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 teams are producing and what prospects actually want.
If done right, sales collateral demonstrates 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, crucial elements of highly-converting collateral, best practices, and more.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Definition: Marketing Collateral vs. Sales Collateral
- 3 Key Elements of the Perfect Sales Collateral
- Best Types of Sales Collateral Examples
- Sales Collateral Best Practices
Definition: Marketing Collateral vs. Sales Collateral
Sales collateral helps support the sales process and provides prospects the right information at the right time. This material provides context to your conversation and supports your sales pitch.
But in today’s modern selling — sales collateral and marketing collateral seem to get mixed up.
They’re different for both when you use them and how you use them.
When: Marketing collateral is used at the top of the sales funnel, at the awareness and interest stage. Sales collateral is used in the middle/bottom of the funnel, at the consideration and decision stage.
How: The goal for each is different. Marketing collateral should capture the audience’s attention and pull them in, while sales collateral should drive the prospect to make a decision and give them that final push they need to purchase.
It’s also important to keep in mind that all sales collateral should be personalized to the prospect. On the other hand, marketing collateral is distributed widely to your target audience. This means the messaging behind each piece will be different.
3 Key Elements of the Perfect Sales Collateral
1. Builds Trust
Your sales collateral should always portray information that’ll help gain prospective trust and build rapport.
By providing prospects with collateral that is informative, addresses their needs, and is personalized, you gain trust that’ll enhance your relationship going forward.
This also means that all information provided needs to be factual and truthful. By not doing so, this one quick mistake will immediately diminish your credibility.
2. Aligns to the Buyer’s Journey
Your sales collateral should always be aligned to the buyer’s journey. By matching the information provided with their current decision-making stage, you ensure the information is valuable and catered to their current needs and desires.
The typical buyer’s journey has three stages — awareness, consideration, and decision. Sales collateral is typically shared in the consideration and decision stage.
It’s important to understand where the prospect is and what they’re looking for to guide you in the right direction.
3. Provides Value
The goal of your sales collateral is to provide value to the prospect. If the material doesn’t address their specific pain points, concerns, or needs discussed in your conversation — don’t send it.
The material you send should always center around the conversation you’ve had with the prospect.
For example: If the prospect mentions another competitor, send that competitor comparison sheet. If they have a lot of questions about product functionality, send your product videos. And so on.
The most effective sales collateral has both an engaging visual design as well as information that communicates the message clearly and effectively.
Best Types of Sales Collateral Examples
1. Case Studies
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 solution will provide them value, 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%.
Here’s the thing — prospects want proof that your solution has achieved desired results, provided value, and led to other companies’ success. Case studies back up your sales pitch by providing hard facts and proof of what you promise, allowing you to build trust.
Keep in mind that your case study should be relevant to your prospect and their company. The case study should focus on similar objectives and ideally be a similar company, i.e., industry, company size, etc.
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 — 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 are 15 case study templates to easily create your own.
2. Sales Presentations
Sales presentations take a personal approach and help build connections with prospects. If done right, sales presentations can be one of the most engaging forms of sales collateral.
An effective sales presentation compels the audience and tells a story, aligns with your prospect’s needs, 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.
It’s crucial to tell a story that is relevant and catered to your prospect. As humans, we connect with stories and they stick in our minds.
Here’s an effective formula: the Before-After-Bridge.
- 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 shows you what that 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 retention of a presentation from 10% to 65%.
3. Competitor Comparison Sheets (Battle Cards)
Sales collateral should be there and ready to help you overcome objections. And we all know one of the most common sales objections 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 show the difference between you and a company. This can be as simple as a side-by-side chart comparing each solution’s features and functionalities.
Sales teams 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.
4. Sales Playbooks
You can take various routes when creating sales playbooks. These provide a framework for sales professionals to help them do their job better.
The best playbooks for delivering to prospects is to show your prospect how they can achieve better results with your solution.
An example of this is creating a product guide that gives best practices and tips and tricks for using your solution — this not only provides the professional with insights into effective techniques but does this while selling them your solution.
Here’s an example of what we use here at Yesware:
5. FAQ Sheets
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.
In sales, you know the questions that frequently arise throughout your conversations. 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 are prepared and organized.
Keep in mind to make sure these questions highlight your advantages over competitors. Make sure it’s helpful and informative but also uses language that persuades.
6. Product Videos
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.
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 on the daily.
This 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 send links over to prospects in seconds.
Sales Collateral Best Practices
1. Create sales collateral templates
Make sure to build out a general template for each sales collateral created. Then, when you need to send to a prospect, you can personalize the piece to make it catered to that prospect and their company.
As stated above — alignment between your marketing and sales team is crucial. The best way for your teams to collaborate on this is by having ready-to-use templates that you can personalize and send quickly.
2. Ensure accessibility
Make the accessibility of your sales collateral easy and seamless. The last thing you want is for your prospect to have difficultly with opening your documents.
Always tell the prospect in advance you’re sending them the piece as well as what format you’re sending it in. Try descriptive links to avoid emails going to spam and ensure deliverability.
3. Track attachment engagement
It’s all-important that you track prospective engagement, that way you know whether they’re clicking on the attachment, interacting with it, and how much time is spent on the document. This will not only tell 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 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.
4. Provide context around your sales collateral
Never send your sales collateral out of the blue. Always give a brief explanation of what they should expect and why you’re sending it.
If the collateral is relevant, mentioning it should flow seamlessly with 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.
5. Always update your collateral
Companies are constantly changing and evolving, always make sure you stay up to date with your sales collateral and double-check for any updates and recent changes before sending to your prospect.
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 keep the sheets up-to-date and reliable.
Sales collateral is a highly effective way of engaging and persuading your prospects. The material helps to drive context, provide value, and ease prospective concerns.
Creating sales collateral can be a seamless experience if the right process is in place. By ensuring a process is in place with both your sales and marketing team, you’ll drive momentum and continuous 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.