Without a sales team (or at least, someone acting as a sales team), it would be mighty challenging for a company to get any clients. Your salespeople instill trust in the buyer and help generate a positive customer experience – they’re essential. Accordingly, you want to set them up for success. A great way to do this? Create well-designed, informative sales collateral. With a solid product and the right materials in their arsenal, your sales team will be unstoppable.
The Difference Between Sales And Marketing Collateral
The end of the marketing funnel marks the beginning of the sales funnel, and each of these phases requires a different approach. Sales and marketing collateral, while similar in nature, serve very different purposes.
What The Collateral Is Used For
Marketing collateral is meant to be broad. It tells the potential customer how their problems can be solved, but more than that, it brings the company to the forefront of the consumer’s mind. Sales collateral, on the other hand, is much more direct. It tells the customer why your product is the best solution, informs them of the nitty-gritty details, and helps them evaluate their options so they can come to a final decision (ideally, one that ends with them buying your product).
When You Use The Collateral
Another difference between these two types of collateral is when they are used. Marketing materials are generally reserved for the earlier stages of the buyer’s journey, particularly, the awareness and interest phases. During these stages, prospects are trying to find as much information as they can about the problem they are facing, but they aren’t quite ready to narrow down their search – they just want to know what their options are.
Sales collateral is most effective after the marketing materials have drawn the customer in. Sales content shows up during the decision and action stages of the buyer’s journey when the customer is weighing their options, digging deeper into what the company has to offer, and deciding whether or not to buy. So, while marketing materials tend to cover only surface-level details about the product, sales materials get specific; they dive into pricing, features, real-world use cases, etc. While they aren’t great for introducing someone to the brand, they’re perfect for those who are already expressing interest; they’re the final push that drives a customer to purchase your product.
Common Types Of Sales Collateral
There’s no finite list of what does and does not count as sales collateral. If a piece of content helps move a prospect through the sales funnel, that content qualifies. While we can’t include them all, here are a few of the most popular (and effective) forms of collateral your sales team can utilize:
Whether they’re printed out or digital, brochures can be extremely useful when prospective customers are transitioning from the interest to the decision stage of the buyer’s journey. Brochures can be used to compare a company’s offerings in more depth or dive into one particular solution, and they often include copy about the product’s features, underlying technology, use cases, and for physical products, dimensions.
When designing a brochure, you’ll want to balance aesthetics with functionality. On one hand, a beautifully designed brochure legitimizes the company. On the other hand, it still has to be legible and informative, as you don’t want the design to get in the way of the brochure’s purpose – educating potential buyers. It can help to include engaging graphics, charts and graphs, and clear headings to make this sales collateral more digestible.
It’s one thing to tell prospective customers why your product or service is great, but it’s a whole nother thing to show them. With a product video, you can demonstrate how your product will solve their problems in real life. Not only is this a great way to encourage engagement, but explainer videos are also an easy way to build trust. People can see your product in action, alleviating concerns around whether or not the product actually works the way you say it does.
According to HubSpot, 94% of marketers surveyed claimed that videos helped increase user understanding of their product or service, and 96% of people report watching explainer videos to learn more about a product. Of those people, 88% were convinced to make a purchase. The benefits of explainer videos hold up for software as well; 78% of people say they’ve been convinced to purchase an app or piece of software because of a video.
Once the buyer enters the decision stage of the buyer’s journey, they’ve likely determined which product or service is right for them, but they might need a little push to actually make the purchase. With a customer testimonial, you can solidify in their minds that your product will solve their problem, as they’ll be able to see that real people were helped by trusting your company. In short, customer testimonials legitimize your solutions, giving the buyer the push they need to go through with the purchase.
Similar to testimonials, case studies recount a customer’s experience working with a company, where the two differ is in depth. While testimonials offer little more than a review of the company or its products, case studies go deep into the customer’s process. They give a detailed account of the problem they faced, what solutions they chose, how those solutions solved their problem, and what the outcome was in the end.
For sales teams, case studies are an absolute must. When prospective customers can see how your company assisted other customers with the same or similar problems they have, they’ll be more likely to see your company’s offerings as viable solutions. In addition, case studies also build trust. It isn’t you saying your company is great, it’s actual people saying that, and consumers tend to trust real people over companies.
As one of the first interactions you have with a potential customer beyond marketing, your sales deck may just be the most important piece of sales collateral you have. A sales deck is a slideshow presentation that explains your company’s product and why the prospect needs to buy it. It should lay out the problem your customers are facing, how your product solves them, and how the buyer will benefit by using your company.
Tips For Making Your Sales Materials More Effective
Keep Your Branding Consistent
By using the same typefaces, imagery, and colors and conveying the same value proposition, tone, and brand personality throughout your sales collateral, you can create a consistent brand identity. This will not only help people recognize your brand better, but it will also give it credibility.
Make Sure The Materials Are Current
If your sales materials aren’t current, you may not be giving prospects accurate information. To ensure that you are, double-check that you’re using the most up-to-date logos, phrasing, colors, prices, product descriptions, and images. And if your company has multiple versions of sales materials, make sure you use the most recent iteration.
Collaborate Across Departments
If your sales team operates in a silo, they could be missing vital information, impacting their ability to close a deal. For example, if the marketing team notices that the majority of people who visit the site click on one specific feature page, the sales team would know to emphasize that feature in their sales pitch. If the customer service team finds that many people who call don’t realize the product can do XYZ, the sales team would know to mention that capability. With knowledge from every department, the sales team can make well-informed decisions, helping them convert leads into customers.
Streamline Your Sales Content Creation With Ashore
Before you send your sales collateral out into the world, you’ll want to make sure that it’s truthful, attractive, and up to date. To make sure you hit the mark, you’ll need a solid proofing process. With Ashore, you can create custom workflows to fit any team, track your progress on the Ashore dashboard, and set automatic reminders to review. The best part is, when you give feedback on a design, you can use markup tools, reply in threads, and tie your comments to specific places on the page to put that feedback into context. With all of this (and more), not only does Ashore help users create superior final designs, it also saves time. Our users see their proofs approved 50% faster. So, are you ready to streamline the review and approval of your sales collateral? Start your 14-day free trial now!