The must-have sales collateral you need for your business—and how to create it.
Sales collateral is an essential piece of moving your prospects through the buying journey and ultimately closing the sale.
In today’s hyper-competitive landscape, consumers have a seemingly endless roster of options for the brands and companies they choose to do business with.
If you want to stand out and transform them from “potential customer” to “actual customer,” you need all the help you can get. That’s where sales enablement collateral comes in.
But what, exactly, is sales enablement collateral? Why is it so important? And what’s the secret to using these assets to actually drives sales for your business?
What Is Sales Enablement Collateral?
Sales enablement collateral is essentially anything that helps to move your prospects through your sales funnel—and transform them from prospect to customer. It could be:
- Blog posts
- … and so on
It sounds pretty straightforward. And once you understand how to do it, it is. But if you want to be successful and take your business to the next level, the right sales collateral is an absolute must.
Why Are These Assets so Essential for Your Business?
There are a number of reasons sales collateral is a nonnegotiable for your business, including:
- Helps to drive conversions: The right collateral can help inspire your customers to take the leap, closing the deal and driving conversions for your business
- Helps to educate customers on your company and product: Education is a huge part of the sales cycle. So sales enablement collateral is a great way to educate potential customers on your company, services and products
- Can help to overcome objections and drive buying decisions: Many customers have questions or issues that stand in the way of them making a purchase. Through sales collateral, you can identify and overcome key customer objections and drive buying decisions
- Creates more customer touchpoints: Most consumers need multiple encounters with your brand before they make a purchase. Sales collateral allows you to have more customer touchpoints. Remember: The more exposure you have with your ideal customers, the more sales you’ll drive as a result
Clearly, sales collateral can help you reach your goals. But what kind of collateral do you need to get the job done?
The Different Types of Sales Enablement Collateral (and How to Create Them)
Ever heard the saying “variety is the spice of life?” Well, variety is also the spice of collateral!
There are a TON of different types of sales collateral, and the best type for you is going to depend on your sales goals, your customers and your business model. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. But there are definitely a few different types that have near universal appeal.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common (and successful!) types of sales collateral—and how to create them:
Brochures are one of the most old-school forms of sales collateral. But just because they’re old-school doesn’t mean they’re not effective!
Because they have multiple pages, brochures can be a great way to go into detail about a product or service. And because they’re printed, they allow you to leave key sales information behind with clients or customers—and will continue to sell them on your product or service long after you’ve left the building.
Here are a few tips for creating effective brochures:
- Focus on the design. The right design can draw people in, grab their attention and get them to actually read the content. Make sure to use an attention-grabbing template or pass along your brochure design to a team of professionals
- Avoid big blocks of text. As mentioned, brochures offer a great opportunity to share a significant amount of information. But they shouldn’t read like a novel! Big blocks of text can feel visually overwhelming, so make sure your content is easily scannable
- Make sure the value reads loud and clear … Your customers shouldn’t have to go searching through your brochure to figure out what you’re trying to sell—or why they should buy it. Make sure the value of your product or service is the focal point of your brochure design
- … And add an incentive for good measure. If you want your brochures to actually drive sales, adding an incentive (like a coupon or special discount) is a great way to increase conversions
Content marketing can be defined as any content you create to help market your business. That includes blog posts, eBooks, e-mail newsletters and white papers.
Content marketing is an effective way to increase brand awareness and get the word out about your business. Plus, when done correctly, it can also be used as sales collateral and a way to drive conversions.
Here are a few tips for creating content that drives sales:
- Ask for the sale. Content is a great opportunity to go in-depth on a particular topic. But if you don’t directly ask for the sale, you’re not going to get it. Make sure to include a clear call to action (also known as a CTA) within the body and at the end of your blog posts, eBooks and other content
- Make it scannable. Again, big blocks of text can be overwhelming to readers. No matter what kind of content you’re writing—whether it’s a 500-word blog post or a 10,000-word eBook—it should be broken down into easy-to-scan, easy-to-digest sections
- Collect your customer information. Content offers a great opportunity to collect your customers’ contact information (e.g., by offering a free eBook download in exchange for their e-mail address)
Once you have a prospect’s contact information (with the right permission), you can use it to continue to market to them and, ultimately, close the sale.
An infographic is a visual representation of key information or data. And depending on what information or data you present, they can also be incredibly effective sales tools.
Here are some tips for creating sales-focused infographics:
- Choose the right data. The effectiveness of infographics as sales collateral is going to entirely depend on what data or information you use. Make sure that the data you use in an infographic actually helps push a customer towards a sale. So, for example, if you were selling productivity software, you might include data or statistics on how your client productivity has improved since implementing the software
- Focus on design. The entire appeal of infographics lies in their design. They’re visually impactful and transform data into a visual story. Make sure you focus on the design and choose colors, illustrations and a layout that packs a visual punch
- Make them shareable: Infographics can go viral (e.g., Jessica Hische’s “Should I Work for Free?” flowchart.) Making sure they “travel” with your brand information is key
Product sheets are exactly what they sound like. They outline the key specs and details of a particular product.
They offer a great opportunity to educate your customer, answer any product questions and drive sales.
Here are a few key tips for using product sheets as sales collateral:
- Include key details … The reason product sheets drive sales is because they demystify the product and give key information (like specs and functionality) necessary to drive purchasing decisions. Make sure to include all key details about your product
- … But don’t go overboard. That being said, there’s no need to write a full-on novel about your product. Keep your information tight and to-the-point. Bullet points work great!
- Answer common product questions. If there’s a product question you’re constantly getting from customers, chances are, whoever is reading your sales collateral probably has the same question. Be proactive, think two steps ahead and address the question directly on the product sheet
Case Studies and Testimonials
From a sales perspective, there are few things more persuasive than social proof. If you can show your customers that your products or services work for other people, it’s going to be a lot easier to convince them that they’ll work for them, too.
That’s why case studies and testimonials are so powerful. Showcasing success stories from your current clients and customers helps build trust with potential clients and customers. And ultimately, that trust can go a long way in driving sales.
Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of case studies and testimonials:
- Get different kinds of customers. You want your case studies and testimonials to be relatable to as many people as possible. So if you have different types of customers, try to get a variety to share their experience. The more types of customers you highlight, the more potential customers they’ll connect with (and the more sales you’ll get as a result!)
- Be specific. A “this product/service is great!” testimonial is fine. But if you really want to knock it out of the park, get your clients and customers to share exactly how your product or service has helped them. Did your software improve company productivity by 75%? Did your accounting services save their firm $10,000 at tax time? These details will elevate your sales collateral to the next level
- Use real names and pictures. Case studies and testimonials are all about building trust. So make sure to use real client details, including their name and/or organization name. And, if possible, get a picture!
Additional Types of Sales Collateral
We covered a lot of ground with the different types of sales collateral, but they aren’t the only types out there! Depending on your product, service and sales goals, you might also want to consider additional types of sales collateral, including:
- Product demonstrations
- Sales letters or video sales letters
- Educational videos
- Sales decks
- E-mail templates
- Sales scripts
- Competitor comparisons
Tips for Developing Assets That Actually Drives Sales
Want more on creating sales collateral that actually drives tips? Here are a few tips to keep in mind throughout the sales collateral creation process:
Show Your Point of Difference
Chances are whatever you’re selling, there’s someone out there who’s selling the same thing (or, at the very least, something similar). So if you want your sales collateral to be effective, it needs to highlight what makes you different and unique. That includes explaining why your customers should buy from you instead of the competition.
Your sales collateral should embody your point of difference (or, in other words, what sets you apart from the competition).
Do you have a different, cutting-edge style? Make sure you embrace that style in your sales collateral design.
Do you have a patented technology your competitors have yet to leverage? Make sure you showcase that technology front and center.
Whatever it is that sets you apart, make sure it comes across in your sales collateral.
Make Sure You Stay On-Brand
Sales collateral is an opportunity to drive sales. But it’s also an opportunity to strengthen your branding and your brand recognition with your customers.
That’s why making sure all your sales collateral is on-brand is an absolute must.
When you’re creating your sales collateral, make sure that each element is aligned with your overall branding. Use your brand color palette, fonts and voice. Include your logo and other key branding assets. When a customer looks at your sales collateral, they should be able to immediately recognize it’s from your brand, even before they dig into the content.
See What Your Competitors Are Doing
You never want to steal an idea from a competitor. But you can certainly look to your competitors for inspiration!
Try to get your hands on your competitors’ sales collateral. What types of sales collateral are they creating? How are they presenting their products or services? What about their collateral stands out and grabs the customer’s attention?
Remember, some of your prospects may be appraising you against your competitors, so you want to make the sales collateral easy to compare, but also distinct and better!
Use the Right Asset for the Right Customer
Not all sales collateral is created equal. And the sales collateral that closes the deal with one customer might fall completely flat with another.
That’s why it’s so important to use the right sales collateral for the right customers.
If you’re a B2B company targeting clients in the manufacturing space, for example, technical product sheets or white papers could be effective sales collateral. But if you’re a social media start-up targeting Gen Z consumers, content marketing or videos would probably be more effective.
The point is, it’s important to know your business, know your industry and know your customers—and then choose the types of sales collateral to create accordingly.
Get to the Point
You believe in what you’re selling. So you might be tempted to include anything and everything that might get your customers to believe in it along with you in your sales collateral.
But fight that temptation! You don’t want your sales collateral to read like War and Peace and you don’t want to overwhelm potential customers with a million different pieces of sales collateral.
If you want your sales collateral to be successful, take a less is more approach—and get to the point as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Follow up and Close the Sale
Sales collateral will help educate your customers and get them excited about your products or services. And, in some cases, that might be enough to close the deal.
But what if they have questions? What if they’re on the fence? What if they aren’t sure about next steps or how to make a purchase?
The point is, sales collateral will certainly help move your customers further along on their buying journey. But ultimately, it’s your job to actually close the sale. So make sure you’re following up with your customers after delivering your sales collateral.
Use Sales Collateral to Take Your Business to the Next Level
Sales collateral is a must if you want to take your business to the next level. And now that you have everything you need to create sales collateral that drives sales, all that’s left to do? Get out there and start creating—and start selling!
This post was updated in November 2019.