As a sales leader, you've probably wondered what impacts your prospects and potential customers. Well, content has become more important than ever for B2B buyers and decision-makers.
According to Demand Gen’s 2020 Content Preferences Study, 67% of B2B companies said they’re leaning more on content to research and inform decisions.
But that’s not all. Buyer expectations have also risen for content quality and experience. Without rich content to complement their buyer’s journey, prospects and leads most likely won’t stick around to make a purchase.
How can your business respond?
By creating and equipping your sales team with sales collateral content and materials. Not only does this enrich your prospect’s experience with your company, but it makes your sales reps’ jobs easier. It’s a win-win. Let’s dive in.
Sales collateral is 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 to customers.
Sales collateral is part of sales enablement, which is the process of providing your sales team the resources they need to close deals. So, you could say that sales collateral is also sales enablement content.
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.
Types of Sales Collateral
The specific sales collateral you develop for your sales team depends on a few key questions. Answer these before developing new sales collateral:
- Who are we selling to? (Reference your buyer personas.)
- What questions do they have, and when do they typically ask them?
- What types of content will effectively answer these questions?
The best sales collateral works in tandem with your buyer’s journey. Even the best-designed collateral won’t convert if it’s not relevant to and helpful for whatever stage your prospects or customer are in.
In fact, almost 70% of B2B companies reported they want to see B2B vendors organize content by issue and pain point.
Let’s unpack the different types of sales collateral. Notice this list is organized by the stages of the buyer’s journey: how your prospects research your business, buy your products, and become and remain customers.
Did you know that 40% of B2B companies consume three to five pieces of content before ever engaging with a sales rep? This is why awareness-level sales collateral is so important: it has the potential to get prospects started on the buyer’s journey — or send them away. Sales collateral for the Awareness Stage is all about introducing your brand and attracting customers.
Sales collateral for the Awareness Stage includes:
The Consideration Stage is when your sales team is starting conversations, building rapport, and learning more about your prospects’ needs. Prospects are examining multiple options, so it’s important for your sales collateral to explain the value of your products or services and how they can be tailored to provide real solutions.
Sales collateral for the Consideration Stage includes:
- Case studies
- Buyer’s guide
- Product brochure
At this stage, your sales collateral should facilitate conversations, build trust, and reinforce the value of your products. Prospects are ready to make a decision, and your sales collateral can serve as the final nudge towards purchase.
Sales collateral for the Decision Stage includes:
- Pricing guides
- Sales call scripts and email templates
- Product presentations and demos
- Competitor comparisons (like this one for HubSpot vs. Wordpress)
Retention and Advocacy Stage
The Retention and Advocacy Stage isn’t part of the traditional buyer’s journey (in fact, I just named it myself), but it’s important nonetheless. Satisfied customers not only stay customers (which improves customer retention rates) but they can also become some of your best advocates, and bring new customers to your doorstep.
Sales collateral content that keeps your customers happy and engaged is just as important as the content that attracts new customers. (Note that some of this content would be managed by your customer success and support teams instead of your sales team.)
Sales collateral for the Retention and Advocacy Stage includes:
- FAQ and knowledge base
- Customer newsletters
- Customer loyalty programs
- Customer surveys and feedback opportunities
- Customer events
Sales Collateral Best Practices
Now that you know what sales collateral to create for your team, let’s talk about how to use it. Implement these few best practices to leverage your sales collateral and equip your sales team.
1. Recycle your sales collateral.
Much of your sales collateral probably contains the same content: brand, product, and pricing information. To save your team(s) time and money, recycle and repurpose your sales collateral. This effort will also ensure you have content available in multiple formats — you never know how your prospects will prefer to learn about your company.
For example, if you have case studies featuring a few key customers, recycle the customer quotes and feature them in e-books, product brochures, and webinars.
2. Keep all of your sales collateral on-brand.
Sales collateral should be an experience with your brand, not simply a lesson about your products or prices. As you develop and recycle this content, confirm your sales collateral design is consistent with the rest of your brand materials — from its font and color scheme to its messaging and brand voice. Consider looping in your design team to help ensure consistency here.
3. Create your sales collateral with your buyer in mind.
Your sales collateral — like most other things you share and sell — serves the end-user and should be created for them. If your sales collateral isn’t relevant, interesting, or accessible by your prospects and potential customers, it’s useless. While your sales and marketing teams have remarkable knowledge about your company, products, and customers, they shouldn’t be the only ones dictating what goes into your sales collateral.
I recommend creating your sales collateral with the end-user, too. Involve your current customers in the process. Hold a focus group or run a survey asking for candid feedback on the impact and effectiveness of your sales enablement content. You’ll never know what your customers want to see until you ask them.
4. Use amazing sales enablement tools in combination with your sales collateral.
Sales collateral is merely half of the sales enablement battle. The other half consists of the tools and resources provided to your sales team. For example, let’s say your team has developed a highly effective email sequence that shares case studies, sales guides, and product demos. If your sales team doesn’t have an email tool with intuitive sending and tracking features, how can it begin to share this sales collateral with prospects?
Even your strongest piece of sales collateral can be limited by the tools your team is equipped with. Complement your sales collateral with amazing sales enablement tools like HubSpot Sales Hub to ensure your team has everything they need to close deals and generate revenue.
Sales Collateral Helps You Grow Better
The very best sales collateral helps move prospects towards a purchase, and it can only do this if it’s created in alignment with your buyer’s journey, and your buyer’s in mind.
Examine your sales team’s current resources and tools and consider adding some new sales collateral — it may be exactly what you need to attract new customers and boost your sales.