You wouldn’t send a shortstop – certainly not a Gold Glove shortstop – out to the field with a worn out, inferior mitt and then expect all-star quality play. So don’t your salespeople deserve the same treatment when it comes to their tools of the trade?
There will always be a place for brochures, catalogs, flyers and other traditional sales and marketing materials. (Have you ever looked through the trunk of a sales rep’s car? A small child could get lost in there!) But technology offers new, dynamic options for delivering your company’s message to clients and prospects. They can be very effective in telling your story and can even be less expensive than conventional sales collateral.
Have a look at these alternatives, and then talk with your sales team about what would work best.
Here’s to going modern!
Online Project or Cost Estimators
Delivery services like the U.S. Postal Service, UPS, and FedEx have used online estimators for years. A prospect enters appropriate information on a special page on the deliverer’s website: package weight, destination, insurance preferences, etc., then is presented an estimate – or in some cases a firm price – for shipping.
Other industries are catching on, including construction, raw materials, landscaping, catering, painting, commercial printing, and auto repair. Getting a quote or estimate in this manner is fast, non-threatening and, depending on the industry, often surprisingly accurate. You can have site visitors enter their contact information in order to receive an estimate, or allow them to remain anonymous and wait for them to call you.
There are off-the-shelf templates available that you can customize for your products and services, and many companies have used a modified Excel spreadsheet to do the job. Talk to your web designer about the best options.
If a picture’s worth a thousand words, then what’s a full-blown video worth? Shooting, editing and uploading footage to your website is easy, thanks to point-and-shoot cameras and desktop editing software.
Your company’s videos can be used to demonstrate products, introduce staff, entertain, and just connect better with your audience. Trade show and conference activities can be viewed by prospects at their convenience, and TV spots touting your company can live forever online. In addition to your company’s site, you can park video on platforms like YouTube and Facebook.
Tip: At first, make sure you spend at least as much time editing the footage as you do shooting it. You’ll get better with practice, and poorly edited video is distracting and reflects badly on your company.
Case Studies and White Papers
Case studies and white papers are becoming more and more popular with companies in almost every industry. Both are deliberately not “sales-y” but, rather, are designed to present information in practical, useful formats that educate and instruct the reader.
White papers and case studies can be given to prospects in hard-copy format, or made available for download on your website.
White Papers. White papers vary in length from just a few pages all the way up to a hundred or more. The broad “Best Practices” approach is very popular (Best Practices in Inventory Management, Best Practices for Independent Car Dealerships, etc.), but don’t be afraid to get specific, (Grow Your Janitorial Services Business with Invoice Factoring).
Remember, the goal is to teach and inform, not close the sale. Showcase your company’s experience in a way that benefits the reader and the sales inquiries will follow naturally.
Case Studies. Depending on how complicated your business is, you can have one or two case studies, or an online library containing dozens.
When writing a case study, remember your audience. What do they hope to learn? Ideally, you want them to read through the case study and think about how your company’s solution to a client problem might help them. (Example: Invoice Factoring Leads to Settlement with IRS and Saves Business).
This is a case where less really is more. Unless your topic is very technical in nature, a good case study can normally be related to the reader in less than two pages.
There are many good options for bringing your sales tools into the 21st century. But, no matter what you choose, remember to make your materials interesting, focus on a clear message, and always keep your audience’s needs in mind.
MP Star Financial can help you get a better handle on your company’s cash flow management. Call for more information. (800) 833-3765, extension 150.