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Five Fundamentals for Sales Collateral

Sales collateral can incorporate brochures, catalogs, sell sheets, and more. While other facets of  business communication have changed over the years, collateral still remains one of the best methods to present important information, especially technical information, about a product or service. The important thing to remember about sales pieces today is that the audience is the same group of people who have become accustomed to two-way communication via social media platforms. Making sure that your collateral remains useful while becoming more interactive is essential. How can you accomplish that feat? We have five tips for you.

1. Solve a problem

As with any marketing tactic today, it is helpful to focus on what the customer will want to find in your content. For the most part, the answer is that your customer (or prospect) will want to find the answer to a question or the solution to a problem. How could your product or service benefit a potential customer? A sales piece gives you an opportunity to divulge more technical details than an advertisement or a press release, but the information should be in a context of assisting the customer with a problem that might plague them on a regular basis.

2. Consider professional quality a priority

We’ve already touched on the importance of developing high quality sales pieces. Remember, your collateral is not just a reference source. It also will represent you long after you have been introduced, either virtually or in real life, to your customer. Do you want them to look at your sales piece and think, “They didn’t really put much care into this,” or do you want them to feel like they possess a high quality piece from a professional, respectable company? The answer is simple, but sometimes the lure of a smaller investment can be tempting. We recommend that the greater investment upfront will pay big dividends over time as customers will appreciate a quality piece of collateral that presents your company in a light that projects the corporate image you wish to portray.

3. Make sure the piece works online and offline

The expectation today is that sales pieces will be available online as well as offline. Because of that, any collateral piece should work equally well as a printed piece or as a downloadable PDF. This means that as you design the piece, you may want to try to avoid design elements that may not transfer to an online presentation. Some pieces may even require one look for the print version that can include die-cuts, folds and beautiful stock while the online version will be a little more basic to accommodate the online presentation. Ease of use is the highest priority.

4. Increase the interaction

Whether print or online, there are ample opportunities to make your collateral pieces more interactive. For printed pieces, consider using QR codes that would lead to product videos. Online, consider creating a pdf of your document that includes “page-turning technology” that simulates the feel of reading a book. These types of PDFs can still be printed, but they offer additional advantages such as embedded links, social sharing, and Google Analytics. The more engagement you can create with your sales pieces, the more likely customers are to remember those reference sources and refer to them often.

5. Make sure you measure

There are many ways to track the success of your collateral pieces. Like ads, all collateral pieces including brochures, sell sheets, catalogs, etc. can be tracked with the use of special landing pages or QR codes. Google Analytics can be used to track how many people download PDFs on your site, and if you use the aforementioned page-turning technology, you can even track what pages in the piece get the most views. As you track the success of your sales pieces, be willing to make alterations based on the data you receive. For example, if people are not scanning QR codes in your printed pieces, make sure you have clear descriptions of why the codes should be scanned. If your online analytics show that people are not downloading a particular PDF, perhaps you need to adjust the content to make it less promotional and more informative.

As you develop your sales collateral, it is imperative that your sales force is incorporated into the process. They are the ones who will be using these tools in the field. If they indicate that something needs to be changed or improved, their opinions should be heard and valued.

Those are our five fundamentals for sales collateral. If you have any questions please feel free to let us know!

Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lttds/4253362511/ via Creative Commons

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8 comments on “Five Fundamentals for Sales Collateral

  1. Great post Margie. Very sound wisdom about a medium that isn’t always top of mind in terms of branding, relationship building and sales effectiveness. Thanks for the insights.

  2. Margie,
    Because of the “always-on” world WE live in, especially those ensconced in social media, we forget that those collateral materials can still be important when networking, branding, and closing the deal with a client. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. #3 and #4 are definitely crucial nowadays! Every one of our marketing pieces also has to look good as a PDF (and possibly JPG) that is available to download. We could do better ensuring that we put a QR code there to direct folks to our corporate website and/or facebook fan page without having to type in the URL.

    • QR codes can be really helpful if used properly. We have used QR codes to lead people to a contact form where there were phone numbers & email addresses – since you have your smart phone in hand, you just have to tap the phone number to make a call. Taking folks who scan to your homepage is not as helpful to you or your customers. Everything with thought and in moderation, eh?

  4. I really appreciate how your posts focus on the importance of measurement. I have been lacking on this point. Just set up an activity log for everything I am doing for my business. Trying to get data that I can turn into some sort of report on my activities. Not exactly sure what to measure, but hoping to at least drop what is not working.

  5. Hi there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it is truly informative.
    I’m going to watch out for brussels. I’ll be grateful if you continue this in future.
    A lot of people will be benefited from your writing.

    Cheers!

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