If you work in Sales, you have probably wondered what makes the difference for your potential customers. What impacts them? What drives them to go from a prospect to a loyal customer? Well, when it comes to B2B businesses, content has become more essential than ever before. In fact, it can make or break a deal in the eyes of decision makers. According to 2020 Demand Gen Report, 67% of respondents state they rely even more on content than they did the year prior to research and inform purchase decisions.
Moreover, buyers expect content quality as well as an experience that follows their thought and decision process. Without rich and relevant content that completes the buyer’s journey, prospects and potential buyers will most likely be lost in the process and not make it to the final stage of purchasing your product or service.
In this context, it is extremely important to create and equip your sales team with sales collateral to guarantee they stand out from the crowd. This has several benefits : it enriches your prospect’s journey, it makes your sales team’s job easier and it grants your company credibility in your domain.
What is Sales Collateral ?
Sales collateral can be defined as content designed and developed to complete your sales process. Sales representatives share sales collateral to their prospects in order to move them further through the buyer’s journey and eventually convert them into customers.
Sales collateral is a part of Sales Enablement: it is considered content, which is one of the three pillars of this discipline. To put it simply, the main goal of Sales Enablement is to provide sales team’s with what they need to increase their efficiency and effectiveness. So, we can definitely consider Sales collateral as Sales Enablement content too.
In a nutshell, Sales Collateral is key when equipping your sales team with the material they need to attract potential buyers, build relationships, convert customers and eventually generate revenue.
Why is Sales Collateral management important
Sales collateral management enables sales representatives to quickly access the right type of content at the right time. This helps them save time when they are communicating with prospects, creating smoother and quicker communication but it goes further than that. Indeed, there are several reasons why Sales Collateral is key for B2B businesses.
1. Help salespeople
As people often say “time is money”, and nobody understands that better than your sales team. On one hand, salespeople are often handling several prospects and/or customers simultaneously, but each has to be treated differently. On the other hand, prospects do not necessarily have the time or patience to listen to long sales speeches. Sales Collateral is that stone that hits both birds: salespeople can hand over specific content that prospects can refer to when they have the time or when they decide to make the final purchase.
2. Build brand credibility
When you go to the store and buy pasta, you see that several brands are offering the same product, but you always end up buying the same brand. The same happens with your choice of other products you consume regularly. Does this sound familiar? If so, why do you do that? You go back to the same brand because you trust it and the quality of its products.
Now imagine you have your new product that is newly introduced in a market where others already offer something similar. Your product might be good, but how can you create your place among your fellow competitors? Well, sales collateral can be of great help. By using it, you allow potential customers to find out more about the assets of your products and why they should put their trust in you.
You build the credibility of your brand and your product in the eyes of your potential customers, therefore boosting conversion.
3. Give you a competitive edge
If you use Sales collateral wisely, you can stay one step ahead of the competition. To provide the right content across platforms is no piece of cake: it takes quality and smooth delivery to be impactful.
Nowadays, the internet is a part of everyone’s daily life and business is no exception. The information available on the internet about your brand and your products can (and most likely will) influence a potential customer’s decision.
Therefore, you should use your online presence to leverage your products as well as your brand. The idea is to use that platform to provide all the essential information about your product or service as well as answer your prospects/customers’ queries.
The more information you provide, the better your potential customers will understand how your product can solve their issues, trust your brand, and therefore choose you over the competition.
Beyond providing information, Sales Collateral is a great promotional tool. You can use it to promote your products or services as well as upcoming events, offers, and more. For example, if you have a release including new features you can tell everyone about it with a webinar that you can later post online. This way, you create awareness of what’s new for your current customers whilst also presenting your product to prospects.
If you produce content wisely, it impacts people who come across it and think about you later. Maybe a potential customer does not need a product like yours today, but if your content is great they will remember you the day they do need it.
Types of Sales Collateral
Sales collateral is a large concept, but as we mentioned previously it needs to be specific to be truly impactful. So before developing new sales collateral answer the following questions:
- Who are we selling our product/service to?
- What are their usual questions and when do they ask them?
- What type of content will most effectively answer these questions?
Great sales collateral is mapped to your buyer’s journey. The design can be amazing and innovative, but it will not drive conversion if it is not relevant to the stage your potential buyer or customer is in.
There are three main stages in any buyer's journey and they describe how your prospect will research your products, convert and remain a loyal customer.
1. Top of the funnel: Awareness
Did you know that 60% of people are inspired to seek out a product after reading content about it? And did you know that 47% of B2B buyers consume 3 to 5 pieces of content before engaging with a salesperson?
That is the exact reason why having solid awareness-level or top-of-funnel sales collateral is key: it has the potential to get prospects interested in you. The goal is to present your brand, your product and encourage them to want to know more.
A few examples of awareness stage sales collateral include blogs, webinars, landing pages, ebooks, and white papers.
2. Middle of the funnel: Consideration
As of today, 84% of people expect brands to produce content so it is important that when discussion with prospects starts your sales team is well equipped. During the consideration stage, potential buyers have several options so it is key to stand out. To do so, sales collateral should showcase the added value of your products or services and how they can be tailored to answer their specific pain points.
A few examples of consideration stage sales collateral include case studies, product brochures, and buyer’s guides.
3. Bottom of the funnel: Decision
In this final stage, prospects are ready to make a decision and sales collateral can be the final booster towards conversion. It should build trust, answer pointy questions and reinforce the added value of your products.
A few examples of decision stage sales collateral include product démos, competitor comparisons, and pricing guides.