Sales collateral is a powerful tool to create competitive buying experiences that are compelling and streamlined.
Modern buyers and decision-makers don’t want to be sold. They want genuine interactions with salespeople that provide industry expertise and demystify the buying process. Sales collateral enables prospect-centric buying experiences. When leveraged correctly, collateral can shorten sales cycles, boost buyer confidence, and even win deals.
Sales collateral is so valuable to the sales process that DemandGenReport, found that 95% of customers choose solution providers that offer relevant content at every stage of the buying process.
The value of great sales collateral can’t be overstated and shouldn’t be left to chance.
This article will outline how sales collateral can increase sales, the difference between marketing and sales content, and how to empower your sales teams to leverage the content you create.
Let’s get started.
Buyer Enablement Through Sales Collateral
As we stated, leveraging informative content to empower buyer decision-making wins deals. Full stop.
Don’t get it twisted. We are in no way suggesting that a skilled sales team is replaceable by flashy content. Instead, provided an equal B2B sales strategy, the company with comprehensive content will win more deals.
Because decision-makers have enough to worry about without being burdened by a confusing sales process and relentless pitches. Prospects want buying experiences that are intuitive, consistent, and foster confidence so they can get back to focusing on more important things—like running their business.
With comprehensive sales collateral, sales teams have the tools to help prospects progress through deals and create enjoyable buying experiences.
Make Sales Easy For Prospects
Especially in B2B sales in which multiple stakeholders and complex business needs delay and confuse purchase decisions.
Sales collateral distills messaging, provides insights and value, proactively addresses objections, and navigates the sales process—enabling sales teams to become trusted advisors.
An adequate B2B sales framework leverages sales collateral to empower sales teams and prospects.
Provide A Sales Roadmap
When content spans the entire buyer’s journey, it creates a roadmap for sales teams to follow. The ability to respond quickly and confidently when deals stall, concerns are raised, or competition appears is a significant advantage.
Not only does this remove the dreaded “I will have to get back to you response,” but it also conveys expertise and reduces the need for internal team escalation.
Give your sales teams the tools to manage the deal.
Keep Messaging Consistent
Great content multiplies sales efforts, particularly when there are multiple stakeholders. Rarely does a salesperson get to interact with and help every decision-maker in B2B sales. As a result, a great deal of the “sale” occurs through prospect word-of-mouth. In these environments, it’s easy for messages to become frayed and confusion to flourish.
Sales content helps keep messaging on point and reduces miscommunication when your teams cannot be in the room.
Track Engagement and Buying Signals
When sales collateral is shared digitally, teams gain insights into when, how long, and who prospects share content. These are powerful buying signals, and they only occur when sales aren’t in the room. If you don’t know who and when prospects are engaging with your resources, you deny your sales team critical deal intelligence.
If Sales Collateral Is So Valuable, Why Do So Few Sales Strategies Leverage It?
Despite the overwhelming value provided by great sales collateral, a report by IDC found that 80% of marketing-generated content goes unused by sales teams.
So, what’s going on here?
Often sales content goes unused for one of two reasons.
First, sales collateral made by marketing teams in a vacuum focuses heavily on the business’s needs rather than the prospect. Business-centric marketing content does little to facilitate the sales process.
It isn’t that marketing teams don’t know what they’re doing. The issue is that marketing is often singularly incentivized and laser-focused on generating leads— and thus has little time to create actual sales content.
If content does not help progress deals, then sales teams won’t use it.
Second, sales collateral often goes unused because of cumbersome content management systems. When content isn’t easy to find, share, and track—it becomes a hindrance rather than a valued tool.
The issue isn’t sales team engagement or laziness. When your managing multiple stakeholders and several deals simultaneously, if the content isn’t readily available, easily shared, and providing value, then it’s forgotten.
Sorry marketing teams, a shared folder isn’t good enough.
So how do you overcome these challenges to build a better sales process? Start by working with your marketing team to define what sales collateral is.
What Is The Difference Between Marketing and Sales Collateral?
70% of the buyer’s journey is complete before a buyer even reached out to sales. (SiriusDecisions)
When marketing and sales teams work together to create prospect-centric content across the buyer’s journey—the differences between sales and marketing content are subtle. When done correctly, content flows seamlessly through the B2B sales funnel from awareness, consideration, and decision.
The subtle differences between marketing and sales collateral come down to this.
Marketing collateral typically deals with generating awareness and is broadcast over multiple channels, ie. Social media, blogs, PR, videos, webinars, events, etc. The focus of this content is to help prospects identify a need or challenge, put a definition to it, and suggest your solution as a possible answer.
Sales collateral focuses heavily on the consideration and decision phases of the buyer’s journey. Sales collateral is delivered directly by the sales team to educate and inform prospect purchase decisions.
Sales collateral lends expertise to sales teams, proactively counters objections, and progresses deals.
Content not designed around the buyer’s journey equips sales teams with resources that endlessly talk about the company and do little to motivate buyers.
Don’t be that sales team.
To create truly compelling and seamless buying experiences requires the combined expertise of marketing and sales.
I can already hear the collective sales groan at the thought of working with marketing. Ancient struggles aside, it’s imperative to leverage marketing expertise to create compelling and on-brand resources for your sales team.
Empower Your Sales Teams To Use Sales Collateral.
As we stated earlier, a common issue with sales not using collateral is how the resources are managed and deployed.
To ensure your teams leverage sales content, collateral must:
- Be easily accessible
- Organized by the buyer’s journey
- Seamlessly integrated into sales workflows
- Quickly shareable
- Enable sales teams to track engagement (when, who, and how long the resource was viewed)
Sales enablement tools make it easy to manage—placing resources right at the fingertips of your sales team. These systems are called Sales Content Management tools.
The best tools are ones that integrate sales collateral directly into a CRM and enable sharing of resources from your email and chat. Our personal favorite comes included with HubSpot’s Sales Pro.
HubSpot empowers sales teams by making the management of sales collateral efficient and easy. Content is shareable from your email or browser, automatically tracked, and recorded in the deal. Additionally, playbooks and email sequences can be built around content, making it intuitive for sales teams to leverage resources.
If HubSpot isn’t suitable for your business, make sure you select a tool that does more than storing documents in a folder on a shared drive. This is a recipe for resources going undiscovered and unused.
It’s simply not good enough for sales teams that are trying to nurture multiple stakeholders and deals.
The days of a pitch deck, a phone, and an email address being enough to conduct sales are long behind us.
Today’s consumers and decision-makers are empowered by the internet and demand more of their sales interactions than pitching.
To compete in today’s market requires a compelling and streamlined buying experience that supports and empowers prospects.
Sales collateral designed around educating and helping prospects make purchase decisions is an effective way to create a desirable buying journey.
If you want to shorten sales cycles, increase engagement, and close more deals—then build compelling sales collateral that spans the entire buyer’s journey.
Looking to give your B2B sales process a competitive edge? We can help you create compelling prospects centric sales collateral and empower your sales team with streamlined tools.
Or if you haven’t mapped your sales process and collateral yet, download our free guide to developing a modern buyer’s journey.
Optimize Your Sales & Revenue Ops By Mapping Your Ideal Buyer’s Journey
We’ve designed this resource to help you build the foundations of a streamlined and enjoyable buying process. Shorten sales cycles, empower your sales reps, and wow buyers with a buying experience that makes your competitors jealous!