Sales collateral 101. Basics basics, fundamentals.

May 19, 2021 | Business Development

A couple of weeks ago I was chatting with a  tech founder and we got onto the subject of the plans for a product launch. And at that moment, this little gem tumbled out:

“Oh but that’s the sore point, we don’t have anything to send. For sure, we have clients, we have case studies, we just don’t have any of it written down. Not. A. Thing.”

This got me thinking. Going into that situation, what would be the minimum set up needed to support a new business push. More specifically, let’s say there was a prescribed sales goal, for example to book a call with the founder or book a demo with the product lead. And then let’s say it was me in the hot seat to get this done, what sales collateral would I want to fuel the efforts?

Basics basics, fundamentals (of sales collateral)

At this point it’s tempting to look at things through the filter of top of funnel, middle of funnel and bottom of funnel. I do believe there is a lot of value in going through that process and there are key differences in the types of content appropriate for each stage. But, getting back in the founders shoes, often it’s all about pace. What can we do to get going today?

So, imagine the cavalry of the full strategy will come later. For the ‘now,’ this would be my wish list as a bare bones minimum viable product when it comes to sales collateral.

  • A written out set of three challenges the buyer experiences that you can solve
  • A relevant client case study ideally in sector
  • A set of client testimonials / reviews / quotes. In situ on platform or embedded on site
  • A thought leadership article demonstrating understanding of the buyers world
  • A short loom video of key product features in action 
  • A company overview PDF (using the challenge, feature, result narrative)
  • A product roadmap PDF with existing core strengths and upcoming extensions

Addressible market

That list is useless without knowing where to use it. The next piece of the jigsaw is knowing who it is that most benefits from the product. Mapping out the target companies and then the key people in these companies is essential.

Remember, the mandate here is to get things off the ground quickly. Keep-it-simple is the best way. Build the list, tackle the list.

My M.O. is to pull together three of four types of prospects into lists. For example. look-a-like prospects to happy clients, key competitor clients, in-sector prospects, prospects with a common tech platform etc. (It could even be closed/lost opportunities from last year) The next move is to get into a rhythm of approaches. It’s to the sales person’s advantage to be speaking to a series of similar companies, they likely are experiencing similar challenges, there may well be industry specific or regulatory changes going on – key into that and be part of their world.

Putting it into action

Now it’s time to get going. The challenge statements become part of the opening conversations. The case study shows others have chosen you. The testimonials help with a bit of name dropping. The article shows that you’re not just all about the sale and the business is part of the industry. The video is good for busy people. The overview and roadmap can peak the interest to know more. 

This is about as MVP as it’s possible to get away with. Anything less and the likely end result is a transactional conversation about feature comparison and price. If the value of the product or service is more than just it’s headline price then this is not where we want to be.

Sales and Marketing need to work together

This kind of sales push shouldn’t be happening in isolation. The approach described here is lean but it’s also potentially hard yards without sales and marketing pulling together.  

This can manifest itself in simple things, for example if after the first call, the prospect checks out the company LinkedIn page and it has a totally different (outdated) message or the last blog post was from nine months ago and about Brexit. 

Sales collateral is just one part of a wider process. Ideally, we’re seeking a more comprehensive joined up approach for sales and marketing. Where the brand and demand campaigns are in turn creating opportunities to generate leads and pipeline. Where the flow between marketing on to sales is a well oiled machine and the leads are coming in thick and fast. Show me the company with a blend of marketing generated and sales generated leads and you’ll likely be watching a happy team in action.

However, if that isn’t yet in place, then the place to start is the basics, basics, fundamentals 

PS – for the eagle-eyed among you, yep, Elis and John is my absolute favourite podcast. If you’re not familiar, I highly recommend it.