One way to think of content marketing is equipping your prospects with the right information about your products during the right time in their buying journey. You can think of sales collateral in a parallel universe — equipping your sales team with sales content and materials they can use to enrich a prospect’s experience with your company.
But if you are not clear about the similarities and differences between the two, and how to use them, you are not alone. According to a recent survey from the Content Marketing Institute, 68% of marketing professionals agree their content teams create content for specific stages of the buyer’s journey; however, only 39% agree their sales teams use the right content at the right stages in the buyer’s journey.
To help mitigate some of this confusion, Joey and Nels explain the seven types of sales collateral you need for the industrial buying process in the latest episode of the Industrial Marketer podcast.
7 Types of Content for Your Sales Collateral Library
Hubspot defines sales collateral as content designed and developed to complement your sales process. Sales teams share sales collateral in an effort to move your prospects through the buyer’s journey and convert them into customers. But what sale collateral do you really need?
What’s needed for sales collateral is not as simple as a list. You will need a process for building a library and making it easily accessible for the sales and marketing teams. You may need different versions for digital use and print for in-person visits and trade shows. But if you can build a library of these seven types of sales collateral, you will be in a better position to succeed.
These can be sell sheets, fact sheets, or product summaries. The commonality is that they are easily shared, can be quickly consumed and are convenient “leave behinds” for any in-person visit or trade show. Don’t overlook the ability to use these digitally in nurturing emails and social media posts.
2. Presentation Decks
Decks have far more utility than you may think. Many sales people like to personalize their presentations. While it can be a little tricky to use decks outside of a presentation, decks often have a lot of good summaries and visuals.
Think about how your sales people can atomize this content into something that helps the prospect, perhaps in a nurturing email. Narrate the deck and you have an on-demand webinar-like video that can easily be distributed to prospect early in the process.
3. White papers
The in-depth nature of white papers still has high value early in a sales process, helping qualified leads learn and share more technical information with their teammates in engineering or finance. It’s a great opportunity to explain solutions and the expanded capabilities from technical innovations.
4. Case Studies
What does every qualified prospect want to know? Well, among the many things they want to know is whether or not you have solved their specific issue for someone else. How did you relieve that pain point? What were the results?
Putting together a short narrative that includes key success metrics is a great piece of collateral that also has a long shelf life and can easily be circulated (and re-circulated).
Yes, a lot of clients have NDAs, and there can be a lot of sensitivity (and paranoia) about sharing information. So there may be things you can’t do with case studies, but there are plenty of things you can if you anonymize the client.
These old standbys are still a chance to educate and impress cold and warm leads with good visuals and benefits. It’s key to include what differentiates a product, what you want them to know about it, how you can claim what you do, and, lastly, how to take action. It’s important to keep brochures updated and current to make the sales team look good instead of leaving them in the awkward position of explaining something outdated.
Be strategic about how to use this medium in the sales process. Show how a customer used your equipment for a solution to help convince engineers about the capabilities. Use a video testimonial about a product ROI to help sell the finance department. The possibilities are endless; be smart about engaging your sales team on what would help them the most.
7. Sales Scripts
Yes, this is valuable collateral. Give your sales people language to deal with objections or how to train people on best practices for selling specific products or services and what to emphasize at various stages or with certain personas.
Listen to the Podcast for More on Sales Collateral
The bottom line is that sales collateral content is critical when arming your sales team with the resources they need to build relationships, convert customers, and generate revenue.
For more insights into how industrial companies can use sales collateral to their advantage, tune into Episode 21 of the Industrial Marketer podcast.
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