It’s no secret that sales content is one of the most important tools sellers use to engage prospects. A 2020 Demand Gen report found that 67% of buyers now rely more on content to inform buying decisions than they did in the previous year. 

Buyers also want the content they receive to be personalized and informative. Content that is irrelevant to a buyer will simply be ignored. So, in order to get the content experience right, organizations need to create content that helps them to build relationships with buyers and, ultimately, generate more revenue.

What is sales collateral?

Any content you use to engage buyers throughout a deal cycle is sales collateral. B2B sales collateral gives  buyers more information about your company, its products and services, and how they help customers solve business challenges.

What’s the difference between sales collateral and sales enablement collateral?

Before we dive into examples of common collateral, it’s important to understand the difference between sales collateral and sales enablement collateral.

Sales collateral is the all-encompassing term for your organization’s sales and marketing materials for reps to share throughout the buying process. Sales enablement collateral includes  content that supports the selling process, but is often only seen by your sellers. Common sales enablement materials include sales playbooks, messaging decks, competitor analysis materials, and training lessons. 

Sales collateral and enablement collateral are equally important because they both help sellers do their jobs quickly and effectively. In this post, we’ll dive into sales enablement examples and how they impact your company’s bottom line. 

Effective sales collateral examples

Regardless of the type of collateral you send buyers, it should clearly convey useful information that addresses their questions and needs. Some of the most common collateral materials include:

  • Blog posts: Blog posts are one of the best formats for building awareness with new buyers. They demonstrate thought leadership, helpful knowledge, and expertise on a variety of topics. Blog posts have high shareability and are great for sellers to share on social media and in emails.
  • eBooks: Similar to blog posts, eBooks effectively promote and raise awareness of your organization. They also provide helpful education on common challenges.
  • Case Studies: Testimonials are powerful sales materials. They provide tangible and social proof that your company has helped others navigate and solve similar challenges and pain points.
  • Research reports: Research reports, also called white papers, often include third-party research that positions your company as a market leader. Organizations may also conduct their own research on a specific trend or topic and share the findings. These are best for presenting research findings, facts and figures, and other specific data. 
  • Product demos: Personalized demos are a direct way to show buyers the ins and outs of your product while demonstrating how it helps them solve their specific challenges.
  • Knowledge bases: A knowledge base or FAQ site provides a solid collection of articles and reports created by your organization. These bolster a buyer’s confidence in your capabilities and availability to answer their questions once they become a customer. 
  • Newsletters: Newsletters can help keep your brand top-of-mind, share important company news, and foster deeper relationships. 

Why is sales collateral so important?

Sales collateral is an important tool in the sales cycle. In fact, 95% of purchasing decisions are directly influenced by content. Sales collateral helps sellers: 

Build credibility Drive engagement Close more deals
Sales content that provides relevant and personalized information adds an extra layer of credibility for your sellers and organization. A great piece of sales collateral paired with a friendly seller is a powerful combination that leaves a lasting impact with buyers. As a result, they’re more likely to engage with a seller and continue the conversation. 82% of buyers review an average of 5 pieces of content before making a purchase. Without the right content delivered at the right time, deals will stall and potentially end as closed-lost.

Mapping sales materials to the buying process

Today’s buying process is more complex than ever. The best sales collateral aligns with the buyer’s journey and supports buyers as they move from stage to stage. Let’s take a closer look at these stages and what types of sales collateral is most effective for each. 

The first stage is awareness. Buyers have identified a challenge they want to solve and are actively researching information to better understand the problem and possible solution. Awareness-level content brings buyers to your site, introduces your company and products, and provides helpful information. This type of collateral often includes eBooks, blog posts, and webinars.

Once a buyer discovers your business, you need to deliver relevant collateral that keeps you at the top of their consideration. This is when sellers start conversations, build relationships, and learn more about the buyer. Because they’re likely considering multiple vendors or options, sales collateral needs to show how your product can fit into their business and help them reach their goals. This is when case studies and personalized demos are useful.

Over time, buyers will narrow down their options and make a final decision. So, it’s important to provide materials that facilitate conversations, foster authentic relationships, and reinforce the benefits of partnering with your organization. Pricing guides, case studies, and competitor comparisons are essential during this stage of the deal cycle. 

The buyer’s journey doesn’t stop once a prospect becomes a customer. Now, it’s time to drive satisfaction to encourage retention and growth. By providing FAQ’s, newsletters, and customer-only events, your organization will build stronger  relationships and encourage customers to become advocates.

Sales collateral best practices

Now that we’ve covered the meaning of sales collateral and the value it brings to organizations, let’s look at some best practices to help your sellers leverage collateral. 

  1. Assess your sales materials: First, take inventory of your current sales collateral library. Gather all your content, then take a step back to review each piece. Consider if it supports your organization’s goals and objectives. This will help you identify what type of collateral is missing.
  2. Look for creative ways to recycle content: Your business, its products, and messaging often evolve. But, just because one part of your collateral becomes outdated, it doesn’t mean the entire piece is useless. Search for ways to keep the parts of content that works while discarding anything that is no longer relevant or up-to-date
  3. Talk to your sellers: The people who have the best ideas and feedback about your content are the ones who use it each day. Ask your sellers what content they find most useful or used most often.. At the same time, find out what they rarely use or would like to see created to better address their needs.
  4. Keep the buyer in mind: Personalized sales content is far more engaging than generic marketing materials. Give your sellers the ability to quickly and easily customize content for each buyer.
  5. Leverage sales enablement tools: Let technology be your partner! Sales enablement tools, such as content management software, keep your sales collateral organized and easily accessible. It also tracks engagement metrics so teams can see what sales collateral works best and what is no longer effective. 

Say goodbye to sales content chaos

Sales collateral is a valuable tool for every go-to-market team. But in order for sales content to be as effective, it has to be easily accessible, engaging, and personalized. Sales and marketing teams use Seismic’s sales content management tool to power content accessibility and personalization at scale. With Seismic, sellers can find useful collateral, customize it for each prospect, and share it in a matter of seconds. The result is faster deal cycles and more engaged buyers. Want to learn more? See Seismic’s content management platform in action.