Sales collateral plays a crucial role in the marketing and sales process, serving as a valuable tool for educating and persuading potential customers.
A study shows that sales representatives need more than 17 pieces of content to facilitate the entire sales process. Each must be meaningful and perfectly timed to meet the customer in the buyer journey.
This means that sales and marketing teams must have access to resources that provide detailed information about a company’s offering and customer experience. Sales collateral can provide just that.
It supports sales conversations, providing tangible proof of claims and helping to illustrate points or explain complex ideas.
You can use it as a lead nurturing tool for potential customers not yet ready to buy, keeping the business top-of-mind and providing ongoing value.
In this way, sales collateral is not just a tool for immediate sales. It’s a strategic asset for long-term customer engagement and retention.
This article will provide you with all the fundamentals of sales collateral: What it means, its types, how to create it, and how to distribute it effectively.
What is Sales Collateral?
Sales collateral refers to a collection of marketing materials and content created by a business or sales team to support the sales process and effectively communicate the value proposition of its products or services to potential customers.
It acts as a silent salesman, working behind the scenes to reinforce your sales pitch, provide detailed information, showcase the features and benefits of offerings, and address common customer questions or objections.
This enables customers to understand how a product or service can solve their problems or meet their needs. It makes it easier to make informed purchasing decisions.
Professionally designed and well-conceived collateral demonstrates professionalism, builds credibility, and can set a business apart from its competitors.
Overall, well-crafted sales collateral is pivotal in building brand affinity, fostering customer trust, and driving revenue growth by effectively supporting the sales process.
Let’s move on to explore different types of sales collateral out there for businesses like yours. This will help you determine which would work best for your specific needs and circumstances.
Types of Sales Collateral
Now let’s delve into the various types and sales collateral examples you might encounter or utilize in your business.
Printed materials, such as brochures and product catalogs, have long been staples in this area. Nevertheless, digital assets like e-books, presentations, or videos are also powerful tools in today’s tech-savvy world.
Don’t forget about online resources, either. A well-curated blog or informative webinar can be just as effective at driving sales.
Holding something physical in your hands has a sense of permanence and authenticity that’s hard to replicate with pixels alone. Customers can appreciate the time and effort invested into creating these tangible pieces of content.
Printed materials are a traditional yet effective form of sales collateral. They provide a tangible way for potential customers to learn about a company’s products or services.
Here are some examples of printed materials used as sales collateral:
- Brochures and Pamphlets: These are compact, easy-to-read materials that provide an overview of a company’s offerings. They can include information like product descriptions, benefits, and pricing.
- Business Cards: While simple, business cards are a critical piece of sales collateral, providing potential customers with essential contact information.
- Catalogs: These comprehensive booklets showcase a company’s products or services. They often include detailed descriptions, images, and pricing information.
- Flyers: Flyers are great for promoting specific events, deals, or products. They’re typically used for local distribution or at events.
- Postcards: Similar to flyers, postcards are often used for targeted marketing campaigns. They can be mailed directly to potential customers to promote a particular offering.
- Letterheads & Envelopes: Custom letterheads and envelopes help establish professionalism and reinforce branding when sending out correspondence.
- Presentation Folders: Branded folders can hold all other sales collateral, providing a neat package for potential customers to take away from meetings or events.
- Promotional Items: Things like notebooks, notepads, calendars, and stationery with the company’s logo serve the dual purpose of being helpful to the customer and keeping the company top-of-mind.
- Sales Sheets: Sales sheets are similar to one-pagers but may contain a more detailed product comparison, pricing options, or additional technical specifications.
In today’s digital age, there’s a treasure trove of online resources and materials that can supercharge your marketing efforts. With these assets, you can provide potential customers with immersive experiences that printed materials can’t match.
Moreover, digital assets offer unparalleled convenience. They’re easily updated or modified to reflect changing market conditions or new product offerings.
Digital assets as sales collateral are essential in providing a wide range of interactive formats. Here are examples of digital assets commonly used as sales collateral:
- Digital Brochures: Digital brochures are interactive versions of traditional printed brochures that can be viewed online or downloaded as PDFs. They allow for multimedia elements like videos, hyperlinks, and animations to enhance the user experience.
- Product Videos: Videos showcasing your products or services in action can be powerful sales collateral. They provide a dynamic way to highlight features, benefits, and use cases, capturing the audience’s attention and conveying information effectively.
- E-books: E-books are comprehensive digital documents that explore a particular topic in-depth. They offer valuable insights, industry trends, and educational content that positions your business as a thought leader.
- Webinars: Webinars are live or pre-recorded online seminars that allow you to present your products or services, address customer questions, and showcase your expertise in real time.
- Case Study Videos: Video case studies are engaging testimonials that feature satisfied customers explaining how your offerings solved their specific challenges, further building trust and credibility.
- Infographics: Infographics are visually appealing and easy-to-digest graphics that present complex information, statistics, or processes clearly and concisely.
These digital assets can be easily shared via email, social media, or your website, allowing potential customers to access them at their convenience.
Remember, though, that having a wide array of digital assets isn’t enough. You must ensure they are well-crafted and strategically utilized for maximum impact.
Other Online Resources
The beauty of online resources lies in their versatility and accessibility. They allow you to reach audiences across various demographics and geographic locations at any given time.
Online resources leverage the power of internet branding to provide valuable information, interactive experiences, and engaging content.
These resources can be accessed online, shared via email, or promoted through social media.
Here are some examples:
- Landing Pages: Dedicated landing pages with compelling copy and clear calls-to-action can capture leads, promote specific offers, or drive traffic to targeted offers.
- Blog Posts: Informative and educational blog posts that address customer pain points, industry trends, or product updates can establish your brand as a trusted authority and nurture prospects. Companies that publish 16 or more blog posts monthly generate 3.5 times more leads than those that publish zero to four posts.
- Whitepapers: In-depth whitepapers that delve into industry insights, research findings, or detailed product information can be used to generate leads and showcase expertise.
- Virtual Tours or Demos: For businesses with physical locations or products, virtual tours or demos allow prospects to explore offerings from the comfort of their homes.
- Podcasts: Podcasts can serve as sales collateral, featuring industry thought leaders discussing relevant topics that showcase your company’s knowledge and expertise.
- Resource Centers: Online resource centers on your website provide a repository of valuable content, making it easy for potential customers to access relevant information.
- Interactive Content: Infographics, interactive maps, clickable timelines, online calculators, and other interactive content can engage visitors and enhance their understanding of your offerings.
Regardless of which type you choose, remember that the best sales collateral isn’t just informative—it’s persuasive too.
As we move forward, let’s delve deeper into understanding how various pieces of sales collateral play different roles in guiding buyers through their journey with your brand.
The Role of Sales Collateral in the Buyer’s Journey
It’s vital to recognize how different marketing materials can guide potential customers at every stage of their purchasing journey.
Sales collateral serves as a roadmap, guiding prospects from awareness to consideration and eventually toward making a purchase decision.
Sales collateral plays a crucial role in each stage of the buyer’s journey. This journey typically includes the awareness, consideration, decision, and advocacy stages.
In the awareness stage, sales collateral plays a critical role in capturing the attention of potential customers and laying the groundwork for future engagement.
According to a study by Demand Gen Report, 47% of buyers viewed three to five pieces of content before engaging with a sales representative.
Therefore, providing informative and engaging content at this stage is essential for building brand awareness and establishing your company as an industry thought leader.
Sales collateral such as blog posts, social media content, and educational videos can help introduce your brand and provide valuable information that helps potential customers understand their challenges and consider possible solutions.
In the consideration stage, prospective customers actively research to find the best solutions to their pressing issues. This stage is often characterized by comparing brands, products, or services.
During this phase, the goal of your sales collateral is to underscore the advantages and unique selling points of your offerings over competitors.
More in-depth content like webinars, case studies, and whitepapers becomes incredibly valuable at this stage.
For instance, whitepapers that offer comprehensive insights or showcase a unique approach to solving industry-specific problems can help position your brand as the best choice.
71% of B2B buyers review whitepapers when making purchasing decisions, underscoring their influence during the consideration stage.
Case studies and customer testimonials also play a significant role, providing social proof and demonstrating your products or services real-world application and effectiveness.
Furthermore, product demonstrations, either in-person, through video, or interactive digital formats, can help prospects visualize precisely how your solution works and fits into their workflow.
Hence, in the consideration stage, the key is to provide compelling, fact-based, and solution-oriented content that helps prospects perceive your brand as the optimal solution to their needs.
In the decision stage, prospective customers have a shortlist of potential solutions, and your sales collateral’s role is to nudge them toward choosing your offering. Providing compelling reasons to make your product or service stand out is crucial.
Datasheets, pricing guides, and detailed product specifications can be of tremendous value during this phase, as they provide customers with the nitty-gritty details they need to finalize their decision.
Demandbase says 84% of B2B buyers indicate that a vendor’s content significantly impacted their buying decision.
Moreover, free trials or consultations can offer potential customers first-hand experience using your product or service, helping them visualize its effectiveness and ease of use.
For software companies, for example, customers spend their total B2B buying journey significantly in a digital environment, much of it conducting online research and trials.
Customer reviews and testimonials also play an integral role in the decision stage. As found by Spiegel Research Center, displaying reviews can increase conversion rates by 270%. Positive experiences of past or existing clients provide prospects with social proof, further building trust in your brand.
In the decision stage, your sales collateral should provide tangible proof of efficacy and cement your place as the optimal choice for your potential customers.
In the advocacy stage, the role of your sales collateral shifts from selling to nurturing relationships, encouraging brand loyalty, and transforming customers into advocates for your brand.
It’s important to remember that advocacy doesn’t happen automatically after purchase. It requires ongoing engagement and communication.
Sales collateral such as newsletters, user guides, and post-purchase follow-up emails can be vital.
Regular communication through newsletters can keep your brand in mind, while user guides ensure customers can fully utilize your product or service, enhancing customer satisfaction.
According to a marketing study by Texas Tech University, 83% of customers are willing to refer after a positive experience, yet only 29% actually do.
This discrepancy punctuates the importance of using sales collateral to encourage customers to share their positive experiences with others actively.
Therefore, creating and communicating a referral program via your sales collateral can effectively stimulate advocacy.
Customers referred by a friend are four times more likely to purchase, and their lifetime value (LTV) is 16% higher than non-referred customers.
Hence, turning your customers into brand advocates can effectively drive conversions and boost your bottom line.
In each stage, the goal of sales collateral is to provide the right information at the right time, guiding prospects towards a purchase and ensuring customers remain satisfied and engaged with your brand.
Now let’s delve into how you can craft compelling sales collateral that resonates with your target audience throughout their purchasing journey.
How to Create Sales Collateral?
The finely-tuned choreography of your customer’s journey through the sales funnel involves many moving parts—content being one of the most influential.
Crafting compelling sales collateral is not merely about producing content but curating a persuasive dialogue that connects with your audience at every stage of their buying journey.
So, what are the best practices for creating effective sales collateral?
Align With Your Brand
Ensure your sales collateral perfectly aligns with your brand’s identity to create a coherent and compelling message for potential customers. This means that the visuals, tone, language, and overall design should be consistent with your company’s values.
Your logo, color scheme, and typography are just the tip of the iceberg. The content you provide—its voice, its perspective—should also echo your brand’s values.
By doing this, you’re reinforcing recognition and trust in your business.
Consistency in branding goes beyond mere aesthetics. It extends to the messages that you convey about who you are as a company.
That’s why ensuring that every piece of sales collateral—from brochures to presentations—is an authentic representation of your brand’s image is crucial.
When everything aligns seamlessly with who you are and what you stand for, clients will find it easier to understand what they can expect from working with you.
Keep It Focused
Streamlining your message to stay on point can make a difference in effectively communicating with potential clients. Avoid overwhelming your prospects with too much information.
Your sales collateral should be focused and direct, honing in on your product or service’s main benefits. Simplify complex ideas and present information in digestible, easy-to-understand sections.
Before creating your sales collateral, identify the key messages you want to convey. These should align with your value proposition and highlight your product or service’s unique benefits.
Images, infographics, and diagrams can be more effective than words when explaining complex ideas. But use them sparingly and make sure they enhance understanding, not distract from it.
This approach will ensure that you’re providing value while also driving engagement and conversions. Now, once you have this laser-focused content ready, consider how it could be delivered in various formats for maximum reach and impact.
Create Different Formats
Creating sales collateral in different formats is crucial for a few key reasons:
- Catering to Different Learning Styles: Different people process information in different ways. Some may prefer textual content, while others may find visual or auditory content more engaging. By providing sales collateral in various formats, you can cater to different learning styles and ensure your message resonates with a broader audience.
- Platform Suitability: Different platforms lend themselves better to certain types of content. For example, visual content like infographics and videos might perform better on social media, while long-form content like whitepapers and case studies might be more suitable for email marketing or your website.
- Increased Engagement: Mixing up your content formats can help to keep your audience engaged. If they repeatedly see the same type of content, they might lose interest. But by keeping things fresh in varied formats, you can keep their attention and make them more likely to engage with your content.
- Improving Accessibility: Offering your content in various formats also improves accessibility. For instance, providing a transcript for a podcast or video makes that content accessible to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
- Reusability and Repurposing: Creating content in various formats allows you to repurpose it for different marketing campaigns, channels, and platforms. For instance, a blog post can be transformed into a video script, an infographic, or social media posts, extending the lifespan and utility of your content.
- Cross-Channel Marketing: Different formats enable seamless integration with various marketing channels, from social media and email campaigns to in-person sales presentations. Consistent messaging across these channels reinforces your brand and marketing strategy.
Invest in Design
Investing in design means allocating resources, both financial and creative. This move ensures that the visual presentation and aesthetics are of high quality and aligned with your brand identity.
A polished, professional design isn’t just a cherry on top. It’s integral to creating engaging and effective marketing materials. It significantly impacts how your audience perceives your brand and the message you’re trying to convey.
When you invest in design, you’re essentially investing in the perception of your brand.
Furthermore, good design amplifies the effectiveness of your message.
It structures information in a way that’s easy to digest. It also guides the viewer’s attention to key points, and evokes emotional responses that can influence decision-making.
In other words, it doesn’t just change how your marketing materials look – it changes how they are perceived and understood.
Remember that every element in your collateral—from color schemes to typography—plays a role in communicating with your customers.
The quality of the design will speak volumes about the quality of what you’re offering. That, before a word is even read.
Hyper-personalization leverages artificial intelligence and real-time data to deliver more relevant content, product, and service information to each user.
An Accenture study revealed that 91% of consumers are likelier to shop with brands that recognize, remember, and provide relevant offers and recommendations.
Here are some insider tips to help you achieve effective hyper-personalization:
- Gather Detailed Customer Data: To personalize content effectively, you need comprehensive customer data. Collect information about your prospects’ preferences, behaviors, purchase history, and interactions with your brand. Use data from various sources, including website analytics, CRM systems, email marketing platforms, and social media insights.
- Leverage Behavioral and Intent Data: Track and analyze prospect behavior on your website, such as pages visited, time spent, and content downloaded. This data reveals their interests and intent, enabling you to deliver highly relevant content based on their actions.
- Segment Your Audience: Divide your audience into smaller segments based on demographics, interests, pain points, buying behavior, and other relevant criteria. Each segment should receive ABM content that addresses their unique needs and preferences.
- Use Personalized Imagery and Visuals: Incorporate personalized images or visual elements into your sales collateral. This could include adding the prospect’s name or company logo on the cover page of a proposal or using images that reflect their industry or location.
- Craft Personalized Messaging: Tailor the language and tone of your content to match the prospect’s preferences. Speak directly to their pain points and aspirations. Make them feel the content was designed just for them.
- Implement AI-Powered Personalization: Artificial intelligence and machine learning can analyze vast data to deliver hyper-personalized content recommendations. Consider using AI-powered tools to optimize content suggestions for each prospect.
By implementing these steps, you can deliver highly relevant and engaging sales collateral that speaks directly to the needs and interests of individual prospects.
Make It Easily Accessible
It’s crucial to ensure that your marketing materials are readily available and easy to navigate for potential clients who express interest in your offerings. In today’s digital age, prospective customers expect instant access to information.
If they can’t quickly find what they’re looking for, there’s a good chance they’ll move on to one of your competitors.
Utilize online tools and platforms to efficiently store and organize all your sales collateral. Brochures, case studies, product datasheets, etc., are just a click away when needed.
Remember, accessibility goes hand-in-hand with convenience. Don’t expect prospects to jump through hoops or fill out lengthy forms before getting their hands on your content. Make the process as smooth as possible.
Distributing Sales Collateral Effectively
Now that you’ve created your sales collateral, it’s time to ensure it gets into the right hands.
You must equip your team with all necessary materials, leverage technology for efficient distribution, and utilize multiple channels for maximum reach.
Equipping Your Sales Team
Arming your sales team with the right collateral can significantly boost their productivity and improve closing rates.
By providing them with a broad range of marketing materials, they’ll have the tools to communicate your product’s benefits effectively.
Training is key. Every team member must understand how to use these resources appropriately and in what context.
Well-equipped sales teams know when and where to use each piece of collateral for maximum impact. This knowledge allows them to adapt their strategy according to the prospect’s needs.
As we move into a digital era, leveraging technology becomes essential to efficiently personalizing and distributing sales collateral. Our next section will explore how technology is integral in enhancing and streamlining these processes.
Leveraging Technology for Distribution
You can leverage technology in numerous ways:
- Content Management Systems (CMS): A CMS allows you to store, manage, and distribute your sales collateral from one central place. It ensures that everyone on your team has access to the latest versions of all documents.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems: CRM systems like Salesforce or HubSpot can send personalized emails with relevant sales collateral attached based on the customer’s stage in the sales funnel.
- Marketing Automation Tools: These tools can automate sending out sales collateral at the right time. For example, you could set up an automation in Mailchimp or Marketo to send a case study to a lead after they’ve had a demo of your product.
- Social Media Platforms: Sharing your sales collateral on social media platforms can help increase its reach. You can use social media management tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule posts ahead of time.
- Cloud Storage Services: Services like Google Drive or Dropbox can be used to share sales collateral with your team or clients. They allow for easy access and collaboration.
- Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR): These emerging technologies can create interactive sales collateral, such as virtual product demos or brochures.
It’s all about automating repetitive tasks so you can focus on what truly matters. Advanced analytics provided by these platforms give you unprecedented insights into how well your content is being received.
This vital feedback allows you to continually tweak your sales collateral to be more effective.
Having said that, it’s worth noting that while technology offers a robust solution for distributing your sales collateral, it shouldn’t be the only channel through which you connect with prospects.
Utilizing Multiple Channels
Diversifying your approach allows you to reach a wider audience and cater to their various preferences. This will increase your chances of making a sale.
Not everyone consumes information in the same way. Some prefer digital content they can access from their phones or laptops. Others, on the other hand are more traditional and value physical materials like brochures and catalogs.
By leveraging different platforms, you ensure that your sales collateral gets into the hands of as many prospects as possible.
Here are simple ways to utilize multiple channels effectively:
- Digital Platforms: Consider using email marketing or social media to share digital versions of your sales collateral.
- Direct Mail: Although it may seem old-fashioned, direct mail is still effective, especially for targeting local businesses.
- In-Person Events: Tradeshows, networking events or conferences are great places to hand out printed copies of your brochures or catalogs.
- Sales Meetings: Always carry some pieces of informative and persuasive sales collateral during face-to-face client meetings.
Each channel has its strengths, so mix and match according to what suits your business best. The important thing is not putting all your eggs in one basket but diversifying your distribution strategy for maximum impact.
So, you’ve got the rundown on sales collateral. It’s not just about slick brochures or fancy presentations; it’s an integral part of your sales strategy. Remember, its job is to push potential customers through their buying journey and into a sale. Now it’s time for action. Start creating compelling, valuable content that resonates with your audience. Distribute it effectively, and watch how it boosts your sales game.
Here are other frequently asked questions about sales collateral that we have not discussed above. These will help you further your research.
Sales enablement collateral refers to a set of materials and resources created to support the sales team throughout the entire sales process. It includes sales playbooks, battle cards, quizzes, how-to guides, call scripts, training & demo videos, FAQs, buyer persona documents, and more.
Typically, the marketing department creates sales collateral in collaboration with the sales team. They ensure the collateral aligns with the needs of prospects and customers.
Marketing collateral encompasses a broader range of materials created by the marketing team to raise brand awareness, educate prospects about products or services, and generate leads. It includes materials like brochures, infographics, social media content, and website content. Sales collateral is specifically designed to support the sales team during the later stages of the sales process. It includes materials like product datasheets, case studies, sales presentations, and pricing sheets. The focus is on providing detailed information to help close deals and address specific customer needs.
Sales collateral can be organized by buyer personas, the stage in the customer journey, or which department uses the content. A separate categorization system can also be created for the sales team based on their workflows.