Mark often uses a story about a time he bought a weights bench, stuck it in his garage, and failed to get an Arnie body. It didn’t work… because he didn’t use it.
Investing in sales and marketing collateral is a gamble for organisations if there’s a high risk that those assets are going to be left on the shelf.
There are reasons why they might not get used – an organisation’s culture might allow individuals not to engage, or supporting materials may not be necessary for certain sales (transactional prospects who know their issue and the solution are often just looking for the right vendor at the right price, for e.g.)
But the materials themselves – and the decision makers who commission them – often have a lot to answer for too. How many times have you heard sales teams moaning that marketing spends a lot of budget on resources they can’t use?
For more consultative sales scenarios – where the prospect not only doesn’t know the solution they need, but may not even fully understand the problem they have – strong marketing and sales assets are essential.
What’s make them usable is substance and structure.
Assets need to align with specific points in the buyer’s journey – initially helping to clarify the prospect’s problem – their ‘as is’ scenario – using available data, highlighting current spend, and engaging the prospect with questions to clearly define tensions or pain points.
Further on in the buying cycle, the materials need to be structured around a conversation about moving the prospect from their ‘as is’ to where they want to be.
Substance is essential. Successful case studies showing implementation times and improved results, reliable figures on industry trends, performance and cost of ownership for your product (and your competitors) make all the difference.
Assets that present powerful evidence of capability and superiority in a structured, logical and repeatable format are a gift to sales people facing complex or difficult pitches.
And that’s what makes them use them… Right? Sort of. More on that next week.
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– Tom @WSL