I know this headline sounds counter-intuitive – after all, with the breath of things like sales training apps, sales coaching, etc. it's odd to suppose that your sales team isn't at fault for lost sales. But let's take a few steps back.
When you sell to a business, you aren't talking to the entire business on the phone. You are talking to the person who was tasked with reviewing, and ideally is the most excited about, the prospect of buying your product or service. But most sales calls end with a phrase that we all fear: "Can you send me some materials that I can circle internally?"
Why does this question invoke a negative feeling inside you? It's simple - you lose most of your sales not because of yourself, but because your champion fails to get buy-in from other people in that organization. It's that simple - and since your champion isn't on your company's payroll, that's a tough nut to crack.
The headline of this article is a bit of an exaggeration, however, since there is a way for our revenue team to help the champion, and by-tangent, help the sale: Sales Collateral.
The New Era of Selling
The days of smoke filled bar rooms where a few old men got together to make decisions based on old friendships are over. Now, more than ever, business leaders need to rely on data to make decisions and back them up to their employees, board members, and shareholders. The best way for business to business companies to supply decision makers with this data is by providing sales collateral. Sales collateral is a broad term that encompasses different content types that help close sales by providing prospects with the most important and relevant information about your company. Some examples of sales collateral are decks, one-pagers, case studies, and product videos.
We have compiled a list of just a few of the reasons why sales collateral is so important, and have gathered some strategies to help companies learn the best practices and make their own.
1. The person you pitch to probably isn’t the decision maker
While companies vary in size, what is true among most companies is that one person is not the unilateral decision maker. Often, the representative you meet with will have to report back to other members of their company before they can agree to a sale. In fact, sales enablement firm, Brevet, reported that in a firm with 100-500 employees, “an average of 7 people are involved in most buying decisions.” Sales collateral is the only way for you to ensure that your main message captures the attention of those with the power to approve a sale. Don’t allow your livelihood to be beholden to a game of telephone.
One of the most frustrating parts of sales is not knowing whether you have reached the primary decision maker. With Quickcard’s data tracking, you can take the guesswork out of reaching the upper level management. Real time analytics tell you exactly who has viewed your documents, who they sent them to, and how long they viewed your material. For B2B companies, understanding who is making decisions is crucial. You can also quickly find out whether team members have viewed explainer videos, FAQ sheets, research reports, or other types of sales collateral which will help you understand what you may need to cover again. With this information, you will be much better equipped to continue working with your potential clients, and to craft a strategy to close a deal and move prospects through the sales process and the buyer's journey.
2. People forget stats, but need them to support decisions
An important lesson that salesmen are told is that stories sell. Empirical evidence supports the notion that connecting on an emotional level is even more important than raw facts. In fact, Brevet also found that after a presentation, 63% of participants remembered stories, while only 5% remembered stats. Instead of boring the representative with industry overviews and customer reviews during your short time with a potential customer, you can save these important items for sales collateral, and focus on building the relationship with the client.
Nevertheless, some stats are necessary to convince a company to purchase your product. If a representative tells her manager the reason she wants to buy your product is because she “loved the emotion that came through your story,” the manager is not likely to be pleased. Instead, wow the representative with your story, but give them the information they need to back up their decision to their superiors. Use your time with a prospect to give them the right information with your sales presentations, but make sure to supply important information in the marketing collateral that will prove how your service will make their business run more smoothly.
3. Keep the conversation going
Sales collateral allows you to keep “talking” with your prospective customers even after your meeting is over. Sales cycles for some products can be long, and it is your job to keep the potential customers engaged throughout the process. People want to be taken care of, and providing detailed sales collateral can help your business create a first class environment.
Quickcard allows you to keep the conversation going in more ways than one. With the ability to embed FAQs into your sales documents and answer new questions as they come up, it has never been easier to interact with your potential customers in brief, but meaningful ways. Prospects won't always have questions ready during your sales meeting, but will often come up with them after the fact. This feature makes it easy to assist prospects through the buying process, therefore making it easier for them to purchase your product. Point prospects in the right direction of useful information quickly and easily.
4. Allows you to apply a personal touch
Distributing sales collateral gives your company the opportunity to impress its clients. Having stimulating, engaging sales collateral can set you apart from your competition. Make it easy for the customer to buy into your ideas by providing them with a professional experience.
In today’s virtual world, you don’t need to have the same packet of sales documents ready to send with a potential customer at the end of a meeting. It has never been easier to share applicable material with each customer. Were there any questions that your customer asked that you couldn’t answer right away? Are there features of your product that work particularly well with this customer’s business? Is there a mind blowing statistic you forgot to tell them about? Modern technology allows you to get them that answer, highlight that feature, and share that stat seamlessly.
Quickcard allows you to add a custom touch to your sales collateral. After you see which feature seems to go over the best with the representative, Quickcard allows you to quickly update your sales documents to highlight the feature that is most applicable to this company’s goals, all with just a few clicks. You can also show the representative that you value their business by addressing them personally, and customizing the wording of your sales collateral to reflect their industry.
The goal of sales collateral is to convert businesses from prospects to customers. Your effective sales collateral will help move them through this process, and will give your business the ability to connect more deeply with potential customers, maximize the time it takes to make a sale, and prove why your product is worth the client’s investment. The best sales collateral is the material that turns prospective buyers into loyal customers. If you forget about the importance of sales collateral, you likely won’t be making many sales, since that champion will drop the ball too often!