Attention, B2B sales people! We think this is a great article from Docurated .com. Sales experts share the sales collateral that has worked best for them through years of closing deals with enterprise-level companies. Which could it be? Company brochure? A PowerPoint presentation? Testimonials? Read on and find out!
Successful sales techniques can really vary from industry to industry, but when it comes to working with enterprise-level buyers there are several common sales process tips that will greatly increase your chances of closing the deal. And arguably, the most critical tangible aspect of the sales process is the sales collateral.
Since we help many businesses accelerate their sales through maximizing different forms of content, we wanted to know what piece of sales collateral is most important? What document, if any, will make the biggest difference to enterprise customers? To find that out, we asked 27 sales experts this question:
“What is the single, best type or piece of sales collateral that’s the most effective for closing deals with enterprise buyers?”
See what our experts said below:
Meet Our Panel of Sales Experts:
Graham Onak is the Owner of GainTap, a company that specializes in Internet marketing consulting and web services to help grow businesses online.
Without a doubt the most effective piece of collateral for closing enterprise level sales is…
The case study.
Its effectiveness is even greater if the enterprise operates in a niche industry. Decision makers want to know a company has delivered the service successfully before, they don’t want to be a guinea pig. A well written case study is a window into how the company operates, how they prioritize their clients and the value the company can deliver. Case studies also function as great marketing content, too.
Brooke Parsons is an Enterprise Sales Manager for Plotly, a start-up based out of Montreal. She previously worked for 5 years at Lexmark International as an Account Manager & Client Executive. Prior to this, she served as a Captain in the United States Air Force for 4 years as an acquisition officer.
Throughout my sales career, there have been many different types of sales collateral that I have used to try to close deals with enterprise buyers. All of them were professionally made by a marketing or design team. While all of them looked professional and had the potential to grab a prospect’s attention, only one type was consistently the most effective for closing deals. This type was…
A PowerPoint deck that showed relevant case studies to my prospect’s company and industry. My sales experience has shown that the most important question to answer in a client engagement from the client’s perspective is “What’s in it for me?” This is exactly what a case study shows them. It will show the return of investment of your product and/or services and the soft dollar savings such as improved efficiency and employee satisfaction. It is a case study that enables you to close the deal, taking the decision-maker from a maybe to a definite yes.
Greg Archbald is the Founder & CEO of an oil and gas tech company known as GreaseBook.
We work with dozens of oil & gas companies of all sizes, ranging from some of the country’s largest independent operators ($XXBB) down to some small ma & pops (<$1MM). That being said, we’ve found that the best collateral one could offer is…
A money-back guarantee — better yet, a 110% 60 day money back guarantee.
And, you’re right: upon first glance, it seems like an offer from a late night infomercial. However, after considering its significance, you’ll be amazed about how much friction it reduces between seller and buyer of any size!
Basically, it takes the risk of losing something off the table for your client. And, in doing so, it enables everyone to be cool and focus on the work at hand.
Also, you shouldering all the risk makes a BIG statement. It says your committed to making the deal work, and reassures your perspective client that you’re going to see it through to the end.
Now, with all the deals you’ll be closing, all that’s required is, that’s right! FOR YOU TO SEE IT THROUGH.
Orun Bhuiyan is the Co-founder and Chief Marketing Technologist at SEOcial, a digital-forward marketing agency specializing in bringing businesses into the future, and loves to accumulate skills as a tactic to better understand the world. Being a savvy programmer, designer and marketer with an academic background in the sciences gives him a strong base skill set to work from in his campaigns. He’s highly data driven and obsesses over testing marketing campaigns to discover what truly works.
The single, best type or piece of sales collateral that’s the most effective for closing deals with enterprise buyers is…
Custom made greeting cards, which go a long way with enterprise accounts we have a fledgling relationship with but need to close.
For example, we recently sent a tech-inclined company a Star Trek referenced greeting card and cupcakes, couriered to their office on a Friday. We didn’t ask for anything in return on the card—not directly.
But this heated up a cooling relationship and catalyzed a phone call from THEM to US.
After exchanging pleasantries, we talked business and were later able to better establish a contract for the year.
This may not be as effective with cold leads (although it could still work fairly well), but it really helps in pushing leads that are already in the pipeline to a close.
Walter Wise is a Sales and Marketing Strategist and Executive Coach at BPI Strategy Group, and the Author of the highly acclaimed book “Getting Back to Basics, Effective Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Business in Today’s Brutal Economy”.
What are the most effective pieces of sales collateral?:
This question presupposes that the marketer got the first step correct to begin with. That first step is the strategic part of marketing – the message. The collateral is the tactical and this is where 99% of small business owners and many marketers begin. They do not think about how important their message really is.
Most marketing messages talk about the product or service or the business itself. They mimic their competition and use the same old tired platitudes such as we partner with our clients or or we listen to our customers or we have been in business since 1431 B.C. They never talk about the value they provide, the prospects problem and how this solution solves that problem and the results that will be seem from using the sellers product or service.
Think back on the last week. How many marketing messages do you remember seeing, hearing or reading? How many did you act upon? My guess is not very many, but you were hit by over 6,000, probably more, in the last seven days. The reason you don’t recall nay is that they were not constructed properly.
The most effective messages use the Marketing Equation of Interrupt, Engage, Educate and Offer. The Interrupt is your main headline. It should be designed to interrupt the buyers attention span and get him or her to look at your message. Next, the Engage subheadline should be in place to keep their attention and to get the reader to go to the next section, the Educate. In this section, the writer provides some valuable information or insight into solving the prospect’s problems. And finally, it all leads to the Offer, a low risk free report, checklist, whitepaper, etc. that adds to the value in the Educate piece but also gets the reader to give their contact info inexchange for the offer.
One of the best marketing messages I have seen recently is the Subaru crash commercial. It has something like 12 words.
Kenzi Lindamood is the Marketing Manager of Stirista LLC, a database marketing agency that specializes in B2B and B2C data, email marketing, and social media data. A new kid on the block with a knack for content development, Kenzi manages Stirista’s marketing efforts and fancies herself a marketing wizard. She specializes in digital media development and analytics, managing vendor relationships, and writing copy for Stirista’s marketing materials.
The most useful piece of marketing collateral we’ve used that secures enterprise clients in the data and email marketing industry the best is…
A case study.
If you’ve written them correctly, case studies include the hard numbers and results that enterprise companies need to see to ensure that you’re a reputable company that produces results.
Adam Kruse is a St. Louis Real Estate Broker and Tech Savvy Realtor with Hermann London Real Estate Group, a group of real estate specialists with more than 40 years of combined experience in the St. Louis area.
Our single best piece of sales collateral has been…
An informational document, listing presentation that we send to the client prior to meeting them.
So when we do finally go to their house go meet them, they already know about our company, our marketing, the process of selling, and what documentation we will need from them, etc. Its really changed our conversations
Paul Chittenden is the Business Development Manager at Pulse Structural Monitoring, the Founder at Bad Ass Work Bags and Co-Founder at JobKaster, the latest web and mobile application for real-time location-based jobs.
In complex, or enterprise sales, no one single tactic or piece of sales collateral works for every situation. Every sale is different and it’s up you to find out what will stick. But if I had to pick one piece of sales material that I thought stood out above all others, it would be…
The Case Study.
A case study is client focused. It shows the client that another client has trusted you to do the work, they have had success, and they were happy enough with the work to give permission for the selling company to use them as a reference.
It allows the customer to see how you’ve helped someone else which helps them envision how you’re solution / product can help them.
Case studies will not work for every sale, but it covers 80% of them.
Jennifer Martin is a Business Coach and sales expert who helps Small Business Owners, Leaders, and Managers Worldwide understand how to build a thriving business without loosing their lives in the process. Learn more about Jennifer and her work at Zest Business Consulting.
As a former top producer, a 5 time entrepreneur and sales trainer, I can tell you, hands down the most valuable tool a salesperson can have in their toolkit is…
A Page or two of Testimonials from stark raving fans.
As a salesperson I can share with you how amazing my product or service is, and I can outline all the amazing things that using or having my product is going to do for you, but nothing I say will be nearly as convincing as what my clients tell you about working with me and my organization.
Pictures tell, Stories sell, and Testimonials close the deal, time and time again.
Vladimir Gendelman is the Founder and CEO of Company Folders, an innovative presentation folder printing company.
The singularly most important piece of sales collateral is…
The custom printed presentation folder, because they allow you to contain an entire marketing presentation in one easy package.
Leaving a branded folder behind after a sales meeting gives potential clients a lasting reminder of your business, one that’s significantly more likely to get results than just a single brochure or a pile of loose handouts.
Eli Martin is the Director of Sales at eZanga.com, a digital marketing company that helps companies grow their business through multiple advertising solutions, including pay per click and cost per call. Since its launch in 2003, eZanga has grown from a tiny tech startup to an award-winning small business. eZanga has been on the Inc. 500|5000 list for five consecutive years and has been recognized as one of Philadelphia’s fastest growing companies by Philly100, Deloitte and SmartCEO. In 2015, Eli was named a recipient of a SmartCEO Executive Management Award.
What is the single, best type or piece of sales collateral that’s the most effective for closing deals with enterprise buyers?…
I like to take an individualized approach to the traditional sales deck. Typically, when you work with enterprise buyers, they say, “Send me your deck”. They get a ton of those, and they’re all the same.
What I like to do is tailor my sales deck to show the buyer what I can do specifically for their product. I think this catches the eye of the buyer, and shows that I’ve taken the time to implement strategies specific to their business. I find a lot of people send out a standard advertising deck. What I do is I personalize it for each individual client.
Ryan Schefke is the Co-Founder of Lead Liaison, a cloud-based marketing and sales automation solutions company that help businesses worldwide attract, convert and close leads.
As a person with 20+ years of sales experience, I’ve also felt like the best type of sales collateral is…
A documented testimonial.
Avoid providing material that’s got marketing stuff stamped all over it. Provide relevant testimonials or even use cases that are similar to the prospect’s situation. There’s also something to be said about not including any collateral at all to invoke more communication/dialogue.
Michelle Messenger Garrett
Michelle Messenger Garrett is a public relations consultant, speaker and award-winning writer with more than 20 years of agency, corporate, startup and Silicon Valley experience. She works with clients ranging from small businesses to enterprises such as Adobe and HP, assisting them in crafting and carrying out a PR strategy to help them get the word out, get noticed and lead to an increase in visibility, prospects and sales. Visit her site at Michelle Garrett.
The best piece of sales collateral to help close deals is…
A customer success story or case study that lays out:
- The challenge the customer had before the solution your product or service provided
- How it was implemented
- The results, with data included re: time/money saved
This gives the buyer a clear idea of what they can expect when they decide to purchase your product. Of course, the more numbers you can include that indicate time or money saved, the better.
Patrick Biddiscombe is the CEO of New Breed Marketing, a premier inbound marketing and sales agency for B2B software and technology companies and a Platinum Tier HubSpot Partner. Patrick is a University of Vermont graduate and has over a decade of marketing and sales experience.
Based on my experience selling into the enterprise for the past decade there are three critical components, especially for small to medium companies. It’s all about trust. Here are three tactics that I’ve leveraged time and again and have seen great success with:
- Enterprise Specific Landing Page – As a HubSpot partner that sells to enterprise companies, I constantly find myself sending net new leads to their enterprise focused landing page. I find that many companies have yet to build out these targeted landing pages. But from my experience, this is my most used sales enablement tool. Example: http://www.hubspot.com/enterprise
- Other Enterprise Case Studies – Organizations always want to see that you worked with someone very similar to them if not a competitor before. Prove your track record and have case studies available to send out to leads. *Note: if you still have case studies that are PDF’s you’re missing out. Install analytics on your case study pages and use tools like Crazy Egg to see what is relevant to your buyers. Also, don’t miss out on digital body language and URL tracking in your marketing and sales automation systems.
- Team Pages & Bios – They want to make sure you’re large enough to support their efforts and your business is on firm ground. Don’t underestimate this page when building your website – the decision maker and procurement will often take a sniff test of the leadership team before signing a contract.
Jim Walsh is the National Sales Manager for Goodheart-Willcox, the premier textbook publisher for Technical, Trades, and Technology, where his primary responsibility is overseeing and directing the company’s 15 inside/outside sales people to success. He has been with G-W since 1997 as a field sales representative responsible for the northern Midwest, since 2000 as the marketing manager organizing and driving successful state-wide instructional material purchases, and since 2007 as National Sales Manager. He is passionate about the sales/decision-making process, coaching and training to create a winning team. He is also a current member of the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals and Chicago Chapter Member.
When it comes to closing deals you’re essentially at the point in your interaction where the buyer and seller have uncovered everything possible to understand the implementation outcome of the product or service being offered. Interestingly, buyers are naturally defensive. I’m convinced that is due to our parents telling us from a very young age, Don’t talk to strangers. Some of us decided long ago to enter into a profession where our very jobs depend on breaking down this barrier. So, it’s important that sellers first…
Defuse the customer and give them a reason to be comfortable and most importantly to trust their salesperson, because after all ‘sales is the transfer of trust’.
Therefore, the single, best type of sales collateral that’s the most effective for closing deals with enterprise buyers would be a referral. Someone who has successfully implemented what you are trying to sell, who understands what’s keeping the buyer from committing, and can speak to the potential customer from the perspective as a peer as opposed to a stranger.
Barry Maher is one of the most highly rated keynote speakers and sales trainers in the country. He has appeared on the Today Show, NBC Nightly News, CNBC, and he’s frequently featured in publications like the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. His books include “Filling the Glass”, which has been cited as [One of] The Seven Essential Popular Business Books, by Today’s Librarian. His most recent book, “No Lie: Truth Is the Ultimate Sales Tool”, from McGraw-Hill, has been translated around the world. Learn more about Barry and his work at Barry Maher.
Having done sales consulting and training for virtually every industry, I have to say that the single most effective piece of sales collateral for most businesses is likely to be…
A testimonials sheet, ideally with full names and titles and companies for B2B sales or names and locations for B2C.
Blair Nastasi is the CEO & Founder of Media Moguls PR, a PR and Branding firm out of Salt lake City UT. She’s been featured on ABC News, Bplans.com, Grasshopper.com and CEO Blog Nation, and she is also a business seminar speaker, Columnist at Examiner.com and the Marketing Committee chair for SCORE Salt Lake City.
I’m the master of counter-intuitive sales processes. When it comes to sales collateral, my best success in sales with any size business has come through…
Keeping collateral minimal.
At most, I’ll provide a digital or print copy of case studies if potential clients ask for them. Aside from that, I attribute my sales success to providing value to potential clients whether they decide to do business with me or not. I even provide clients with a checklist of items they should be asking potential PR companies (even if that’s not me).
Jason Parks is the Owner of The Media Captain, a digital marketing agency specializing in HD video production, social media consulting and creative branding solutions.
Which pieces of sales collateral are best for closing deals?:
We have an online and offline brochure that we send to perspective customers that serves as our best piece of collateral. We are able to track whether or not someone has received our brochure by mail or clicked on the electronic version.
Having consistent messaging with sharp graphics allows for the potential buyer to learn more about our company. We will also mail a strong prospect a magnifying glass to keep our search engine marketing services top of mind.
Charles Gaudet is the Author of “The Predictable Profits Playbook” and a leading expert in creating predictable, ever-increasing profits for small businesses.
The most important part of sales collateral is…
3rd party evidence supporting the results you promise in your sales pitch.
This could be in the form of case studies, testimonials or 3rd party articles in well-respected media endorsing the results of your product/service.
Don MacLennan is Co-Founder and CEO of Bluenose Analytics. Don is passionate about analytics and insights that lead to great products. He has held leadership roles in several subscription-based businesses, where he came to understand the importance of customer engagement and loyalty.
When it comes to sales collateral…
The modern enterprise buyer isn’t going to read one thing and sign, it’s going to be a continual journey. Your thought leadership blogs or your LinkedIn posts may start the conversation, while case studies and white papers may soften the beach for your in-person demos. All of these assets can be valuable for the modern buyer’s journey.
With that said, clear-cut case studies that demonstrate the ROI of your solution, as well as those that convey the time to value will always move the needle. Remember, buyers can use Google too, so make sure you’re delivering assets that are backed by real information. Fluff will only get you so far.
Greta Schulz is the President and CEO of Schulz Business, a sales consulting company providing b2b sales marketing training for professionals to perfect their closing sales techniques.
The type of sales collateral that’s best?…
We have lost the art of questioning and learning about what a prospect might want or need. Today I find that companies put lots of emphasis on their brochures, kits and even their websites. Though these things are important for legitimacy they are not truly a sales piece. Why? Because we assume that we (the company) knows what a prospect wants based on their own information.
William Bauer is the Managing Director of Royce Leather, a manufacturer of fine leather products and accessories.
What my business leverages as its most effective sales collateral are…
Testimonials and product reviews. It demonstrates authenticity and legitimacy.
To summarize, out of 27, the Case Study scores highest with a 9 with the PowerPoint presentation or sales brochure coming in second at 6 points, testimonials at third place with 4.
I think a strong case for the case study can be made here. In B2B Marketing’s new Content Marketing Benchmarking Report , sixty-six per cent of the 122 B2B marketers surveyed said case studies were ‘very effective’, while 32 per cent said they were ‘quite effective’. In second place is video, with 57 per cent of respondents believing this type of content to be ‘very effective’, followed by whitepapers (48 per cent) and infographics (45 per cent). (See article here.)
In either case, the case study reigns supreme.
For case studies on Callbox B2B lead generation campaigns, go here.