How can you help your team close more sales? Research suggests that before your prospects consider engaging with your sales teams directly, they are already 57% of the way along their purchase path. The materials and touchpoints you deliver during the actual sales process offer the potential to accelerate the buyer's journey, to slow it down, or, worse, to create friction and interrupt it.
That's why sales enablement collateral systems are essential to any growth strategy and must be continuously maintained, measured, and optimized.
But adhering to this best practice is easier said than done. Maybe you haven’t had time to update your sales enablement materials, and your team isn’t equipped with case studies or customer testimonials to attract new customers or convert leads. Perhaps your new sales reps need help establishing their voice, as there are no battle cards or one-sheeters to inspire and assist them. Or maybe your master pitch deck doesn’t reflect the new product you just launched.
Some teams throw materials together to support their inbound sales process in order to avoid speaking to clients without sales collateral. The right intention is there. However, because they are pressed for time and don't specialize in marketing, their materials may need to be more on-brand or effective to prevent disconnects along the buyer's journey.
If you have missing links in your sales enablement collateral, it's probably time for a refresh.
Elements of a Good Collateral System
Let’s look at the components of solid collateral.
A business’ collateral system is used to train sales reps with that business’ value proposition. What does it entail? Here are some common materials used in a good sales enablement collateral system:
Master pitch deck (overall brand story and corresponding products)
It's common for sales collateral to include an abundance of materials. So, what signals an imminent need for a refresh?
How Do I Know if My Sales Enablement Collateral Needs a Refresh?
Now that we know the core components of a comprehensive collateral system, let's identify triggers for when these materials need to be refreshed. One prevalent red flag we see can be found in the deal stages.
If you review deal stage conversion data and notice a steep drop at a specific point, that’s a strong indication that your sales enablement collateral is a contributing factor. It could be that your salespeople don’t have the materials they need to drive clients to the latter stages. Or, there needs to be more connection between the materials and what your company provides at that stage. Either way, a steep drop-off at a specific stage signals an issue.
Here are some additional triggers that can indicate the need for a refresh:
Current collateral doesn’t reflect a new market-focused pivot
Collateral ties to old or outdated company branding
Message doesn’t reflect the needs or interests of the target persona
Low customer conversion rate
Collateral isn’t effective for that stage of the buyer’s journey
Materials are not being leveraged consistently
To sell effectively, your sales team must have premium content, data-backed insights, and streamlined operations. Tracking your team’s collateral is another essential component of efficiency here.
How to Measure and Track Your Collateral System Usage
Maximize sales by utilizing great collateral, tracking your outcomes, and measuring all your related content.
For example, opt to upload your collateral into HubSpot CRM as web assets, including PDFs, images, and other materials. In doing so, you can maintain and update your content as necessary while tracking its usage.
Another option for maintaining your assets is to use a platform like Seismic, a sales enablement platform where you can also upload, grow, and track all of your collateral.
Both solutions offer the dual benefit of version control so that your stats, claims, and proof points can be consistently maintained. You'll be able to create an audit trail for all your case studies, one-sheeters, and other content to better define what works at different stages in both the sales process and your company's stages regarding specific products and services.
To better understand what makes effective collateral, let's identify what constitutes weak links within sales enablement materials.
Common Points of Failure Within Sales Enablement Collateral
Common failure points in the materials can lead to a loss in sales down the road, so it’s better to stay proactive in assessing sales collateral on an ongoing basis. Plus, subpar supporting materials can be detrimental to the reps' confidence in a sales call or follow up.
Inconsistencies across the materials regarding brand look and brand positioning
Outdated materials (how are they syndicated to sales)
Building out collateral assets in isolation or as one-offs
Producing too much in ad hoc fashion without any supporting assets or strong guidance from product stakeholders
Having to constantly react to quick needs (because you’re not proactively building libraries or positioning yourself ahead)
Let’s say you’ve determined you need a refresh. What’s the best way to start?
The Right Partner Can Help Engineer Your Collateral System
Developing successful sales enablement collateral is an ongoing process. It takes the continuous intention of aiding your sales team in developing relationships, connecting with new and existing customers, and generating more revenue.
A good partner can help you craft your collateral system and ensure the timely production of needed assets. Ideally, they’ll help you track use, report on what’s working, and aid in changes as necessary for new product and service developments.
Do you want your sales team to be able to focus on what they do best? Our strategists are on hand to discuss your goals and help your team achieve a higher close rate. Get a free assessment today.