How to Effectively Leverage Sales Collateral

How to Effectively Leverage Sales Collateral

Many sales organizations understand the value and importance of sales collateral. According to research in Hubspot, 67 percent of B2B companies are leaning more on content to research and inform decisions. The challenge, however, is building strong collateral and making it easy for sales reps to access the right collateral at the right time. Too often, reps are left to fend for themselves and can spend countless hours trying to create the right collateral or looking around because it’s not indexed or made readily available. With that in mind, here are a few tips for how your organization can best leverage sales collateral to get your prospects thinking of you and your team as a provider they can trust:

Types of Content

Part of the problem with collateral is how many organizations use the term interchangeably with “content.” This makes it feel generic, like filler or even lorem ipsum text, not something interesting, engaging, or even useful. Also, though collateral and content encompass many unique styles of writing, they are often dismissively lumped together in a generic bucket of text reps can dip into and dispense as needed. Again, as research in Hubspot notes, 70% of B2B companies want to see B2B vendors organize content by issue and pain point. Here, let’s look at some collateral and when it can best be implemented in the sales process:

  • Product or Service Information
    These provide a comprehensive overview of your organization and offerings. They are often printed data sheets or glossy brochures and could be professionally printed and shared with clients or interested parties. You’ll often find these at a trade show booth or as a website download.

  • Thought Leadership Content
    This is content in which you and your organization demonstrate your knowledge of industry trends and research and are often shared as a white paper, e-book, or via blog and social media. In an age where clients are doing more research and are better informed before even reaching out to a sales representative, this content provides credibility and positions reps and their organizations as thought leaders at the forefront of their industry.

  • Industry Specific Content
    This is content that resonates with potential clients, for example case studies or customer testimonials that can be used interchangeably, both on its own or as a marketing tool to pique the curiosity of website visitors. These can also be shared during the sales process, for example as an attachment to a sales proposal by the sales rep.

Creation of Content

As sales reps often best know their prospects and clients, sales and marketing must be in frequent communication to assess need and what type of collateral resonates with specific clients. Corporate branding and uniformity are important and should be left to the marketing group. However, sales managers should develop a communication channel in which sales can voice their feedback so that they know they’re being heard and taken seriously. If your organization is small, consider hiring a marketing firm rather than leaving collateral up to your sales reps. Most important is that your sales reps have a voice in the type of collateral at their disposal.

Implementation of Content

For sales collateral to be effective, it must be deployed sparingly and strategically. Too much collateral can overwhelm a prospect or client and turn them off. Building a vast array of content is great, but some of it can live on the website as free downloads, and some of it must be made easily accessible to the reps so they can share the content when it matters most. To do this, an organization should implement a cloud-based drive where each team member has access to this content library. Remember, when using collateral, you want to keep clients interested and invested in you and your organization. A big part of this is knowing when a piece of collateral will be most useful to the specific client to pique interest, formulate questions, and make them better informed to help the sales rep find the perfect solution.

Like a great novel that contains unparalleled wisdom about the human condition sitting unread on a shelf, sales collateral is only as effective as it is read and consumed by clients. Organizations that treat it as an afterthought are doing themselves, their reps, and their clients a great disservice. While it’s unlikely clients will prop up their legs and kick back with a riveting blog, reps and their organizations shouldn’t underestimate the effect of well-written, visually appealing sales collateral to engage clients and build rapport. After all, anything that aids this process should be nurtured, respected, and, most of all, effectively implemented for the benefit of all parties.