Developing a sales collateral system

Adopting a sales collateral system will remove uncertainty and introduce objectives to the production of new collateral. And your sales people will love you for it

As we described in our post on turning sales collateral into sales content, creation of an effective sales collateral system depends upon two things:

  • Defining your sales collateral system
    • Defining your customer segmentation, the buying process (or, if you prefer, your sales process) they go through and the touch points they might refer to at each. And…
  • Selecting and producing your content
    • Identifying and creating pieces of content that meet the needs of each segment at each stage and each touch point!

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Let's look at these in a little more detail:

1. Defining your sales collateral system

Segmentation
Defining your segmentation should be relatively straightforward. After all, you should know which market segments you are targeting and why. The key thing to observe here is affordability. No point defining way more segments that you can afford to market to. So look for homogenous groups that share the same needs. Vertical industry is typically a strong starting point for segmentation.

Buying process
The buying (or selling) process will be different for every business and identifying it relies on you talking to your sales people, if you have them, or thinking objectively about the steps your customers take before ultimately deciding to buy from you or not. A typical B2B buying process might look something like this:

  • Identify need
  • Research solutions
  • Technical evaluation
  • Commercial evaluation
  • Negotiation
  • Purchase
  • Post purchase behaviour

Touch points
Touch points are all the places your prospective customers may go to find information relevant to their buying stage. Common examples might include pages of your website, your sales people (either by email or by phone), meetings, social media, etc. You may be able to identify a lot more.

2. Selecting and producing your content

Once you have the parameters of your system in place, you can begin to plan for the production of content.

Taking each stage of the buying process in turn, identify one or two key pieces of collateral that can really address the questions and concerns of prospects at that stage. Next assess whether one version of that content can function in all segments or if you really need to produce different versions tailored to each. Finally, list out the all the touch points where you think you need to make this content available.

When you have completed this process, you should be left with a complete list of collateral that you require and you can begin to brief your marketing agency to produce it. In producing your collateral you have remember at every step that you are creating with a particular stage in the buying process in mind and to tailor your content accordingly - no point dazzling a prospect with technical benefits if they are at the commercial evaluation stage and vice versa.

Now it's your turn

Now you have all the tools you need to produce your own sales collateral system and transform the way your business uses collateral.

If you are looking for a little more help, keep an eye out for our next post with some suggestions of which sales content could be applied at each stage of the typical B2B buying process mentioned above.

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