How to Leverage Sales Collateral in The Buyer’s Journey [Examples]
Gone are the days of using traditional sales collateral that consists of brochures and catalogs. In today’s hyper-competitive landscape, modern sales collateral needs to effectively engage and persuade prospects to maintain momentum and drive sales.
The harsh reality is that 78% of executive buyers claim salespeople do not have relevant materials to share with them. This indicates a gap in what sales and marketing teams are producing vs. what prospects actually want.
If done right, sales collateral demonstrates the value and drives context in your sales conversations. Providing this material not only enriches the prospect’s experience with your company but helps to give them that extra push to purchase.
Let’s look at sales collateral examples, how to align sales collateral to the buyer’s journey, best practices, and more.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- What is Sales Collateral?
- Sales Collateral for Different Stages of the Buyer’s Journey
- Best Types of Sales Collateral Examples
- Sales Collateral Best Practices
What is Sales Collateral?
Sales collateral is any type of content that help to support the sales process and provide prospects with the right information at the right time.
Sales professionals use sales collateral in the buyer’s journey to help prospects make decisions and ultimately convert those prospects to customers.
The material helps to drive context, provide value, and ease prospective concerns.Track your sales collateralView attachment opens and page-by-page breakdowns
Sales Collateral for Different Stages of the Buyer’s Journey
The buyer’s journey is a framework that outlines the path a buyer takes to purchase a product or service. It’s important to create sales collateral that compliments each stage of the buyer’s journey.
Let’s take a look.
Sales Collateral for the Awareness Stage
Sales collateral for the awareness stage helps to introduce your product and get the right buyers interested.
Awareness stage sales collateral consists of:
- Blog posts
- Ebooks and guides
- Landing pages
- Social media
Sales Collateral for the Consideration Stage
Sales collateral for the consideration stage helps to guide buyer conversations and build rapport. In this stage, customers are looking into different options to help solve their problems. So, it’s important that your collateral emphasizes the value of your solution.
Consideration stage sales collateral consists of:
- Case studies
- White papers
- Buyer’s guides
- Product videos
Sales Collateral for the Decision Stage
Sales collateral in the decision stage is the final nudge to get prospects to purchase. The collateral at this stage needs to reinforce the value of your solution and instill why it’s the right choice over competitors.
Decision stage sales collateral consists of:
- Product demos
- Competitor comparisons
- Pricing guides
- Best practice guides/playbooks
Best Types of Sales Collateral Examples
Case studies are hands-down one of the most effective types of sales collateral because of the power of social proof.
Nobody wants to be the guinea pig. Decision-makers want proof that your product will solve their problems and one of the best ways to do that is to provide them with 3rd party evidence.
In short, case studies tell a story of how a customer achieves success with your solution.
Studies show that case studies can increase your deal closing ratio by 70% and your sales by 185%.
Keep in mind that your case study should be relevant to the prospect and their company. The company in the case study should ideally be similar in regard to industry, company size, and issues faced.
Your case study should address:
- The pain points and challenges faced by the customer before your solution
- How it was implemented
- The outcome/results of adopting the solution (use hard data and stats here)
If done right, your case studies will ensure the buyer that you’re a reputable company that delivers results.
Here’s a general case study template:
Tip: Case studies can be used throughout the sales cycle and at different stages of the buying process depending on the buyer’s needs and the conversation taking place.
Sales presentations take a personal approach and help build connections with prospects. A strong sales presentation tells a story, highlights your value proposition, and motivates your prospect to take action.
There are various routes to take when creating your sales presentation — you can present a general overview of your company and solution or create a more hyper-focused presentation that focuses on features and the product itself.
Here’s an effective story-telling formula for your presentation:
- Before → Here’s your world…
- After → Imagine what it would be like if…
- Bridge → Here’s how to get there.
Start with a vivid description of the pain, present an enviable world where that problem doesn’t exist, then explain how to get there using your solution.
The key here is to have a general branded template that you can fill out/personalize for each company. And always provide engaging visuals.
For example, which is more effective for you? This statement — “On average, Yesware customers save ten hours per week” — or this image: The graphic above displays what those 10 hours look like for prospects vs. customers. It also calls out a pain that the solution removes: data entry.
Visuals are more effective every time; they fuel the retention of a presentation from 10% to 65%.
Competitor Comparison Sheets (Battle Cards)
Another benefit of sales collateral is that it can help you overcome sales objections. And we all know that one of the most common objections faced in the sales process is our very own competitors.
Competitor comparison sheets, also known as battle cards, help visualize how your solution stacks up against your competitors. These are typically one-pagers that highlight the differences between you and a company. This can be as simple as a side-by-side chart comparing each solution’s features and functionalities.
Your sales team should have access to these battle cards for all of your top competitors. That way, when your competitor’s name comes up in conversation, you’re equipped with the right material to show the decision-maker why your solution is better.
Best Practice Guides/Playbooks
You can take various routes when creating playbooks. This type of collateral provides a framework for professionals to help them do their job better.
One of the most influential playbooks you can create is one that shows your prospect how they can achieve better results with your solution.
An example of this is creating a product guide that gives best practices, tips, and tricks for using your solution — this not only provides the prospect with insights into effective techniques but does this while selling them your solution.
Here’s an example of what we use here at Yesware:
In-depth collateral insightsSee who's viewing & the average viewing time
FAQ sheets assist the prospect with questions that typically arise in the sales process. This helps to continue the momentum and address questions quickly and effectively.
As a sales professional, you know the questions that frequently arise throughout your sales conversations. So, start jotting these down throughout your day and compile a list of frequently asked questions.
Then, create a sheet answering these questions that align with your strategy and messaging. This not only saves you time answering tedious questions but also shows the decision-maker that you’re prepared and organized.
Keep in mind that these questions should serve a purpose and help to highlight your advantages over competitors. Make sure your FAQ sheet is helpful and informative but also uses language that persuades.
Here’s an example of a FAQ sheet template:
Aside from demos, product videos are the best way to show your prospects how your product works before purchasing. By sending product videos, you allow them to view and obtain all information on their own hands before proceeding.
Efficient sales and marketing alignment here is necessary. Never underestimate the power of sales reps and marketers working together.
Over here at Yesware, we created a learning portal called Yesware U where customers can access videos on their own. Our sales team uses this portal to send prospects videos and articles daily.
The portal helps prospects navigate our solution on their own as well as gives our sales team easy access to all up-to-date product videos where they can grab links and send them to prospects in seconds.
Sales Collateral Best Practices
Create Sales Collateral Templates
For quick and easy personalization, build out general templates for each type of sales collateral. Then, when you need to send the collateral to a prospect, you can personalize the piece so it’s tailored to that specific prospect and company.
As stated above — alignment between your sales and marketing team is crucial. The best way for your teams to collaborate on this is by establishing ready-to-use templates that can be personalized and delivered quickly and effectively.
The last thing you want is for your prospects to have difficulty opening your documents. Ensure easy accessibility before sending any material out.
Always communicate to the prospect in advance before sending documents over mail to ensure smooth deliverability.
Tip: Try descriptive links to avoid emails going to spam.
Track Attachment Engagement
Sending sales collateral is a game-changer when you can gauge which piece is most effective, what needs more work, and who your most interested prospects are.
Attachment Tracking tells you whether recipients are clicking on the attachment, interacting with it, and how much time is spent on the document. This not only tells you the interest level of the prospect but reveals the effectiveness of the collateral itself.
Here’s an example of Yesware’s presentation report:
It’s all about measuring and seeing what resonates most with your prospects, then refining that strategy and leveraging it. By tracking your sales collateral, you’ll be able to fine-tune your pieces and collateral strategy a step further.
Provide Context Around Your Sales Collateral
Never send your sales collateral out of the blue. Always give a brief explanation of what the recipient should expect and why you’re sending it.
If the collateral is relevant, mentioning it should flow seamlessly in your conversation. It can also be effective to follow up about the collateral to ask about opinions and if they’re satisfied/need any more information.
Always Update Your Collateral
Companies are constantly changing and evolving. Make sure to stay up-to-date with your sales collateral and double-check for any updates or recent changes before sending the pieces out.
An example of this is in your battle cards — by providing outdated information, you immediately lose the prospect’s trust. Stay on top of your competitor’s product updates (as well as your own) to ensure your collateral is reliable.
Implementing sales collateral into your sales strategy is one of the best ways to improve buyer conversations and close deals faster.
A strong sales enablement program and team alignment will help create a smooth and seamless process. Continuing to implement and improve this process will drive momentum and growth.
Equipping your sales team with highly effective sales collateral that’ll convert prospects into customers will undoubtedly streamline your sales process and boost sales substantially.
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