Have you ever experienced the pain of losing a deal halfway? Have you ever seen the client go at the very bottom of the sales funnel? If you’re a sales rep, you most probably have.
So much time and effort wasted!
There are many reasons clients can change their minds, and the deal drops off. But today, we’ll delve deeper into how deals can fail due to the seller’s fault and how this can be avoided with the help of well-prepared sales collateral.
What is sales collateral?
Salespeople need to be equipped with a robust toolkit to build meaningful relationships with their customers and successfully close deals. They need the correct information at the right stage to convince the buyer that the product or service they’re selling is worth their money.
Sales collateral is precisely that kind of information! It can be any material (text, visual, or video) that helps sellers propel prospects through the sales funnel and helps clients in their move toward a buying decision.
Where to start?
The first step to creating excellent sales collateral materials is identifying whom you’re selling to and how your sales content can help educate sales reps on your offering.
It’s common knowledge that different people may find different value in the same product. Seen in this light, you should work out buyer persona and ideal customer profile documents to cover all customer categories.
This is your starting point, and then you can work on creating top-notch branded content using all or some of the ideas that we’ve collected for you below.
Modern sales collateral examples that convert
1. Customer fact sheets
Customer fact sheets are a must-have sales collateral for every salesperson, especially in B2B sales.
In addition to basic information about the prospective company, its field of activities, billing and shipping addresses etc., a good customer fact sheet should contain essential information about its contact person. This may include the position in the company, their level of access to budgets, and their decision-making.
If the prospect is active on LinkedIn or Quora, that might give you an insight into their interests and individual pain points. Try to analyze them and include them in your customer fact sheet. This data can be helpful during the consideration stage for salespeople to study the company profile and craft their sales pitch.
2. Sales pitch deck
A sales deck is usually a colorful presentation in a slide format. A salesperson should have it with them any time, day and night, to be able to show their prospects at a party after a business forum, in a taxi, or even in an elevator!
More often than not, such a presentation becomes an invaluable asset at the deal stage when a profile company employee is already familiar with your product and shows interest in it. However, due to their position, this employee doesn’t have direct access to the company budget.
Target: to convince a decision-maker
Here’s a real-life example.
An IT-company sales rep presented their product — email automation tool — to a PR manager of a large company. At the meeting, the PR manager was amazed at the power of this tool to simplify the search and interaction with influencers. The solution would significantly reduce the PR person’s time and effort, and therefore, he’s shown interest in purchasing this advanced IT product.
But to acquire it, he needs to present it to the entire marketing team and obtain the CMO’s consent. The sales deck is perfect for such a presentation! And if it’s prepared properly, consider the deal is yours.
Good/bad sales deck
A good sales deck should give your prospects a big picture of your product or service but in a concise manner. Potential customers don’t care about your product – this is the rule every salesperson should keep in mind. What they do care about is their problem which your product or service will solve.
This type of sales collateral aims to demonstrate how it is when the prospect has a problem and the state when that pain point has been removed.
Try not to make the following mistakes to avoid spoiling the whole impression of the product, no matter how wonderful it is:
❌ A bad sales deck is too much about you, not the customers and their needs.
❌ It’s product-driven, not story-driven.
❌ It’s delivered in a confusing and awkward manner.
❌ It has too much text and information overload.
Speaking of a sales deck length…
The shorter, the better
A sales deck should by no means be a long read, i.e., 20 slides max. of a well-structured and well-illustrated text.
Usually, a prospect spends 10 minutes looking through your 20-page deck. That’s only 30 seconds a slide! So, try to limit your sales deck text to 30 words per slide.
Just look at the Snapchat sales deck below, they did a really good job with it:
3. Product sell sheets
Prospects are often not willing to spend much time studying a large presentation about your offering. In this case, a more convenient sales enablement collateral has always been a one-page product data sheet used by salespeople for decades.
Briefly, it lists all the facts regarding your product or service to answer the prospect’s questions promptly. It can also include technical details, data protection policies, or technical comparisons with competitors, etc., as nobody is safe from hyper-technical queries.
Modern version of product data sheets
In our time, product data sheets are losing their efficiency because they’re, well, boring. Who wants to read black-and-white tables, charts, and impersonal specifications?
It would be best to have more magnetic sales collateral material to maximize sales and boost your bottom line. The compelling alternative to the outdated product data sheets is visually stunning, persuasive product sell sheets that can take your product sales to the next level.
Unlike dry and data-driven product data sheets, product sell sheets are eye-catching, telling customers in simple words how they’ll benefit from buying your product. And although they contain all the same technical information about the product, it’s presented in a modern, easy-to-read way.
You can then tailor your sell sheets to different buying personas and send the relevant ones to a potential customer via email just moments after they inquire.
4. Product demo videos
One of the biggest challenges of selling a product, especially a high-tech one, online is making sure prospects understand precisely what it is. Another issue is that your audience can’t touch, feel or hold the product, which is frustrating for many.
Taking your audience through a demo with the help of an expert or an animation can give your prospects an idea of how your product or service works and how it can solve their problems.
Demos help win a sale
Fact: By 2023, the number of videos crossing the internet per second will approach 1 million, translating into 82% of all online traffic.
It would be a big mistake not to capitalize on this trend as about 75% of customers are more likely to purchase a product or service if they can watch a video explaining its use beforehand. Demo videos are valuable sales collateral pieces to have in your sales toolbox as prospects want to see the offering in action before making a final decision.
Recorded and live demos
Recorded demos are video demonstrations that potential customers can access at any time. They can give you valuable leads from registration on your website.
Live demos are now gaining momentum. These are live-streamed and hosted at a particular link that users can access after registering. It takes quite a lot of effort to organize live streaming for the first time, but it’s worth it.
The first step is to find the right video engagement platform that’ll allow you to host live demos and engage with your audience to qualify leads throughout the demo.
This type of sales collateral also gives your prospects a chance to ask yet unanswered sales questions in real-time and fill the gaps in their understanding of your product.
5. Email templates
Email is one of the most effective ways to connect with potential customers during the prospecting sales stage. But once you’ve established that connection, the deal results are still vague and uncertain.
In the high-pressure environment, a refusal or lack of response from a prospect is perceived by many salespeople as a signal to stop further action.
Fact: 44% of sales reps quit after the first follow-up, the next 22% stop trying after the second follow-up. After the fourth, only 8% remain.
Follow-up is the key
Successful sales reps are those 8% who keep trying to break the wall with repeated follow-up emails. To structure the process, they first identify common email types and then create email templates (which are considered one of the most valuable sales collateral pieces to save salespeople’s time and energy).
Automate or die
Leading marketing automation platforms like Snov.io help simplify the email sending process.
They provide advanced yet easy-to-use tools for effective personalized mailing campaigns, including a library of creative and appealing email templates for each stage of interaction with the prospect. You choose the text, the number of emails, intervals between them, and variables. And if you build your email chain wisely, you can achieve exciting results.
Know the email owner
Meanwhile, it’s crucial to know who the email address owner is to personalize emails as much as possible. You can search for addresses using Snov.io Email Finder or use Email Verifier to check your email database in minutes. No more abandoned and irrelevant emails!
6. Case studies
The case studies principle is simple and tested in sales for centuries. If the customer sees you’ve successfully solved someone else’s similar problem, there will be much less reason to doubt the choice.
The power of social proof makes this kind of sales collateral fantastically useful — 66% of B2B marketers say case studies are ‘very effective,’ while 32% think they are ‘quite effective.’
Not for all businesses
However, it’s worth noting that case studies aren’t suitable for every business. This type of sales collateral will work best and pay back the effort if you create an exciting story reflected in it. But if you sell a typical product or service, and there’s nothing much exciting to show, you’d better choose some other type of sales enablement collateral.
Case study step-by-step
Essentially, a case study is a story of how a client hit their target by using your solution. It helps prospective customers whom you show the case to visualize themselves in the same situation. It would be great if you build it according to all the canons of drama: with a problem, difficulties, obstacles in its realization and, as a result, a happy ending.
For example, describe how your IT solution has been implemented in one of your client’s companies.
It’s vital to show that not everything was smooth at once in that process, but the client successfully managed it with the help of your dedicated technical support. This way, you’ll show how much your solution helped your client’s business, preferably backing it up with specific data (reduced operation time, increased revenue, etc.).
You can also collect testimonials of your grateful clients and include them in the case study in the form of a quote to build even more trust.
7. Reviews and testimonials
Fact: 87% of customers read online reviews for local businesses before interacting.
Not surprisingly, people trust unbiased opinions much more than the information displayed on the “About Us” section of your website.
That’s why building a process that would encourage customers to write reviews and testimonials about your product or service is crucial.
Online reviews are great but not enough. To convert them into sales collateral, organize follow-up surveys to know the opinions of the customers who have already bought from you. To do this, first create a testimonial form, which is easy to fill out and doesn’t take much of the client’s time, and send it by email with the subject line “We value your opinion.”
Create a database and select the best and most appealing testimonials that you find worth showing your prospects. But be sure to ask permission to use them on your website or in any other promotional material! It’s not a matter of politeness; it’s a matter of your company’s reputation.
8. Sales battle cards
Who will argue that sales are a constant battlefield where brands compete for customer attention? No one. Not surprisingly, one of the popular sales enablement tools is sales battle cards, designed to help salespeople outsmart their competition.
Crucially, sales reps need to acknowledge that competition exists and competitors can be tough. You need to know how strong/weak your business is in comparison.
Sales battle cards include this information, helping salespeople understand their position in the market, strengths, weaknesses, and unique selling points to answer possible counter questions from clients.
When preparing content for this type of sales collateral, you should bear in mind the 5 questions that need comprehensive answers:
- Who are my competitors, and how do I spot them?
- In what ways do my competitors approach the market?
- In what ways do we differentiate from this competitor?
- What are the best ways to attack?
- What is my defense strategy?
The answers to the above questions will help you plant the seed that you are the better option when it comes to solving particular pain points.
The market situation is constantly changing. That’s why don’t forget to update your battle cards accordingly to deliver accurate information to your clients.
To sum it up
Sales collateral are living documents, and their forms and shapes are constantly evolving, as well as marketing tools, ways to do business, and the world on the whole. If your sales team hasn’t used some of the above sales enablement collateral, isn’t it high time to try? It may happen that using these modern marketing tools to supplement or replace the ones you already have will help close a lot more deals in the coming year and skyrocket your company revenue.