Sales teams are one of the biggest driving forces of revenue in every organization.
Salespeople are responsible for fostering growth and promoting a business by constantly generating leads, interacting and building relationships with prospective customers and existing customers, and importantly closing deals.
Looking at the huge responsibility that lies on their head, not forgetting the unending pressures from the business executives and sales leaders to close deals, sales reps have to equip themselves with the right resources to help them close deals much faster.
This is where the need for high-quality and engaging sales collateral comes in. A sales collateral includes any form of resources – printed or digital content – that helps sales reps move prospects down the sales funnel and close sales deals seamlessly.
For sales to occur, customers need to be convinced enough that a product is right for them. While doing this verbally for each prospect can lengthen the sales process, the use of sales collateral content and material can help enrich your prospect’s knowledge about the company and help them make their purchase decision faster.
In this article, we will provide all you should know about sales collateral and how you can use sales collateral to drive revenue.
Table of Content.
- What is sales collateral?
- Who creates sales collateral?
- How can sales collateral benefit your business?
- Types of sales collateral for different stages of the customer lifecycle.
- Tips for creating highly engaging sales collateral.
- Best practices for sales collateral management.
- Sales collateral content ideas.
What is sales collateral?
Sales collateral is any kind of content developed and designed to support sales activities and help move the prospects through the stages of the sales funnel. It is a form of sales enablement content that provides the sales team with the right resources they need to close deals.
Extensive research reports on sales and lead conversion have revealed that the best way to attract the attention of prospective customers and motivate them to buy from you in the early stage is by providing them with a value proposition.
For this purpose, a sales collateral provides potential customers with useful, timely, and valuable information that helps them make a purchase decision. The ultimate goal of a sales collateral is to make the jobs of sales reps easy during their early interactions with the prospects and give prospects a reason to choose your company over others.
Time is crucial for salespeople who are constantly racing each other to convince a customer to make a purchase. The use of sales collateral could potentially reduce the time it takes for a sales rep to close a deal by having the key conversion resources readily available for prospects.
You can use different sales collateral to achieve various goals, for example,
- Whitepapers: can be used to explain important industry trends or topics and position your company as a thought leader in your product or service industry. You can use whitepaper to help your prospect understand why they should choose you.
- Case studies: can be used to show your expertise and impact in solving specific issues.
Who creates sales collateral?
A sales collateral is the sole responsibility of the marketing team. Traditionally, the marketing department oversees the content writing and creation duties for the majority of the departments in an organization.
However, with few exceptions to these traditional duties, marketing teams in most cases have to work with the sales team to develop the sales collateral to ensure the content has the right information and insights that leads and prospects can relate with to achieve the desired results.
How is the sales collateral different from the marketing collateral?
A key difference between sales collateral and marketing collateral is that the former is the collection of content that aims to increase conversion rate and influence a prospective customer to purchase while the latter is the content that is used to educate prospects and customers about how they can solve their problems or pain points.
Although both collateral -sales and marketing – aim to achieve the same end goal. Some of their notable differences include;
1. Educative vs. decisive.
Marketing collateral aims to only educate prospects on the way they can solve certain problems or achieve their goals while sales collateral aims to influence prospects to make a purchase decision.
2. Top of the funnel vs. middle/bottom of the funnel.
Marketing collaterals are mostly used at the top of the sales funnel in the buyer’s journey – the awareness stage – where prospects are looking to increase their knowledge of your products and services, while sales collaterals are used at the middle to bottom of the funnel – the consideration and decision stage – to intensify the sales efforts and motivate prospects to buy. Find the complete guide about buyer persona.
How can sales collateral benefit your business?
The primary goal of sales collateral is to provide prospective customers with valuable company information, move the sales discussion forward and help move prospects to the decision stage.
Aside from this goal, sales collateral can also help you achieve the following;
1. Support salespeople.
One of the most important reasons why sales teams use sales collateral is to support their sales activities and efforts.
Judging by how busy so many prospective and existing customers are, it can be challenging to give salespeople an audience or even have the patience to listen to what they have to say. In this case, sales reps can send them the suitable sales collateral content that they can always refer to in their free time.
2. Create awareness for your products.
With the numerous brands offering almost the same product or service to their customers and the endless list of resources available at their disposal online, it can be hard to increase your product or service awareness among prospects or customers without them mixing it up with other similar brands.
However, when you give them your sales collateral content, it can help them understand your product or service offering and how it can benefit them.
3. Build brand credibility.
As explained previously, the key to increasing your customer base and closing all your sales deals is giving your customers and prospects a reason to choose you over other similar brands.
You can achieve this easily by sending your prospects and customers the content that will provide them with valuable information and help them answer or clarify any of their questions or doubts.
4. Showcase your expertise.
For your prospects and customers to choose you over your competitors, you have to be seen as a thought leader or an expert in your field. Everyone wants to be with someone that can add value to their lives.
You can use your sales collateral to showcase your previous works and past and current clients, as well as, your opinion on topical issues to convince a prospect to buy from you.
5. Empower your contact to make a decision.
In the case where you are sending cold emails or making cold calls to leads, you are not very sure of their position or authority to make purchase decisions.
You might want to consider sending them some of your resourceful sales collateral like a brochure or whitepaper to provide them with all the important information they need to convince the person in authority to invest in your company.
6. Gives you an edge over your competitors.
With the number of similar brands that a customer has to assess and interact with before choosing one, you need to up your game to outdo these competitors to win the customer.
By creating numerous sales collateral that customers can find online, more customers and prospects can see your content and discover your brand before they finally choose it. Your sales collateral with valuable content of public interest can give you a competitive edge. Also, check out B2B sales, SaaS sales and tech sales.
Types of sales collateral for different stages of the customer lifecycle.
Interestingly, there are now several types of content that sales and marketing teams can use to support their leads and revenue generation tactics.
Considering that leads and prospects have to move through different stages of the buyer’s journey, sales reps can leverage stage-specific sales collaterals to target prospects as they progress in the sales cycle.
In this section, we will look at the different stages that prospects or customers go through in the sales funnel and the types of sales collaterals that can help move prospects from the awareness stage down to the decision stage.
The awareness stage is the first stage of attracting the attention of your prospects or leads by building awareness of your product, services, and brand as a whole. It is the stage where a prospect first becomes aware of your business solutions.
It is typically considered the most important stage of the customer lifecycle – it is the stage where they discover your business and learn about your offerings, values, and propositions.
This is the perfect time to help your prospect discover their problems and encourage them to find solutions to these problems. To achieve this, they begin to find all the necessary information that they can use to help them solve the problem. Consider sending them the following types of sales collateral content to win them to your side.
Type of sales collateral in the awareness stage.
1. Blog posts.
These are one of the best collateral content to build awareness with new leads or prospects. Blog posts are entertaining, easy to understand, and provide the best option to demonstrate thought leadership and diverse knowledge on interesting topics. Blog posts are easy to share with leads and can help them connect to other content.
2. Social media.
Social media is one of the most effective sales collateral. It is the use of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to showcase your brand, products, and services and post content that will be relevant and helpful to your prospects. Social media provides you an opportunity to build a relationship with your prospects and show them that you understand and care about their pains and frustrations.
3. eBooks and Guides.
eBooks and guides are perfect sales collateral examples that you can send to your prospects in the early stage of your communication with them. You must ensure that it is in the right format – a web-based interactive format where they can easily navigate and find information.
4. Website landing pages.
Your company’s website is the hub of all your sales and marketing activities that houses all the relevant information about your products and services, pricing information, as well as, discounts or offers. At the awareness stage, you can dedicate a landing page to serve the needs of your prospects – provide them information and answer all their questions.
5. Content pillars.
Content pillars otherwise known as pillar pages are guides that provide deeper explanations of topics. It allows you to answer questions that your prospects may have on certain issues and provide high-level research findings. Content pillars are used to drive traffic to specific pages on your website and are effective to persuade prospects to move through their customer’s journey.
Infographics are crucial sales collateral content that provides a visual analysis or presentation of certain topics or subjects. They help to boost social media engagement and inform prospects about key findings or complex information.
Newsletters are one of the most relevant sales collateral that helps remind a lead or prospect about you and your products or services. It also provides links to more information on your blog or website.
In the consideration stage, your customers have gotten all the information they need about your business and solutions. They are most likely weighing the pros and cons of choosing you over your competitor by checking how well your product fits their needs or budget.
Either way, this is the time for you to intensify your communication with them to show them what makes your product or services better than your competitors as well as, the benefits they stand to gain when they choose you.
Consider sending them the following types of sales collateral content to make them choose you.
Type of sales collateral in the consideration stage.
1. Corporate brochures.
Brochures are promotional documents that convey a wide range of information about a company, its products or services, and some of their customer’s pain points to convince prospective customers to choose them.
2. Fact sheets.
Fact sheets can be used all through the sales process to provide your prospective customers with facts and figures on your product usage, costs, and return on investments to convince them to choose you.
3. Product catalogs.
Product catalogs are a list of the products your company offers with images. It is your perfect opportunity to showcase your products and what makes them special. Create a catalog that is visually compelling and interactive to impress your prospects in the consideration stage.
4. Case studies.
You can use a case study to tell your brand or product story using customer success stories. It allows you to show prospects what they stand they gain when they also choose your brand. Consider adding images like a customer using the product or visiting your showroom to create more effect on prospects.
Whitepapers are documents that help you present research findings, company process information, product data, and a variety of other factual information. They are important sales content that shows prospects that your brand is an expert in the field.
Creating and sending videos to prospects is the perfect way to add a personal touch and put a face to your brand name. They are engaging, easy to share, and a great platform to promote your brand. Create videos that speak to the needs of your prospects to coax them to choose you.
The decision stage is when you have successfully moved your prospects to the final stage in the sales cycle – they have studied and compared your products and offering to others and have decided to buy from you.
But note that this does not necessarily mean that they will eventually buy from you. A lot can happen within that short period, and if you are not at the top of your game, you could still lose them to your competitors. So how can you influence/motivate them to buy from you?
Consider sending them the following types of sales collateral content to help them decide faster.
Type of sales collateral in the decision stage.
Sales presentations are a powerful tool for building a personal connection with your prospects and help you stand out from competitors. A good sales presentation adds social proof, storytelling, and statistics to sell a product or service that can help your prospects solve their challenge or pain points.
Sales proposals otherwise known as business proposals, project proposals, or executive summaries are documents created by sales representatives to pitch their services or products to potential customers. You can impress your prospects with your proposals.
3. Digital reports.
Digital reports are sales materials that report facts or data that have been collected from various sources including manual user entry and calculations. They are usually in a PDF or web page format and are mostly distributed via emails to prospects.
Tips for creating highly engaging sales collaterals.
A sales collateral is a document that your prospects will interact with all-through their buyer’s journey as explained in the last section.
To create sales collateral examples that will increase engagement and help you build a relationship with your clients, consider the following tips:
1. Collaboration is crucial.
Creating sales collateral requires the collaboration of the sales and marketing teams. While the marketing team is well informed about using content to create product awareness, sales teams understand the process and tactics involved in selling to the customers.
For this reason, both teams must join hands to use their ideas, knowledge, and expertise to create engaging sales collateral.
2. Enable easy access to your content.
There’s no point in creating a high-quality sales collateral that people can’t access easily as it undermines the whole idea of sales collateral. After creating the powerful content, you must take the extra effort to make the right content easily accessible to the right people and at the right time.
3. Keep customers at the center of your content creation.
The primary reason for creating sales collateral is to provide customers with valuable information that can help them make a purchase decision faster and with more confidence in your products or service.
You have to make sure that you write for your customers – provide them valuable information, address their challenges or pain points, and offer solutions to their problems.
4. Update your content regularly.
Sales reps in many cases have to use about 10 – 15 sales collaterals to enable their selling process. With this many sales collaterals going out to different prospects at different times, you have to make sure that the information you are sharing is timely, relevant, meaningful, and up-to-date, to help you achieve your goals.
Best practices for sales collateral management
The use of sales collaterals to support sales efforts must be deliberate and well-coordinated to help you achieve your goals.
In this section, we will look at some of the best practices for managing sales collateral to succeed:
- Always remember that your prospects and customers are at the center of your sales content creation.
- Identify buyer personas to get an idea of the people you are writing for.
- Research your competitors to see what they are doing.
- Invest in a collaborative platform to streamline your sales process.
- Personalize your sales collateral.
- Evaluate your sales collateral to track their performance.
- Develop your publishing calendar.
- Restrict access to confidential data or information.
- Reuse your sales collateral for other campaigns outside of sales prospecting.
Sales collateral content ideas.
Coming up with content ideas for the various types of sales collateral can be a bit challenging. Looking at how sales reps still use sales scripts to guide their conversations with their clients, there is also the need to get ideas for your sales collateral.
For this reason, we have identified some of the most efficient sales collateral ideas that you can use to create engaging and relevant sales collateral.
- Look at competition to study what they are doing to drive sales.
- Consider your company and customers’ success stories.
- Attend events and conferences within your industry to understand trending topics and challenges that your prospects might have.
- Evaluate the performance of your existing content to get an idea of what people are reading/downloading to develop more content on the subject or topic.
- Ask your colleagues, co-workers, networks, etc., to get their opinion on topical issues.
- Create a survey.
Invest in Sales Collateral to help you grow
Sales collateral is your best option to move prospects through the customer’s cycle to increase sales and drive overall organizational growth.
For this to happen, your sales collateral must be timely, engaging, and contain all the relevant information that can help prospects have confidence in your brand and products or services. Check out some sales related guides, sales productivity, sales analysis report, sales pipeline stages and B2B sales process.