contains numbers which come in handy when viewing the soft copy of the word document. If your idea has no direction, your message may take a meandering path. It’s worth mentioning that a book without a clearly defined table of contents (TOC) can make the readers get lost along the way.

A detailed TOC is the perfect way of taking the reader where he or she wants to travel. He can focus on the most essential information and skip the most irrelevant. If you have a challenge with the structure, that problem needs to be solved before you work on your table of contents (TOC). Read on and learn more.

The Table of Contents Informs the reader And Tells what the book is about

Without a strong table of contents (TOC), the reader will have a rough time following your story. It’s imperative that you ensure the table of contents (TOC) supports the idea fully and benefits the readers. Not only that, the chapters should be worded in a way that makes the reader feel as if they are in the book itself. A non-fictional book needs a sound structure, so you want a table of contents (TOC) that supports the manuscript. Even better, the straight lines on the table direct the reader’s eyes. He can quickly grasp the idea rather than hunting through the text.

Gives the reader the scope and completeness of the book

A table of contents (TOC) is found on the page before the start of the book. It gives a brief description of the chapters and the page number. If it’s misaligned or misplaced, the entire content won’t function optimally. Note: the list chapters are the backbone of the book’s outline.

Without a clear table of contents (TOC), the reader will put down the non-fictional book – if they pick it up at all. Needless to say, they will give a bad review. It’s important that you create a structure that fleshes out and is unique in its category. If your book is in eBook format, the reader will prefer to have a table of contents (TOC) tied to a chapter.

Allows the reader to repeat the major parts of the book

If you’re downloading eBook on your mobile device, it becomes quite easy to look for what you want – you can read summaries and jump through chapters. More interestingly, you’re redirected to the table of contents (TOC) by tapping the same icon. While all the information on the book may be useful, some parts may be more eye-catching. At some point, a book to be finished because everything cannot be included in the book. When writing the table of content, be sure to nail down the real essence of the book.

Indicates the author’s style

If the table of content is smart and witty, the reader will know the manuscript features creative writing. To ensure you bring a wow factor to your audience, you should add a little originality. More clearly, a nonfictional book requires the writer to think about the reader.

The TOC will allow the reader to skim and understand the message the writer wants to put across. If it resembles a certain style, chances are that the rest of the book features the same writing. Therefore, before you sit down and write imagine it exists on Amazon or in a nearby bookstore.

Final thoughts

Let’s be honest: there is more to a non-fictional book than a catchy cover. The table of contents shows the reader what lies within the book. The table of contents can make the difference between an average and a great book. Without preparation, you’ll not get the results you want. Unlike a glossary or an index, writing a table of content is a piece of cake. It’s all about compiling a list of the parts – sections, chapters, and sub-chapters. Remember, young readers, are always drawn to books that give information about something they’ve always wondered about.

Related References

Selling tips for Amazon Central

Selling On Amazon Central
Selling On Amazon Central

Amazon Central is an interface that allows sellers to market their products and reach out to prospective customers in a way that helps boost sales. There are two versions of this interface; Vendor Central and SellerCentral. If you have a Vendor Central Account, then it means you are either a manufacturer or distributor. Holders of this account simply sell products directly to Amazon. Seller Central Account holders sell products directly to customers who find their way to Amazon, which is why they are considered third-party sellers.  If you are looking to make book sales on Amazon, these programs exist to help you out. Regardless Of whichever course of action you choose to take, here is a look at some Amazon Central tips for 2018;

Understand what kind of seller you are

Amazon will require you to pay a monthly fee for using their services. If you are the kind of seller that is only looking to sell a handful of books (less than 40) a month, then you definitely do not need to pay the$39.99 a month bigger seller is required to pay for the Professional Account. Additionally, you will only need to open more than one account if you are looking to sell products across continents.

Develop a working understanding of Amazon’s search algorithm

Amazon runs the A9 algorithm, and there are conditions you need to meet to maximize the potential of your books to sell. If previous customers loved how you handled their orders, then this algorithm will pick that up from your positive rating and push you upwards. The algorithm will also look at how probable your product is to sell by considering metrics such as your price in relation to the competition’s, your description of the product on sale as well your general rating.

Put up all relevant business information

If you do not qualify who you are on Amazon Central, then you are going to have a hard time proving your credibility. In your account,describe your business by name and location. Be sure to use a real, registered business name and avoid listing a home address. You should also provide contact information to allow buyers and Amazon staff to reach you when they need to. To Keep your account from getting breached by malicious parties, enable two-step verification. Finally, activate several modes of payment to make transitions easier for both yourself and the buyer.

Stick to the rules

There is always the odd seller looking to cut corners and get ahead of others. Doing that on your Amazon account is business suicide because they catch up to you sooner or later. When they do, the penalties are vastly consequential. Just play by the rules, because they are designed to help you. From time to time, Amazon tweaks their policies, so keep yourself updated and take advantage of attractive incentives to boost your sales. There are many thousands of people selling books on Amazon, and if you are to succeed in that cut-throat market, you need to keep trying out new approaches and stay updated about events in the marketplace.

Related References

The value of having an amazon author page

Selling On Amazon
Selling On Amazon

One of the best offers presented by Amazon is the devoted author pages. They offer immense benefits to both the author and customer in a number of ways. The Author central is also absolutely free provided you are listed in Amazon. The author page is one of the best every marketing tools to be availed by Amazon and many authors have realized this. You now have nothing to worry about marketing your books online whether you have a ranking or not.

Why is Amazon Author Central Important?

It gives personal control to an author.  You hold your future right in your hands by having a personal page with Amazon. The implication is that you will control everything clients see whether on your pages or books. There are many unique features to accomplish this, for instance, the book synapsis. From there, you can decide either to limit or expose your book and to what extent. Sounds great!

Amazon author central advertising employs shortage strategies to get readers to purchase books.

This makes most authors think that they are running out of stock. For instance, they may provide a statement such as Only 2 book left…’make your order soon’. The statement is a hoax meant to make more sales.

The page increase search engines

You need to be ahead of the selling game by creating catchy and unique titles for your books. The author page will help you in this provided you have an account with Amazon.

More selection of books

You can add more books as you want while creating new titles. This enables you to swiftly add the books toyour page and make a follow up on the sales

Keeping track of every sale

You can also make a follow up on your sale right from the Author central page. In addition to that, you can track on the exact location or country where sales have been made.

Addressing problems

As time goes by, there are chances of encountering matters such as book listing. The good news is that you can get in touch with Amazon and get your issues addressed. No need for future worries.

The page is author-friendly

As an author, you are likely to receive exemplary customer service. Despite a number of limitations with data,Amazon tries it best to reduce such limitations.

The author central also provides undercutting of Amazon Profits which is a huge advantage to you.

You may be selling a book let’s say at $20 but on one morning wake up to get the same book being sold at $10. That does not imply you will be paid less rather its Amazon giving offers from their profits to sell the books.

Linking with buyers

The Author central page has an option to make live discussions with potential readers. This means you can take advantage and get comments from buyers. Next time you will know what your readers want and improve on that.

Final thought

Amazon’s Author Page plays a key role to improve sales. You would have missed a lifetime opportunity for not using their resources since they are fast to optimize. Irrespective of the number of times you use the page, it’s valuable to have the pages optimized.

Related References

What Are The Most Popular Romance Sub-Genres?

Romance Books
Romance Books

Romance genre books list is very long. If you love romance topics, then you may have noticed several sub-genres. Even the subgenres have several distinct themes. It does not matter how long the list of romance sub-genre books is, they all share something in common. The books have emotionally satisfying ends which leave the readers with great optimism.

The reason why there so are many sub-genres in the romance

The many sub-genres in the romance novels are motivated by the fact that there is a high supply and the demand for the books. The writer’s research on what the readers want and they proceed to write. The publishers publish the books

and eBooks according to the demand. After the books have been written, the publishers classify them to make it easy for eager readers to access them. The high number of sub-genres in the category has both advantages and disadvantages.

How the classification system can become horrible

You may be a lover of romance books with suspense. In such a case, you will search for romance books with suspense, and you will be taken directly to the category where the romance books with suspense are listed. Your search will narrow you to specific few books which you will concentrate to read. The classification will have limited you in such a way you will only focus on the small number of writers who have focused on the romance with suspense while you ignore other writers who are highly talented but they are listed in other sub-genres of romance books.

There are several sub-genres in the romance category. You will have to be a dedicated reader to explore the different sub-genres available so that you can know the best readers whom you can focus on their books. Some of the sub-genres in romance include the following:

Romance books category

Series Titles

The category in romance books under the series titles consist of romance books with less than 200 pages and less than 55,000 words. The books come in clear categories. There are few books published in the various categories on a monthly basis. The books will share themes, but they will slightly differ from each other.

Single-Title Romance

The label is available on many romance eBooks, but it is not yet declared as a category. They consist of long books with 350 to 400 pages. In most cases, they can have words ranging between 100,000 to 110,000. Each of the books is different, and it can be listed on the bookshelves until the bookseller makes a decision to remove it.

Sub-genres:

Some of the sub-genres include the following:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • African –American Romance

Under the sub-genre of contemporary romance you can find the following themes:

  • Action/Adventure
  • Bikers
  • Baby Love
  • Billionaires
  • Cowboys
  • Chick Lit
  • Humorous
  • Love in the Workplace
  • Vacation Love
  • International Lovers
  • Medical
  • Rubenesque (Curvy / Plus Size)
  • Rock n Roll
  • Sports

Themes under Erotica sub-genre

  • African American
  • Fantasy
  • BDSM
  • Historical
  • Humorous
  • Horror
  • Interracial
  • Multiple Partners
  • LGBT
  • Mystery
  • Romantic
  • Paranormal
  • Suspense
  • Sensual
  • Thrillers
  • Victorian
  • Urban
  • Westerns
  • Gay Romance
  • Historical Romance
  • Fantasy Romance
  • Gothic Romance

There are several themes in the historical romance sub-genre, they include the following:

  • 20th Century
  • Gilded Age
  • America
  • Gothic
  • Medieval
  • Highlander
  • Native Americans
  • Pirates
  • Paranormal Historical
  • Regency
  • Scottish
  • Restoration and Enlightenment
  • Suspense and Intrigue
  • Victorian
  • Time-Travel
  • Western and Frontier
  • Viking
  • Holidays

Common themes under the Inspirational Romance sub-genre

  • Amish
  • Historical
  • Contemporary
  • Western & Frontier
  • Mystery & Suspense
  • Lesbian
  • Military Romance
  • New Adult Romance
  • Multicultural Romance

Common themes under Paranormal Romance sub-genre

  • Dragons
  • Ghosts
  • Fantasy
  • Historical
  • Psychics
  • Magic
  • Shapeshifters
  • Thrillers
  • Suspense
  • Vampires
  • Time-Travel
  • Romantic Comedy Regency Romance
  • Romantic Suspense
  • Sports
  • Science Fiction Romance
  • Time-Travel Romance
  • Western Romance
  • Vampires
  • Young Adult Romance

There are some romance sub-genres which are very popular. They are available in different print formats. Based on their popularity, you can get a clue on which is best to get started. Remember you need to locate the most interesting books in both print and eBook formats so that you can stay motivated to read them. The more the books you read, the higher the chances you will locate the best writers.They include the following:

Print format:

  1. Romantic Suspense -53%
  2. Contemporary Romance -41%
  3. Historical Romance -34%
  4. Erotic Romance -33%
  5. New Adult-26%
  6. Paranormal Romance -19%
  7. Young Adult Romance -18%
  8. Christian Romance -17%E-book format:
  9. Romantic Suspense -48%
  10. Contemporary Romance -44%
  11. Erotic Romance -42%
  12. Historical Romance -33%
  13. Paranormal Romance -30%
  14. New Adult -26%
  15. Young Adult Romance -18%
  16. Christian Romance -14%

Top ten popular romance Categories:

  1. Soul Mate/Fate
  2. Friends to Lovers
  3. Second Chance at Love
  4. First Love
  5. Secret Romance
  6. Strong Hero/Heroine
  7. Love Triangle
  8. Reunited Lovers
  9. Sassy Heroine
  10. Sexy millionaire/billionaire

There is a lot of reading materials you can enjoy if you love the romance topics. The books come in both eBooks and print format to choose your preferred format and category. It can be challenging when trying to choose the best book to read. If

you can apply tips such as checking on reviews other readers offer; it will be easy to locate a popular book. Going through the preview can as well give you an overview of what you can expect after reading a given book. You will never run short of options considering there are many books on Amazon which you can read and learn a lot in the field of romance.

Related References

The overlooked marketing value of the Other Works page

The ‘Blank’, ‘Ad card’, or ‘Other Works‘ page is an often-ignored marketing and book sales opportunity.  This is especially true in the eBook area, where most articles on eBook formats don’t even mention them.  For the independent publisher it nearly free advertising.

What is the ‘Other Works‘ page?

The short answer is the ‘Blank’, ‘Ad card’, or ‘Other Works‘ page is in a books front matter, for book sales and marketing, which lists other books titles written by the author, or if the book is part of a series. This is not only your chance to pitch your other works but as the list grows larger, it tells the reader that you are an experienced author.

When should an author take advantage of the ‘Other Works’ page?

You Should add the Other Works page when you are finishing your second book for publication and every book you publish thereafter.

When should the ‘Other Works’ page be updated?

The Other Works page should be updated, by adding the book title of each newly published book.  However, the name of the book in which the page is being included should be omitted because it would be redundant, obvious.

In the case of eBooks, where the manuscript can quickly be edited and republished, the Other Works page of all eBooks should be updated with the titles of new publications as soon as the new publication is published.

Should the ‘Other Works’ be included in eBooks?

Yes; although there are many who will say otherwise.  Why sacrifice the marketing opportunity, when it is so little work to add and main the Other Works page’.  In an eBook, it is likely best positioned, later in the front material somewhere after the Product Description Page.

Related References

Should you have your own writer or book website?

How to Market And Sell Your Books
How to Market And Sell Your Books

Every author, published or unpublished, needs a platform to reach their target audience. An author website is one among the many platforms available today. If you’re looking to pursue a professional, long-time career in writing it’s important, you start building your own space. Your website is the online home and hub for everything you do in real life or on the digital realm.

It is therefore imperative to run a website that will act as your digital footprint, a business card, a valuable networking tool, and space to showcase your writing craft in beautifully penned words. While it won’t, necessarily, be a household hit when starting, your website will eventually gain its organic traction and incremental growth over time.

Why Is Having A Book Website Important

A lot of authors today promote their books on social media or the author platform provided by Amazon. And for a lot of them, this kind of publicity works.

So, is having a book website really that necessary? Yes, it is! Here is why.

Your own book website is not dependent on any other second or third-party decisions. You are the boss, you customize the site how you want, you publish the content you want, and you are in complete control of every aspect of the website.

Publicizing your book on other platforms without your own website is like renting/leasing a house. At the end of it all, the owner has more power and leverage when it comes to decisions. Having your own website, on the other hand, is equal to buying your own property. You are the maker of all decisions.

What Can A Book Website Do for You

The greatest benefit of having a book website is the ability to cross-publicize your content. You can easily promote your content on very many different sites at the same time without having to do so much work. All you need to do is to link every other platform to your book website, and the rest will be achievable by just a click of a button.

How to Market Your Book Through Your Website

Publish your book’s landing page on your site

A landing page is a form on your website that captures the information of visitors in exchange for an offer. A landing page aims to convert visitors into prospective customers. For example, you can put up a few lines of an excerpt of your book then requests visitors to fill out their personal details on the form to read the entire excerpt.

Post blogs about your upcoming book

Keep your fans in the loop about what to expect in your upcoming book. This can be achieved by regularly publishing posts on your website on anything and everything about your upcoming book. This will enable to create a fan base that will be a viable, solid market for your book when you release it.

Create a countdown timer for the book’s release date.

It may look like such a trivial task, but the impact of having a timer on your website is tremendous. A countdown timer will build the anticipation for your book’s release and keep you on your toes to ensure you meet your targets and deadlines. The timer will make it easy for your viable market to plan adequately to purchase your book when released. It also catches the attention of visitors who might have stumbled on your site.

Include sample chapters from your book

This is the perfect way to tease your readers by giving them, a sneak peek of what to expect in your new book. A well-thought-out sample chapter preview will keep them hungry and ready to purchase your book as soon as it is available.

Link to video clips and articles about the book on your website

Whenever anything is written about your upcoming book, or it is featured anywhere, you need to let your readers know. This will attract visitors that can be turned to leads by letting them know what other people are saying about your new book.

Link to other sites

If your publications are available on different websites, you can easily make them accessible to your readers through your website. Just provide the links to other sites on your websites, and your readers will have convenient access to your publications.

Set up Alerts

This ensures that whenever your name and your book show up online, you will be notified. Therefore, if someone gives you good feedback or a stellar review, reach out and thank them and ask them to link back to your book’s website.

How to Make Your Website Work for You

Remember we mentioned cross publicizing your book and how the click of a button can do it? Here a few tips on how to get your website working for you.

Provide an RSS or Atom feed subscribe option

RSS feeds are the simplest way to alert your readers anytime you post some new content on your website. Also, the subscription to your website’s RSS feed lets you know the number of subscribers you have thus providing you with a clear estimate of the viable market your book will have.

Provide an email subscription option

Allowing readers to subscribe to your website via email creates another channel for you to communicate to them through scheduled informational emailing directly. You can always update them on new information about your upcoming book release as well as new blog posts on the website.

 Link to and from your Amazon author central page

On your website, you can provide a link to your Amazon author central page. Similarly, provide a link to your site on your Amazon author central page. This will ensure that you tap on readers from both ends. This will increase your traffic on both platforms and ensure your readers are always in on the loop about you and your books.

Link to and push publish your social media sites

Provide the links of your social media pages such as Facebook and Twitter on your website to allow your readers to follow you on those platforms as well.  Using your site’s ‘Publicize’ features, at least on WordPress’; you can also authorize your website to share your blog posts on your social media platforms to increase your audience reach.

Enable widget features

By enabling site widgets, you can do things like:

  • Connect to Goodreads and display your books from Goodreads
  • Enable social network sharing to allow your readers to easily spread the word
  • Provide Eventbrite to allow self-serve event ticketing

I’m sure there are others, but you get the gest.

The Cost Factor of Your Website

As a writer, keeping an eye on the costs, you incur in your publication journey is very important. How much will it cost you to have your own book website? Zero, absolutely nothing. You can easily create a book website on various platforms for free. And as your traffic and marketing needs increase, then you can upgrade to paid servers such as Bluehost or GoDaddy.

So, what are you waiting for? Get your book website up and running today and let everyone know all about your publications.

Related References