Content and marketing collateral are the official certificates of authenticity that your sales teams must have to lend credibility to the products and services they pitch. You’ve seen those certificates, right?
They come with plaques and memorabilia items, to assure customers that they haven’t purchased a knockoff. For sports fans out there, think of a certificate as proof that you have an authentic Michael Jordan Fleer rookie card and not some reprint worth $1.50 that you can find at a flea market stand.
Your content needs to validate that your products and services represent irreplaceable value to your customers—the type of value that makes them stand up, take notice, and get excited about the possibility of doing business with your company.
Informative and relevant sales and marketing pieces will go a long way in convincing prospects and potential customers that your sales teams:
Not only understand products at a high level, but also their customers’ specific industry challenges
Is aware of the most effective strategies and practices to deliver not only world-class tools, but also tools that are innovative and long-lasting
Can be trusted as a thought leader and adviser, capable of providing guidance for any situation
So we’ve established how important content is in the sales process. Now it’s time to figure out which pieces of content are the most coveted by your sales organization, and exactly how they can leverage these materials to their advantage.
Here are five pieces of content (aside from POs, of course) that will keep your sales teams in the driver’s seat before any engagement:
1) Case Studies
Proven references and success stories that showcase the work you’ve done in the marketplace are like old reliable for your sales teams. Additionally, they are often the most sought-after pieces of collateral by prospects wanting to see real-life examples of your organizational value. Case studies present a great forum to display your sales prowess: Your organization was chosen as a service provider over other contenders. It also highlights your problem-solving and solution-building skills.
Why Your Sales Teams Will Love Case Studies
As examples of your work, case studies are often most effective in digital formats (PDFs) and can be quickly distributed by your sales teams in the early nurturing stage in the buyer’s journey. Prospects like proof that what they're signing up to buy is actually going to work.
So why not convince them with a real life story of actual results? Effective case studies can help sway prospects even further to buy, so they're a strong weapon in any salesperson's arsenal.
2) Battle Cards
Battle Cards have emerged as handy, internal guides to educate sales personnel on the best approaches to sell their products and services. These pieces are more tactical in nature, as they include FAQs, objection handling suggestions, and other customer engagement scenarios.
Why Your Sales Teams Will Love Battle Cards
Battle Cards are meant to be one-page sheets that can be printed out and laminated. They can also be printed out to be pocket-sized. As portable print-outs, these pieces are easy for sales members to access even when they are on the road and traveling.
Comprehensive and thorough, Battle Cards are loved by salespeople because they offer a detailed overview of the product or service being sold. What's not to love about a piece of content that can offer you all the details you need to know on what you're selling?
3) Cheat Sheets
There are strong similarities between Battle Cards and Cheat Sheets. The biggest difference though, is that a Battle Card is more overarching in nature. Cheat Sheets, on the other hand are meant to be more specific. A good example would be a guide that presents the top 10 reasons your product is better than what the competition offers.
Why Your Sales Teams Will Love Cheat Sheets
Since Cheat Sheets are stripped down versions of more comprehensive content, they aim to aid salespeople when they need a quick reference. Key talking points and high level positioning statements are always important in the sales process, so these pieces of content are invaluable (and loved) by salespeople.
4) ROI/TCO Calculator
ROI/TCO calculators are great tools to show how effective your products and services are from a cost versus return standpoint. An ROI or TCO calculator can run comparisons and project numbers based on existing customer data that is available.
Why Your Sales Teams Will Love ROI/TCO Calculators
Most ROI/TCO calculators can be built and hosted online. These reports are typically used to show the value of services and can also be important for maintaining ongoing business and customer retention.
Effective salespeople know how to convey and explain the value of what they're selling. Sometimes, words and marketing-speak won't cut it and metrics are the best way to show value. A calculator shows carefully predicted results. So, who's sold on this idea?
5) Competitor Comparisons
What are the key differences between your product and what the other guys offer? Your sales teams are bound to get that question in all of their customer engagements. Competitor comparisons are a great way to address that question by letting different numbers speak for themselves, whether your prime value-add is for cost, efficiency, or all of the above.
Why Your Sales Teams Will Love Competitor Comparisons
These pieces can come in a variety of formats, including PowerPoints and print-outs. This should be well-organized, bulleted content that is easy to scan to quickly ascertain the main talking points. Salespeople love this type of content because it provides talking points against top competitors. They're always on the go, positioning against the competition, so a comparison chart gives them a quick reference guide for key facts.
The Bottom Line
When developing your content, you need a sound strategy that aligns with your organizational marketing and sales goals. TSL Marketing can help you seize new opportunities through your marketing content. In our upcoming webinar, SMART Marketing: Convert More Leads to Customers, we will share agency secrets for leveraging content to turn prospects into customers.
A final takeaway: Sales also needs content that actually hits home with the customers they are targeting. On the marketing side, you can come up with the most stunning collateral, but if the message isn’t right or it isn’t strategically aligned to sales goals, the pieces become eye candy without substance.
Before embarking on your content creation efforts, link up with your sales teams, pick their brains, and get their feedback on the work that is being produced before it is delivered. Ultimately, if your sales teams love the content that is being produced, their prospects will fall in love with the content as well.
Originally published Jul 18, 2014 2:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017